Professional translator career: all you need to know about it

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Understand what is needed and how this profession works

Have you ever considered becoming a professional translator? If you are familiar with and likes linguistics, be aware that this is a great segment that can boost your financial life.

According to Statista, the global translation market is expected to turn over USD 49.6 billion by 2019 and is estimated to reach USD 56.18 billion by 2021. This means that two years from now, US 153.9 million will be spent on the area each day – more than USD 106,887 per minute.

We will show you what you should do to start working in the area, working methodologies, average wages, and many other relevant information.

How to become a professional translator?

Unlike what you may think, it is not mandatory to have attended a specific college to work as a translator, even though some academic areas are more associated with the profession.

Students can attend an undergraduate program in Translation and Interpretation, which directly addresses the area and helps qualify highly specialized professionals. But they can also attend other programs, such as Language and Literature, which is also part of this academic area.

In fact, there are no special requirements to work as a professional translator as there are no specific regulations for the exercise of the profession. This doesn’t make translation less important, serious or reliable: it only means a specific degree is not required.

In addition, you must master at least two languages to work as a translator. Therefore, between someone who only took a Translation and Interpretation program and a professional from another area who has studied English for several years and has attended free courses in the area of translation, for example, the latter one is considered to be more skilled.

As there is no degree requirement, more people can become professional translators, and this increases the scope of the field.

What does a translator do?

The answer may seem obvious, but believe me, it is not. After all, this profession goes way beyond translating.

There are different translation segments:

  • Free translation: translating non-specific content from one language to another.
  • Technical translation: a modality that covers technical contents, such as medicine, law, chemistry, physics, among others, that is, translators must master both the language pair and the area of expertise addressed in the translation to be able to translate specific expressions and technical terms.
  • Sworn translation: this modality is intended for the translation of official documents, such as certificates, contracts, court records, among others, so that they have the same legal validity in another country.

In addition, interpreters are also professionals of the translation field, who verbally translate what is spoken by a person, such as what happens in political events, business meetings, pronouncements, etc.

Although both belong to the field of linguistics, the duties of a translator and an interpreter are different, meaning that not every professional can work in both areas delivering the same level of excellence, although this is possible in some cases.

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How much money does a translator get?

It depends on the career he/she wants to pursue and the modalities he/she wants to cover, which directly interferes with compensation.

According to Glassdoor, a website that specializes in jobs and recruitment, the average salary for a translator in Brazil, based on 66 published salaries, is BRL 2,743.00.

Still, this number can change. Published salaries range from BRL 2,165.00 to over BRL 5,500.00.

However, professional translators usually work as freelance translators, i.e. they don’t have an employment relationship with any company.

This allows them to provide services to multiple customers as demand arises, giving them flexibility and the chance to increase their income.

In this case, it is not possible to estimate wages, since the income will depend on translator’s productivity and the amount he/she will charge for the services. However, a translator’s wage can certainly exceed that of many other professions in the market.

It is important to mention that the compensation of a professional translator also varies according to the specificity of their services and the languages they target.

Generally, a free translation from English to Portuguese costs less than a technical translation from Polish to Portuguese, for example.

Therefore, wages vary considerably, but are a positive aspect of the profession.

Be a professional translator and increase your income

Translation is certainly not an easy task as translators must master translation tools, have a deep understanding of at least two languages and, where possible, master a specific technical field. Nevertheless, the benefits make the investment worthwhile.

In fact, the market is actually short on these professionals, which means those who want to work in the segment have great opportunities. This is reflected by an estimate by the Translators Association of China – TAC.

According to this association, there were 640,000 translation professionals worldwide in 2014.

If we consider population growth since then as a way of estimating the number of translators today, the increase was 6.94%, which would represent 684,400 active professionals worldwide.

In an increasingly globalized world, where content is spread across the globe and at all times, including technical, informative or entertaining content, professional translators will have an excellent market at their disposal.

Since you do not need to have a specific degree in translation, technical professionals can work as part-time or even full-time translators to increase their income and perhaps even tap into a new market niche.

Whether you are working as a contractor for a translation agency or as a freelancer, being a professional translator can be key to help you earn more money and work in a fast-developing field. Take up the opportunity and confirm the benefits in practice.

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