How to Become a Language Translator?

8 minute read

“Translation is as much an art as a Science.” Call it the aftermath of globalisation or the interest of individuals in learning foreign languages at early school life that lead to making a career in Language Translation a popular matter among the masses. If we talk about the working of economies or the government of non-anglophone countries, it is essential to have translators to conduct the needed communication. Thus, language translators play a vital role in business, political and social affairs at national as well as international levels. In this blog, we are going to bisect the ways to become a translator!

International Translation Day

Language Translator
Courtesy: Future Trans

International Translation Day is intended to honour the efforts of language experts in bringing nations together, enabling discussion, understanding, and collaboration, contributing to development, and improving global peace and security. The General Assembly enacted Resolution 71/288 on the role of language experts in linking nations and supporting peace, understanding, and development on May 24, 2017, and declared September 30 as International Translation Day. Since 2005, the United Nations has invited all of its staff, accredited permanent mission staff, and students from select partner universities to compete in the UN St. Jerome Translation Contest, which rewards the best translations in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, and German, and aims to celebrate multilingualism and highlight the critical role of translation. This day was chosen since it also commemorates the feast of St. Jerome, the Bible translator and patron saint of translators. 

Courtesy: BBC Learn English

Did you know: St. Jerome was a priest from northern Italy who is best remembered for his efforts in translating the majority of the Bible into Latin from Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. In addition, he translated portions of the Hebrew Gospel into Greek. He was of Illyrian ancestry and spoke the Illyrian dialect as his first language. He studied Latin at school and was fluent in Greek and Hebrew, which he picked up from his studies and travels.

Language Translator
Courtesy: Catholic Online

Why Learn Another Language? 

If you are someone who loves exploring cultures and enjoys learning about the lifestyles of people belonging to other countries, then learning a new language won’t be a tough task for you! Knowing a foreign language will definitely add to your resume. Ranging from bringing confidence to your personality to opening doors to working as a language translator, knowing a foreign language will never let you down. 

Career in Foreign Language!

Who is a Language Translator?

Interpreters and translators translate information from one language to another. Translators work at institutions such as schools, hospitals, hearing rooms, meeting rooms and conference centres. Some work for translation and interpreting companies, individual organisations or private customers. Briefly, a language translator has to carry out the following tasks:

  • Speak, read and write fluently in a minimum of two languages
  • Translates written communications and content, such as books, articles and magazines, from one language to another.
  • Carrying out the research to understand the context, cultural references and use jargon, slang or specific expressions that do not translate.
  • Maintain the style and tone of the language of origin
  • Create glossaries or language banks that they may use in future projects and etc. 

Skills Required To Become a Language Translator 

Becoming a language translator is a challenging task, and need candidates to develop the correct skills and approach to make a career in this field. Given below is the list of required abilities one must have in order to have a bright future ahead:

  • The student must possess good listening skills in order to become a translator as they play a key role in communicating messages at important discussions, meetings, etc.
  • Candidates must have good writing skills in both native and target languages.
  • Students must possess observation skills, as it helps to pay attention to what people say, and then according to it translate to the target language.
  • Candidates must have good computer skills and knowledge to operate specialised translation software.

Eligibility to Become a Translator

As such, there are no harsh eligibility requirements that are needed in order to become a language translator. One can even pursue becoming a language translator straight after completing the 12th standard. Furthermore, those who want to pursue a career as a language translator may also go for a degree or degree course in the desired language after 12.  

Candidates may have to meet certain requirements or may have to pass an entrance test to take admission to certain prestigious institutions of the desired language. There are 3 types of courses that people can pursue to become a language translator. These are:

  • Certificate course
  • Degree course
  • Diploma course

How to Learn a New Language?

How to Become a Language Translator?

Is knowing a foreign language enough to become a translator? What does it take to become a language translator? Leverage Edu presents you, with a stepwise guide to brief you on the process for the same: 

Step 1: Study source language extensively

The first step to becoming a language translator is to study the source language extensively and know the language inside and out from formal dialogue to casual conversation. One must know the abstruse terms about a variety of topics. Learners can also pick up the mother tongue language first and work on learning that language. 

Step 2: Get a degree

Candidates who want to build a career in this field must apply to the translation courses or language courses in the college, and get a Bachelor’s degree in any language in which the student wants expertise. For Example: If a student wants to do translating job at a bank, then they must apply for a Finance degree course along with a certificate or degree course in a foreign language. Finance will help the student to know the terminologies of Banking & Finance so that they can do justice to their translating job at banks!

Step 3: Work on writing skills

There are various misconceptions about language translators, one being that speaking skills are the prime factors to make a career in this field. But in reality, to be a successful translator, learners must have good writing skills.

Step 4: Get specialised training 

The translation is an art more than a skill, as the quality of a good translator is to make minute modifications to the text to make it impressive while taking into consideration of audience, context and environment. Candidates must take specialised training classes in translation & interpretation and get certified. A certified Language Translator has the highest possible chances of securing Language translator jobs

Step 5: Sharpen their computer skills

Learners must have proficient computer skills, as there are certain terminologies where translating requires using specific computer programs. Using computer programs like Memsource, and Wordfast will make the translation process much quicker and more efficient. 

Step 6: Get some experience 

Students may gain experience as a translator while working as a Freelancer, Contractor Internship, etc,  which will add some experience to their resume. Starting the professional journey will add to your resume, giving you great exposure and opportunities later!

Language Translator Job Prospects

Once you have acquired the necessary skills and training, you can pursue to be a language translator and can be adapted to different roles and positions that correspond to your skills. Translators are needed in diverse occupations. The various roles that translators may perform are listed below:

  • Literary translators: They are responsible for converting books, poetry, news and magazine articles from one language to the desired language. Whenever possible, literary translators work together with the intent of the original publication, as do authors to capture literary and cultural characteristics.
  • Conference Interpreters/ Translators: They work in lectures that have a non-English audience.  They usually work in international trade conferences or other business conferences or in diplomat meetings, to translate languages like Spanish, French, Japanese, German, Chinese etc. into English. 
  • Health or medical translators and interpreters: They usually work in a healthcare setting and help patients communicate with physicians, nurses, technicians and other medical staff. Translators should be familiar with the medical terminology of the two languages.
  • Legal or court translators and interpreters: They usually work in courts and other legal communities. At hearings, recordings of statements, depositions and trials, they help people who have a limited command of English. They need to understand legal terminology properly.

Should you Learn the Local Language Before Studying in Certain Countries?

Employment Opportunities for Translators

Language translators have a strong focus on securing employment opportunities in the government and the private sector. Many engage in freelance activities as well. After acquiring the necessary skills and qualifications, it is possible to obtain a job in the following organizations. The list of employment opportunities for the various fields below, which may be selected by applicants, include:

  • Newspapers and Magazines
  • Technical, Scientific Literary or Business
  • Educational Institutions 
  • Hospitals and clinics 
  • Travel and Tourism sector
  • Hospitality Industry
  • Exhibitions and Fairs
  • Airline Offices
  • Export Agencies
  • Trade Organisations
  • Publishing Houses
  • Courtrooms
  • International Organisations
  • Embassies
  • Teaching

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Salary of Translators

  • A language translator may expect to get anything between Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 20,000, as far as the starting salary is concerned. 
  • After receiving some work experience, one can further earn up to Rs. 25,000 to Rs 35,000 per month and more. 
  • If anyone gets into their own business or venture, they can approach and earn at most Rs. 50,000 per assignment or per contract. 
  • Overall, it depends upon the assignment or the contract and for which it has been taken up.
Professors Rs. 20,000 – Rs. 50,000 per month
LecturersRs. 10,000 – Rs. 20,000 per month
TranslatorsRs. 50 – Rs. 200 per page
InterpretersRs. 500 – Rs. 1,000 per hour
Embassy agentsRs. 10,000 – Rs. 20,000 per month


What qualifications do you need to be a translator?

In order to become a translator an individual needs a bachelor or postgraduate degree in translation. Courses related to linguistics or translation can give an advantage to an individual while searching for jobs but these are not essential.

How do I start my career as a translator?

To work as a translator, you should have a bachelor’s degree in the language you want to work with. You should be well-versed in the grammar, specialised vocabulary, and cultural nuances of that language.

Are translators still in demand?

There are proverbs from every culture that can only be understood in their proper context. Given those considerations, it is simple to understand why there is still a significant need for human translators. Between now and 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, employment of interpreters and translators is predicted to increase by 20%.

This was everything about how to become a language translator! To read more informative articles like this one, keep following Leverage Edu.

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1 comment
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  1. Hmm it seems like your website ate my first comment (it
    was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I
    submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing.
    Do you have any tips and hints for novice blog writers?
    I’d certainly appreciate it.