Careers in Translation and Interpreting

5 min read

Education & Career Trends: March 1

Curated by the Knowledge Team of  ICS Career GPS

Translation and interpreting will always be in demand, and there are many ways you can expand your career over time.

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Do you hold a creative writing degree, speak a second language fluently, and want to venture into the translation industry? Even if you don’t have college studies under your belt, there are still many options if you have great English skills.

You can use your linguistic skills to your advantage in this field. Translation and interpreting will always be in demand, and there are many ways you can expand your career over time.

With the technology fields growing larger more than ever, there is a job for anyone with these skills. With translation and interpreting, you’ll venture into an advantageous, flexible space that can take you further than the traditional way of working. Your bilingual skills have the potential to earn you stability and job satisfaction.

1. Literary Translator

  • Have you always enjoyed reading books, and have excellent writing skills?
  • As a literary translator, you could be doing something that you’re passionate about, translating nonfiction, fiction, poetry, scripts, and a range of other creative mediums into other languages.
  • And if you know another language, you could greatly assist many authors.
  • Suppose you have exceptional communication skills, research skills, and cultural knowledge and don’t struggle much with organising your work-life balance.
  • In that case, you could be working in publishing, magazines, websites, and so much more.

2. Health and Medical Interpreter

  • Do you enjoy helping others regain their health?
  • The field of medicine will always need assistance in the technical space, and as a medical interpreter, you’re making a difference.
  • You could be in charge of helping non-English speakers communicate their needs with doctors and nurses or vice versa, making sure that important information is being understood.
  • Your job in medical interpreting could cover preparing protocol reports such as writing plans for clinical trials, translating health records, writing marketing material, translating family or patient history or medical procedures, and more.
  • You can be the middle person between the patient and the medical team, and this is a very important role in terms of creating a trustful relationship.
  • You could also be working for a non-profit research organisation.

3. Court Interpreter

  • Do you have knowledge of the legal industry, or frequently watch live trials online?
  • If you’ve always had an interest in court cases, this role would be perfect for you.
  • Not only do you need excellent listening skills to translate in real-time during a courtroom setting, but you could be translating legal documents before or after a hearing.
  • The best part about this job is that you can do it from anywhere.
  • You’ll be making complex legal terms easier to understand for the public, following policies and procedures, and overall making it easier for non-English speaking individuals to collaborate.

4. Community Interpreter

  • Are you bilingual and want to make an impact in your community?
  • Using smartphones as translators isn’t always reliable, and as a community interpreter, you’re a bridge between languages.
  • By connecting culturally diverse people to the services they need, you could be helping minority groups acquire technological services such as bank account support over the phone.
  • Knowing a second language is beneficial to many companies and institutions.
  • You could be working for law firms, hospitals, educational institutions, small to large businesses, courts, local or state governments, and more.
  • You’ll enrich, change, and improve the quality of life for many, making technology accessible to everyone.
  • This field is also constantly growing, so you’ll always have job security. 

5. Software Localiser

  • Passionate about mobile apps, and think you have the skills to translate them?
  • Software localisation is the process of changing a program, mobile, or web application for a new culture, language, and market.
  • You could be taking part in video translation, graphic design, or UX design, such as changing text to fit a page.
  • You would start by identifying what kind of resources you need to translate the content, reviewing the translations for errors, organising them into a code structure, editing dialogue boxes and buildings, and compiling and testing the software.
  • This can mean global growth for a number of amazing apps, so you would be part of something bigger than just translation.

6. Computational Linguist

  • Are you passionate about computer science, and want to help computer programmes understand human languages?
  • Combining computer science and artificial intelligence with linguistics, you could be participating in speech recognition, text-to-speech systems, instant machine translation, and more.
  • This makes it a lot easier for us humans to interact with many types of technology.
  • Think of chatbots and how they interpret the text we type and send, how content is filtered, or the way a machine translates written English.
  • This process can be achieved by creating frameworks for characterising different languages, such as data for language modelling.
  • Lastly, knowing C++ and Java is also an advantage.

7. Freelance Translator

  • Although many translation roles allow you to work from home, becoming a freelance translator means you have the power to be your own boss.
  • Start your own translation business, work as an independent contractor, source your own clients, and write and convert written or verbal dialogue for a business.
  • If you consider your linguistic skills to be good enough, you can build a solid portfolio and keep adding new customers.
  • Whether it is financial translation, administrative translation, or translating for television, your options are more flexible in the freelance space.
  • Choose a niche or go broad. It’s up to you.

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(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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