Careers in Translation: Everything You Should Know

By the year 2021, the global translation services industry will grow to $56.18 billion, according to Common Sense Advisory. Meanwhile, the demand for translation professionals in the United States is expected to grow by 19 percent between 2018 and 2020.

By the year 2021, the global translation services industry will grow to $56.18 billion, according to Common Sense Advisory. Meanwhile, the demand for translation professionals in the United States is expected to grow by 19 percent between 2018 and 2020.

This trend is being driven by increasing globalization, as well as a growing emphasis by businesses to improve outreach in foreign markets. Technology and software are breaking down many of the barriers that separate individuals and businesses in different countries around the world, and companies need translators and interpreters to communicate directly with their target audiences.

Because of this, translation careers offer stable employment opportunities and the ability to work in a wide range of business settings. Here’s a look at your options when it comes to choosing a career in translation, as well as what steps you can take to start this professional journey.

Translation Careers: The Basics

You probably already understand that translators help convert speech or text from one language to another. But there are some important differences in how these careers approach their work. Before you settle on a specific translation career, you should understand the different paths you may take.

Many people, for example, assume that translation and interpretation are the same thing, even though these are different services that require different skill sets. While translation professionals specialize in specific languages and language pairings, they often choose to specialize in certain types of translation or interpretation, and they may also choose to specialize in certain industries to master the unique language of that field.

Professional translators and interpreters may work remotely from an office, or they may be hired to provide services at a live event. They may also work full-time for a business or agency, or they may provide freelance services and work with a wide range of agencies, businesses and vendors.

Essential Skills for Translation Careers

Professional translation requires intensive training and education before a translator or interpreter can provide their services to a business. Required skills include:

  • Bilingual language proficiency
  • Expertise regarding the cultural and social aspects of the target language
  • Research skills
  • Attention to detail
  • A familiarity with translation technology

Due to the specialization a business or industry may require, translation professionals may also need to develop expertise in a specific field of knowledge before they’re able to deliver quality, reliable translation services.

Who Hires Translation Professionals?

Any business that works across international borders and/or language barriers may have a need for translation professionals, either on a temporary or permanent basis. Common organizations and fields hiring translation professionals include the following:

  • Government agencies (including federal and local governments, embassies, consulates, etc.)
  • Non-governmental organizations (United Nations, The Red Cross, World Health Organization, etc.)
  • International trade organizations
  • Multinational banks and financial institutions
  • Healthcare companies
  • Legal organizations
  • Travel and tourism companies
  • Tech companies working with employees, clients and/or partners overseas
  • Any business looking to engage with customers or prospects in a foreign market

As companies look to expand their customer base and operations into new foreign markets, translation becomes an essential part of doing business. This is where you can expect much of the growth in translation services demand to come from over the coming years.

How to Pursue a Career in Translation

If you want to build a career as a professional translator or interpreter, you will need to undergo training to receive the necessary qualifications. While U.S. translators don’t need to be certified by an organizing body, certification from an organization like the American Translators Association can help strengthen your resume.

You can also pursue a degree in translation from an accredited university, or develop a fluency on your own while gaining professional experience in a specific field where you would like to offer your specialized translation skills in the future.

When it comes to seeking out translation and interpretation talent, Protranslating maintains a vast global network of translation specialists offering service in more than 200 different language pairings. Our organization is also ISO 9001 and ISO 17001 certified for exceptional quality assurance, and our technology infrastructure supports translation professionals and helps them deliver the best results possible, for all of our clients.

Interested in working with us as a professional translator, or looking for a trusted translation service for your next project? Contact us today to find out what we offer.

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