Jump to a Section:
How Much Money Does A Translator Make? Why Become Work As A Translator? Pros and Cons of Being A Translator? Translator Quotes

Translators, like interpreters, help us understand languages and information that we do not really know. They help us connect with other people; their work is important in allowing understanding to flow between cultures.

If it wouldn’t be for them, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate other people’s culture, language and heritage. But the question is, how to become a translator?

There are many ways in becoming a translator. You can be a freelance translator or a professional translator. Being a professional translator needs a lot of effort and time being spent mastering the two languages (or multiple pairs of languages) you translate. Regardless, you need to have a high fluency in the languages to be translated to become a translator.

Back to Top

What does a translator do?

The work of a translator is not only translating word per word – legal papers, contracts, letters, screenplays, poems, scriptures, books – but also ensuring that resulting words and phrases actually retain the original meaning. Translators often work hand in hand with technology to make their work easier for them. Some use software to maximize their time in translating, making them more efficient, but at the end of the day, it is your intervention that makes the final output understandable.

As mentioned above, being a translator, you can work as a freelancer or as a professional, which ever suits your – many people who are skilled in language have a thriving side career as a translator, but many import/export businesses also hire full time translators due to the volume of work required. Keep in mind a full-time job may require you not just to translate documents to sit in on multi-lingual meetings or participate in phone calls for translation support.

Translator vs. Interpreter

It can be tricky to understand the difference between the two professions, especially from a careers standpoint. Let us put it simply; when one person wants to know and understand what the other person is saying at the present moment, you need someone to interpret their verbal communication for you; if you want something to know and understand something you have read, you need someone to translate it for you.

Translators simply take one document (letter, speech, instruction manual), and recreate its meaning into a different language. Interpreters help two different people of different cultures create a connection. As mentioned earlier, a translator may have to attend meetings and phone calls, but an interpreter takes this translation responsibility to a deeper level.

(Think being an interpreter is more for you? Then don’t miss our how to become an interpreter guide.)

Back to Top

How much money does a translator earn?

Since the translation profession is in demand due to an increasingly interconnected world, and not a lot of people have the necessary skills, compensation or salary is still considered to be high. Translators who work on a project or freelance basis are typically either paid by the hour or per word translated, while of course a full time salary staff position is possible in organizations with a need for high volumes of translation. The more knowledgeable and skillful you are the higher the compensation. Everything relies on your knowledge and expertise..

Back to Top

Why become a translator

Why do you want to become a translator? Ask yourself if it is your passion and if you are going to do this for a long time, especially if it involves mastering a language you don’t know – which can take a lifetime! Becoming a translator helps you add meaning to your life. Being able to translate a text so that other people can understand and get the information they need is a great feeling.

Aside from thinking about the compensation, think about the many people you are able to connect and create relationship, just because you are able to translate for them.

Back to Top

Pros and Cons of being a translator

The advantages of becoming a translator are that you are able to help others. If you are fluent and very sensitive with the language or topic that you have mastered, going through would be easier. You may also get involved in some interesting lines of work – translating books and other texts will give you a deep understanding of them!

The disadvantage though is that since you are dealing with texts, long hours spent are needed. In translating text or business document, 2 or 3 drafts or more may be required, and gaining approvals of those using the new language copy may prove difficult, requiring you to have a high fluency in the language, as remember – the document’s meaning shouldn’t change, it isn’t just about vocabulary and grammar.

Back to Top

Translator quotes

“Real education must ultimately be limited to men who insist on knowing; the rest is mere sheep-herding” – Ezra Pound

“Wisdom sails with wind and time” – John Florio

“We do not remember days, we remember moments. The richness of life lies in memories we have forgotten” – Cesare Pavese

“Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal, but which the reader recognizes as his own.” – Salvatore Quasimodo

“Having imagination it takes you an hour to write a paragraph that if you were unimaginative would take you only a minute” – Franklin Pierce Adams