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Interpreter/Translator listed as one of the best 50 careers for 2011

U.S. News has compiled a list of the predicted best 50 careers for 2011. They have based their decisions on estimated projections of job growth from 2008 – 2018 provided by the Labour Department, and then finalised the 50 careers by taking into account which jobs would provide an above-average median income, and the careers for which the number of jobs is expected to increase. They also used information on job satisfaction and turnover, as well as consulting industry experts to gather “anecdotal evidence about employment prospects and job satisfaction”, according to a recent article in US News.

Interpreter/Translator appears in the subcategory ‘Creative and Service Jobs’, along with Film and Video Editor, Commercial Pilot and Multimedia Artist, amongst others. Employment of both interpreters and translators was expected to increase by over 20% between 2008 and 2018. Cities in America, such as Washington D.C. and New York offer the most possibilities, particularly with Spanish, given the increasing number of Spanish inhabitants in the US.

In fact, many professional translators agree with this trend, with nearly 50% of those polled by Proz.com saying that they believed their income would increase in 2011 – that’s compared with only 14% who felt the opposite.

Besides the potential growth of the translation marketplace, there are many other reasons why becoming a translator is a good career move for individuals with the necessary skills and dedication:

  • Being your own boss
  • Flexible working hours
  • Flexibility of workload – can work as many or as few hours as you like
  • Can reject projects if not suitable rather than having to do whatever you’re given.
  • Working from home
  • Support & Advice from the translator community

Alternatively, in-house translation positions (although rare) also offer the opportunity for creative language work, and honing your craft while in a stable, secure working environment.

What skills do you need to become a translator?

  • High level of fluency in the source language
  • Native speaker of the language you intend to work into (target language)
  • High standard of grammar and spelling in all the languages you intend to work with
  • Attention to detail
  • Good speed of typing (or it will take you forever to complete assignments!)

Qualifications required by each company may vary, but as a general rule, all translators are expected to have completed at least 5 years of Higher Education, and many translation companies (Including Web-Translations) will require a minimum of 3-5 years of commercial translation experience.

Lots of the language translator professionals we work with have worked in a particular industry such as engineering, or in a legal profession, before deciding to change career.

If you’re a translator, share your career journey with us: How did you end up becoming a translator, or is it something you always wanted to do?

Are there any other benefits of working freelance that we’ve overlooked?

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