London Translator


Becoming a Translator

Wednesday 27 May, 2015

Translator – A career choice
With London’s hugely diverse number of dialects, languages and cultures, to become a London translator or interpreter requires a great deal of hard work, dedication and self-motivation.  This is why Romo Translation takes such care and consideration when recruiting translators in to our team. Here we look at the steps you’ll need to take to become a professional translator.

1 Study your mother tongue
Before you really start on the road to becoming a professional translator, you must first truly understand the real detail of your mother tongue. Many people make the mistake of having only an intrinsic understanding of their main language without understanding the details of how a foreign speaker would approach it. It is only by really understanding your own language that you will be able to become an accomplished translator. 

2 Study your chosen language
Studying your chosen language is not simply being able to read and write it fluently. You need to understand the inner workings of the language everything from the informal chat right the way through to the grammatical and verbal technicalities across a wide range of topics.  

3 Educated to Degree Level for area of expertise
If you already have a specialist degree, for example Law or a scientific field, then you can study for a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation.  However, if you’re starting out on your career and haven’t yet studied your degree, it is worthwhile to choose a specialist subject and complete that course first before undertaking the Translation Degree. It will show you will truly understand the subject matter you are translating. At Romo Translation, we ensure that all our teams have the appropriate educational background before they start work on a translation project. 

4. Practice 
It will be important to practice your writing skills throughout your study. Whilst you may well be good at speaking your chosen language, it is a very different skill to be able to write well. This practice will help you to gain valuable experience on accuracy and will help to provide a focus on the areas where you may need a little more attention.

5 Additional translating and interpreting courses
There are a number of courses you can take that specifically deal with translation and interpreting skills. These will help to highlight how understanding your target audience, their culture and the context in which the translation is made are vital factors in becoming an excellent translator. They will also aid your educational background when approaching potential employers. 

6 Gaining additional experience
There is no way round it, experience counts for a great deal no matter which industry you have chosen to work in. Translation and Interpreting is no different. It will be important for your career to gain as much experience as you can throughout your studying.  Wherever possible, be it through your network at University or through friends’ and families’ work connects, seek out opportunities to gain the vital experience and recommendations. They will serve you well later in your career. 

You may want to consider volunteering or accepting an internship at a local organisation or business through your network, you could even turn to social media to find potential opportunities. 

7 Travel to the country your language is spoken
Immersing yourself in the culture of the country whose language you have chosen to study will give you an unparalleled understanding of how their language is used in everyday life.  You will see the nuances and working idiosyncrasies which you can then apply in your career. The longer you are able to stay and the more you speak the language, the better your understanding will be for your second language and you’ll even begin to experience the regional differences that will only enhance your knowledge. 

8 Gain the Trade Certifications & Proficiency testing
In order to make gaining employment an easier task, obtaining certifications will help greatly. As with many other industries, employers will look at a translator’s association memberships and know that the applicant has sufficient knowledge and understanding to be a success in their organisation.  

It is also worth taking a language proficiency test to illustrate that you are truly fluent in your chosen second language. These will act in a similar way to trade body membership by showing potential employers your translation and interpreting skill levels. 

Neither are actually required by employers but they certainly do help. 

9 Translate “to not from” your mother tongue
It will be much easier for you to translate any documentation back to your native language than it will be to your chosen second language. The reason behind this is that you will already have the knowledge of the topical nuances rather than having to research them in your second language. It is now that you will understand why we said at the start that you really need to understand your own language inside and out. 

10 Kick start your career
The more projects you have delivered the more likely employers will be to take you on to complete their projects.  As most translators and interpreters are freelance it is important to know how and where you can find projects to work on and how to properly market yourself. 

Registering with Job sites can certainly help, but remember some will be better than others, and some will require you to take a test before they allow you to become a full member.  Now that you have a specialised subject and are fluent in your second language, you will have a good understanding of where your services will be required. Romo Translations have specialists in a wide range of subject matters so it can be worth contacting us if you feel you can help.  Our key industries can be found on our website {Insert Link}

11 Finally - Stick to what you know
Whilst it is always good to expand your understanding of expertise, it is not wise to expand it too far. Stick to a subject matter to fully understand and then slowly widen your knowledge to cover subjects within the same genre.

For example:
If you have specialised in translating medical reports covering pregnancy, labour and delivery you could widen your knowledge by learning and translating articles covering the wider topic of paediatric care. By slowly widening your range of understanding to include additional and related subjects, you can grow your specialities in to new and profitable areas.  

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