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A career guide to becoming a Language Translator 

Published: Saturday 12th September 2020

A language translator is a highly-specialised role which requires you to translate documents and other texts into English from their original language. It is a job which requires intimate knowledge of another language. Translator jobs can be in demand in a number of different sectors, including various government departments, international businesses and private clients. There are also private companies which provide translation services. 

If you would like to find out more about language translator jobs, check out this career guide. 

What qualifications do I need to be a Language Translator? 

You will need to have a university degree in at least one language or a similar qualification in the study of linguistics. You may also need to have completed a post-graduate course in translation. Some translator employers which specialise in a particular sector may look for someone who has a combined degree in a language and another relevant area, such as law or business. 

Language translator, young female in headphones watching webinar on laptop making notes, translating at work

What other qualities do you need to be a Language Translator? 

You will need to be fluent in at least one language. You will also need to be familiar with the culture of certain countries in whose language you are fluent and have knowledge of particular dialects and well-used phrases.  

Some employers may like you to have lived a certain country for an extended period. That way, you will have been able to become more knowledgeable about a language and how it used by its native speakers. A translator will also need to have a good eye for detail and be thorough. They must also have an excellent understanding of English and be a good communicator. Sometimes, language translation services can require a quick turnaround and so you can sometimes have to work under pressure and to a deadline. 

Main duties

A language translator will have to translate texts from a source language into English. This can involve transcribing directly onto a new document or using translation software and then checking it thoroughly for accuracy. When working, you will also have to ensure the tone and style of the original source material are maintained in the translated text. 

Foreign languages translation concept

A language translator may also be required to research specific terms which do not lend themselves to direct language from the source language to English and provide the most accurate alternatives possible. This can also include consulting with native speakers of the language who have expertise in a particular sector and researching technical terms and phrases.  

Where to find Language Translator jobs near me? 

There are many translator jobs online which can be found with a relevant job search. Locally, language translator jobs may be found with government agencies who have to translate documents and public notices into a number of different languages.  

You may also find language translator jobs with large organisations which have operations in a number of different countries. Some language translators can also work on a freelance basis or for a language translation service. International organisations such as the European Commission and the United Nations often have a great demand for language translators. 

businessmen shaking hands with a woman secretary/translator standing on the side

Translators’ salary 

Language translator jobs can be found in many different sectors, as well as on a freelance basis. This means that salaries can vary greatly and some may charge by the hour or by the project. However, most language translators will start off earning around £18,000 a year and with experience this can rise to around £40,000 a year. 

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