For someone to become a professional Christian translation advisor , they must be fluent in a minimum of two languages. This is not just basic conversational fluency, but the ability to read converse, and understand both languages. Becoming a translator requires a great deal of talent and skill. A translator must be intelligent, open-minded, and intellectually curious with very high language skills. With the language service industry being unaffected by the recession, it reaches into Professional Translation the billions. It is expected to grow steadily so it is an area that continues to stay in demand for the foreseeable future.
There are over 3,000 language service providers, also known as LSPs, that operate in the United States as well as more than 55,000 professionals in the industry that work as interpreters, translators, and other jobs related to translation. Competition in the industry is intense, though the number of professional translators is small in comparison to the market. This is in part due to the requirements of and for translators serving in a professional capacity. If you speak a second or third language fluently and are interested in language and foreign culture, you may be interested in becoming a translator. It is rewarding to work, aside from the monetary rewards, you are helping people to understand others from different cultures. Translators help people around the world enjoy literary and other works, as well as facilitate communication.
If you are interested in a career as a professional translator then there are certain steps to take to fulfill this dream. It will not be easy because it requires dedication and perseverance that includes a love for languages. The right education and the skills shared below are the best places to start.
- Language Skills – You must possess language skills. This includes fluency in both the source language and the target language. You must be a native speaker for either the target or first language, but also a strong writer in the target language. Few people are able to translate into languages that are not native. For most to get work as a professional translator, only native speakers are even considered. Living in the country or spending the majority of at least a year in the country of the target language will help improve proficiency and is often a prerequisite. A true professional translator will need to be able to understand and write very well including vocabulary, grammar, and idiomatic methods to express what is necessary for translation. A good translator will also have a strong knowledge of different dialects, punctuation, slang, variants, jargon, and euphemisms.
- Computer Skills – Translators need computer skills that are strong as well. Programs like Office, desktop publishing, Photoshop, and In Design will be part of translation services in many cases. These will both improve efficiency and your chances at employment. In addition, knowing how to use computer-assisted translation tools (CAT) and a bit of HTYML offers an advantage, as well-above-average typing skills with accuracy.
- Business Skills – Many translators work as freelancers which means you must market yourself in an appropriate manner. You need to have some sales skills to build yourself a network and tenacity to overcome the competition that is already working. This is all applied through organizational skills.
To become a professional translator, follow the following steps:
- Acquire an Education – This is not only an education in languages but for those who wish to do the specialized translation, such as Christian translators, education in that area as well. Christian translators have often studied religion and/or gone to school to enter the ministry in addition to language and translation studies.
- Apply for and Pass a Certification Program – Depending on where you are located, a certification program and test will be administered to offer certification in the languages of translation.
- Pass a Language Proficiency Exam – Much like accreditation, a language proficiency test must be taken and passed before offering services.
- Acquire Job Experience – Boost your resume with proficiency exams and then offer services to start building your reputation.
- Market Yourself – Look for organizations, companies, and firms that may use a translator and offer your services. Try building a website and keep copies of your resume handy to make sure you are always ready.
- Continue Learning – As you begin establishing yourself, stay up to date on new programs, options, and skills as they become available. This will help you rise to the top of your field.
- Improve Subject Knowledge – If you choose to be specialized, like a Christian translator or medical translator, keep improving upon your specialty. Specific terminology and beliefs change, so make sure you are up to date.
The translation is a tough job, but one that can benefit many if undertaken with dedication.