Depending on individual preferences regarding work environment, every potential translator and interpreter can find their optimal career path. A professional linguist can work in the fields of interpretation or translation, and both provide many benefits such as the following:
The opportunity to combine working with people and technology. For example, technology has become indispensable to providing interpreting services these days, both in booking and delivering interpretation. Likewise, translation has become vital not only for interpersonal communication but also in creating artificial intelligence algorithms.
Continuous education and improvement of one’s skills. Translators regularly process new terminology to improve the accuracy of their work. Depending on their specialization, they need to immerse themselves in technical documentation, medical articles, and complicated topics. Many translators also embark on continued education.
Traveling the world can become easier and more frequent. Professional linguists can be naturally comfortable in other language environments and get more opportunities to work with people around the world.
Helping other people. Translators and interpreters help people effectively overcome the language barrier. Many brilliant ideas have created positive change in the world thanks to professional linguists.
What Jobs Are Available
Here is an overview of the different career paths available for translators and interpreters.
Medical Interpreters and Translators. This involves employment in a medical facility. The main task of a medical interpreter is to help the patient communicate effectively with doctors and other medical personnel and vice versa. These professionals must have an excellent understanding of medical terms, basic treatment methods, and the language spoken by both patient and doctor.
A medical translator, meanwhile, works with test results, medical prescriptions, brochures on medical procedures, documents on the patient’s consent for surgical intervention, and the chosen treatment method aside from other documents.
Community Interpreters and Translators. Interpreters can take on work in different public settings, such as schools, government agencies, and a range of local institutions. They can also engage in development work for various communities. A community translator, on the other hand, works on text produced by public authorities around socio-cultural issues, often in the service of minority communities.
Simultaneous Interpreter. This specialist is vital to educational lectures, presentations, conferences, and other events where not all participants speak the same language. Simultaneous interpreters are in demand in business, diplomacy, international relations, and other areas.
Sign Language Interpreter. People who speak sign language can serve as interpreters to facilitate the communication between the Deaf or hard of hearing and those who are not proficient in American or British Sign Language (ASL or BSL). These professionals work in real time, focusing on gestures and specific body-language cues. Some specialists can also read lips in English and interpret from one language into and out of English.
Machine Translation Specialist. Machine translation (MT) belongs to one of the most promising tech fields in recent years. While some people may still fear their professions will be replaced by machines, others have already adapted to MT as the default translation method. For example, linguists can participate in projects aimed at creating MT tools or they can transition to the role of post-editor, enhancing the quality of MT output and making it more usable to the end client.
Literary Translator. These professionals translate literary works from one language into another. They can take on various materials: a book, a magazine article, poetry, and short stories. During translation, this specialist analyzes the meaning of the text and linguistic structures. A good literary translator should accurately convey an authentic style and tone, as well as the author’s intention. Most literary works are specific in terms of culture, so a literary translator must spend a lot of time working out the historical context and thematic details of the work.
Court Interpreter and Legal Translator. This professional may take a job in a law office, court, or legal institution. Interpreters attend court proceedings, on site or virtually. Translators work on deposition, hearing, arraignment, verdict, and other legal documents. Legal translators often perform work focused on delivering justice, often becoming advocates for people with little or no understanding of English.
Localizer. This professional mainly specializes in the translation of texts and graphics that appear on products, service descriptions, websites, instruction manuals, advertisements, and other marketing collateral. Localizers can transform copy and images into their most understandable form for native speakers of another language. By adopting a strategic approach to localizing, linguists can turn this into a profitable, fulfilling career.
It is worth noting that in this age of telecommuting, the position of online translator has enjoyed considerable popularity. Not surprising because the position has many advantages for both employee and employer, allowing work from home and the ability to accommodate many different time zones or language areas.