A translator is a person who translates or converts a written document from one language to another. Generally, the language being translated from is called the source language and the language being translated to is called the target language.
Types of translation
There are various types of translation jobs available. Literary translation is a popular, though specialized field. It involves the translation of literature – fiction and poetry – and thus requires not only translation capabilities, but a good understanding of literature, so that the essence of the material being translated is never lost. Another fast growing and popular field is business translation. Businesses require a lot of documentation to be translated and to work in this field you need to also have a good understanding of business terms and transactions. Technical translation can be in a number of fields such as engineering and medicine and would require knowledge in the particular field as well. Legal translation is another important field and can also be useful to businesses, which sometimes need their agreements or other such documents with foreign countries to be translated.
Work Places and Working Conditions
Translators have a variety of options when it comes to work places. They can work with a company, government agency or can set up their own freelance business. Freelance translation services are very popular. If you choose this option you will be able to work at your own pace, choosing only the projects you wish to work on. However it is important to get some good experience before establishing yourself, as freelancers usually get good jobs based on the reputation they have earned for themselves. As with other freelance occupations, a steady flow of income is not assured, especially in the initial stages. Working for a company of course, will guarantee you a monthly salary and benefits. However, you will generally not have the option of choosing the type of projects you work on. Organizations such as the United Nations offer highly rewarding translation jobs, which could sometimes include overseas posting.
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Translators usually work in quiet conditions, in places such as libraries, so they can have quick access to reference materials such as dictionaries, legal books, medical books etc. depending on the nature of their work.
Translation is a promising career for the future, especially since cross-country business transactions are rapidly on the increase. It is estimated that there will be around a 20% increase in demand in this field over the next 8 – 10 years, which is a substantial growth. It is also estimated that the translators most in demand will be for Spanish, German, French, Italian and Middle Eastern languages.
Besides necessary education and training, a natural flair for languages always helps, as does a meticulous approach, which is required to proofread and ensure that the essence of the material being translated isn’t lost. Freelance translators usually have to work within a deadline, so being able to keep commitments and manage time effectively is also vital, as is being able to conduct reference and research work.
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