An interpreter and translator career can be a fascinating, diverse, and rewarding profession. From language graduates to those with commercial or industrial experience looking for a career change, an interpreter and translator career is open to individuals from a variety of backgrounds.
By learning about the various types of translation jobs available, you’ll be able to determine what career path is best for you.
- Why work in interpretation and translation?
- What careers are available in the interpretation and translation sector?
- What skills are needed to work in the interpretation and translation sector?
- What degrees help with a career in interpretation and translation?
Why work in interpretation and translation?
Opportunities to travel
During your career as a translator or interpreter, you might have the chance to travel frequently around the globe and visit various countries. Additionally, you will meet new people and practice your language skills abroad.
Continuous educational opportunities
To maintain their proficiency, translators and interpreters must stay informed about specific linguistic developments. As a result, translation professionals can learn continuously throughout their careers.
People who work in translation and interpretation directly help others communicate. This can be incredibly fulfilling, especially when supporting those with language barriers who would have otherwise found it difficult to communicate effectively.
What careers are available in the interpretation and translation sector?
An interpreter or translator career is a common career path in the United Nations. However, to work with them, they have some requirements, including that your main language must be one of the six official languages of the United Nations:
Individuals wanting to work for the United Nations must also know two other languages from the list above well enough to translate them into their main language.
To work for the European Union as a translator or interpreter, you must be proficient in at least two European languages. One of these two other languages must be in:
Some translators work freelance or through translation agencies. With experience, you could start your own translation agency, or move into teaching. You could specialise in a particular subject area like law, medicine, or finance.
Here are some common interpreter or translator careers to consider:
- Freelance translator
- In-house translator
- Translation project manager
- Post-translation editor
- Transcreation and copywriting
- Linguist lawyer
- Language editor
- Health or medical interpreters and translators
- Literary translators
- Legal or judicial translators and interpreters
- Sign language interpreters
What skills are needed to work in interpretation and translation?
An interpreter or translator career may be a suitable choice for those that enjoy linguistics. As a translator or interpreter, you will be able to continually learn and help others while pursuing a rewarding career. Here is a list of the most desired languages employers look for when searching for interpreters and translators:
In addition to your language skills, both interpreting and translation roles usually require the following skills:
- Foreign language skills
- Knowledge of the English language
- To be thorough and pay attention to detail
- Customer service skills
- Patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- The ability to work on your own
- To be flexible and open to change
- Concentration skills
- IT skills
- Passion for working with texts and language
- Networking skills
- Organisational skills
- Writing skills
- Subject knowledge (you could work in a specialist field based on your subject knowledge of law or medicine)
What degrees help with an interpreter or translator career?
Most likely you would require a degree or postgraduate qualification in translation and interpretation. The most relevant degrees would be in a language – courses that specialise in linguistics or translation may give you an advantage but are not essential. You could also look into combined degrees that include a subject such as law or science with languages, or an option to complete a postgraduate course like a master’s in translation.
Here is a list of current undergraduate language, translation, and interpretation degrees to consider if you’re looking to go into an interpreter and translator career:
- Translation and Interpreting with Modern Languages
- Translation, Media and Modern Language
- European Languages and Translation
- Modern Languages and Translation
- International Business with Language
- Languages and International Relations
- Translation Studies with International Film
- Translation Studies and Comparative Literature and Culture
- Languages, TESOL and Translation Undergraduate Pathway
- Translation Studies with History of Art and Visual Culture
- Interpreting (British Sign Language – English)
- English Language
Check out our Unitemps job search portal to see if we have any interpretation and translation vacancies available or get more career advice by reading our other articles.
Last updated on 15 February 2023Share this article