There are going to be people who will look at the title of this post and question what is it that I love about working as a translator. I can just hear the usual “isn’t your job repetitive?”, “do you ever leave your house?” or “do you have a social life?” Yes, well, I do although these are negative aspects of working as a translator, some more generalised than others. Working as a professional translator however, is fitting for a person such as myself. I enjoy the challenges I am faced with on daily basis and being in control of my working schedule, as it allows me to plan work around my life, not the other way around.
We all start somewhere
We’re not born with the ability to learn a language, this is something that takes time and dedication. I started learning French at a young age, and although it wasn’t something I chose for myself, I soon realised that I was interested in languages. French was my favourite subject in primary school and by the time I reached high school, I knew that French would be one of the classes I would take as part of my GCSE’s.
Language learning isn’t for everyone, but I knew from the moment I began studying French that my adult life would incorporate languages, whether through teaching or studying. Mind you, being a translator never crossed my mind until I started my degree at University.
Having the passion to be a translator
As with any job, if you lack a real desire to work in a particular industry, you will never be truly satisfied. The translation industry is an already hard business to break into. A translator should be passionate about their job as this shows in the delivery of a project. Professional linguists spend years gaining the best qualifications, however working as one requires even more dedication and passion.
There will be days when a translator has deadlines looming and with plenty of work that still needs completing. Although this isn’t the ideal situation, being passionate about your role will help you make it before any approaching deadline. Working as a professional London translator, I’ve been there a number of times.
A successful translator will build a brand to highlight their specialisms. Being in control of this allows you to publicise your specialisations and target the type of client that fits your skills and services. Translators typically do this on their websites, or on boards such as Proz.
The internet is a great place for translators such as myself to market their skills. I am always able to update and edit my experiences, growing my credentials. I also engage on social media, networking with other translators and agencies. In most cases, this is free and has a large impact on how much exposure a translator gets. It really can be the difference between receiving jobs on a regular basis and not getting as many job opportunities.
You are your own boss
One of my favourite aspects of being a translator is working when it’s suitable to me. If there’s a project that I don’t see fitting, then I have the choice of declining. But it isn’t as simple as it seems. There are times when I have an abundance of different tasks to complete because my schedule can be quiet the following week. Having an unpredictable schedule is likely, however if you are an established translator, then job opportunities will .
If I have agreed to take on a number of projects for a number or days or weeks then I usually create a diary to guide me through the way, allowing me to stay on top of all my tasks. I also have the freedom to arrange this diary around my day to day activities.
Work from any location
You can be in any part of the world and still be at work. Your job can go with you on holiday, although that may not be ideal to everyone. This also cuts many costs for me such as spending money on commuting. You will also avoid being stuck in your car, and making it into work with just a few minutes to spare. This element of the job is appropriate for me as I am able to have a decent wage and look after my new-born.