With the growing connections between different parts of the world, more and more translators are in demand for working on all kinds of materials ranging from travel brochures, technical manuals, works of literature and articles. Companies throughout the world search for professional and experienced freelance translators offering a reliable service. Although English is the ubiquitous global language, a number of other languages including French, Mandarin, German, Danish, Dutch and Urdu are quite essential in the spheres of business relations and cultural studies. Being a translator gives you the opportunity to work from anywhere in the world and pursue your passions for both travel and your work. Here is a detailed guide on How to Travel the World as a Translator.
If you can speak at least two languages fluently and are quite the linguist, then a career as a freelance or location independent translator is just perfect for you. But, speaking two or three languages doesn’t necessarily imply that you are proficient in translating and writing. You are required to gain essential qualifications to ensure that you are equipped for translating important speeches, articles, documents, conference calls and books.
Acquiring a specific qualification helps you work with lucrative clients, as most of them prefer translators having a bachelor's degree, experience, and/or certification. Speaking of US, translation is establishing itself an as academic field, thereby has only a few master’s programs including MA and MFAs focusing on literature translation. Opting for certificates requires a much shorter time duration for completion than a degree, plus no course work is required in most certifications. The American Translators Associationoffers the best certification in the US.
Most translators become specialists in one or two areas of translation such as medical, legal, marketing, literary, financial, travel etc. The specializations can extend into some unique niche fields such as cooking, poetry, quantum physics, divorce law, cardiology and more. While choosing your specialization as a translator, you should opt for a subject in which you are already well-versed with the vocabulary.
Translators primarily work with written text, mostly translating from their weak language into the stronger one. Most translators have a few weak languages, and one strong language or vice versa. The strong languages are also referred as native language, mother tongue or target language. The weaker languages are the ones that you learn after your native language, thus they are also termed as second language. So it is best to translate into your native language due to the perfect grasp to ensure a high quality work.
When it comes to finding clients and connecting with them, there is a broad spectrum of online resources that may come handy. Some platforms let translators publish their resumes free of cost, thereby allowing the clients approaching their site for a translator to browse through your profile and other details. Majority job sites operate on bidding, i.e. the companies or clients looking for translators post the job on the board, and you can contact them directly to offer a price quote and detail your skills or qualifications. The profile that best matches the requirements of the individual or company is selected for the work.
Some of the popular sites that offer free basic access for translators are www.translatorscafe.com and www.Proz.com, whereas those that charge for using their resources include www.gotranslators.com and www.translatorsbase.com. Sometimes, several translation jobs are also posted on general job sites such as www.craigslist.org and www.monster.com with a comparatively low competition.
After streamlining the services you can provide as a translator, advance to marketing your skills. Whether you are already abroad or preparing your trip, you can begin by setting up your own website including the services you offer, contact information, rates and if possible, some references and work samples. This website will work as a presentation card for you while approaching potential clients, whether the clients are private clients, translation agencies, individuals or companies.
The approach to marketing your skills is simple and all you have to do is identify potential clients who are interested in your services depending on your specialization and language pairs, followed by preparing a presentation email or report detailing what you have to offer. Some online experience in marketing can also help you in making your website visible and getting work offers through it. Keep in mind that location independent translators rely mainly on their portfolio and word-of-mouth to keep working profitably. If you provide high quality work, you will surely grow an amazing clientele gradually.
Once you reach a level with steady work coming in, there is no stopping from expanding your horizons and becoming location independent. You are totally free to live and work from anywhere around the globe, as long as you possess a a mobile phone and access to the internet. You can work as a translator at a wide range of platforms including political meetings, business meetings, international conferences, conventions, courtrooms, hospitals, multi-national companies and refugee camps. Apart from language fluency, you must be well versed regarding the cultures of the speakers and the concerned languages for working as a translator for different nations. A good way to do the same is to travel as well as to read extensively on a variety of topics in the languages you are working on.
Traveling around the world for translation projects may require you to complete several different tasks such converting spoken or written information from one language to another, translating a sign language into a spoken language. According to the place you are working, you must adopt a specific tone or style in your work, at the same time retaining the meanings when translating from one language to another. You may also consider taking the assistance of reference sources to ensure the accuracy of your translation. To suit the travelling, it is convenient to work on a laptop for receiving, composing and submitting documents.
Undoubtedly, being a location independent translator is accompanied by lots of travel as well as freedom of time and movement. The next 5 years will be quite promising for translators and the job will experience a much faster growth than the average growth rates for most jobs, according to the predictions of The Bureau of Labor Statistics. Surely, working as a location independent translator does have some really attractive and unbeatable advantages, making it quite an appealing career for the language and travel enthusiasts.