Taking a new career path at some point in your life is a significant step that can be very exciting as well. If it’s your first job as a translator, you’ll likely get that pleasant sense of mild anxiety. If you switch your career, a similar sense will occur. On the one hand, you’re free to go wherever you want in your life. On the other hand, the uncertainty combined with some duties can spoil all the fun. If your career choice stopped on translations, you’re in luck. There are only 6 basic questions that you have to answer before becoming a translator to get rid of all the negativity and feel the thrill of the career switching excitement.
Making the First Step Confidently
If you’re not into impulsive purchases, you probably ask yourself some questions before you buy something. Do I need this at all? Can I afford that? How do I pay for it? How do I use it? Do I handle it with care? Well, when it comes to selecting or switching a career path, it’s all the same. Some questions that you must ask yourself before starting a job in a certain industry are very similar to those provided above.
When talking about the translation industry, we might often think about following some political leaders or businessmen on their international trips and translating whatever they say to other people and vice versa. There is some good and bad news about that. First, what’s described above is interpretation, not translation. Second, although translation has to do more with paperwork, it’s still an exciting job to perform daily.
On the one hand, translation may seem boring. But it’s relatively easier because you have all the time you need for your translation job. On top of that, there are numerous projects for translation specialists that are not just legal documents or medical prescription translations. Look closely through some of the most popular translation service reviews. You see that lots of customers address language service providers to perform a transcription or even translate the movie subtitles for a limited screening in another country. So, the questions about translation jobs should not concern the quality of the job or working conditions. It all should rather be about the following six things.
- What work form would you prefer? There are two main employment types: full-time or freelance. Both forms have their benefits and drawbacks. As a full-timer, you have a certain guaranteed amount of work and regular pay. At the same time, you have to do only the work you’re provided, work only when you’re told to, and you’re not in control as to how much you earn. With freelance, you have complete freedom over the amount of your work, your time, and your salary. Freelance requires a lot of responsibility and willpower not to slack off.
- Will the salary satisfy all your needs? To make a living means to earn enough not to need work additionally or save for basic needs. Also, to make a living means not to work 24/7/365 and still have enough to eat, sleep, and have fun. The salaries of translators may vary somewhat. But, in general, they range between around $37,000 and $72,000 on average. As such, some freelance translators manage to make as much as $90,000 per year while working the same amount.
- Can you meet deadlines? No matter what work type you choose, full-time or freelance, you’ll still have to stick to deadlines. Translation jobs usually go in a form of projects, which are to complete in a defined time. If you cannot meet deadlines but still want to work as a translator, either improve your time management skills or learn to negotiate with people. Oftentimes, you can push deadlines, but you have to know how to talk people into that.
- Can you be flexible? This is the question concerns both full-timers and freelancers again, yet it’s more relevant to freelancers, after all. Being flexible in the translation industry is being able to adapt to the situation. Sometimes, customers may want to change a style midway or provide some extra tasks. In full-time work, a company might assign you additional work because someone else is on vacation. In other situations, you might need to change something in the translated text post-factum. Being able to cope with such situations and walk the line is often essential for translators.
- Can you market yourself? An ability to present oneself is unique to every person, and, essentially, anyone can do it. But as you step onto the career path, it’s vital to understand how quickly you can develop a decent self-presentation and how much time will you need to maintain that image. In general, you can prove that you’re worth any job in the world by either getting certified or accumulating a portfolio. In either case, that takes time and, sometimes, money, and you must be prepared for it.
- How much do you plan to invest in your job? While you’re the one who’s supposed to be paid, making a career investment is quite a normal practice in the world. Getting certified, sharpening your skills, acquiring all tools you might need, and many other necessary things require some time and money. The main question is whether you’ll be able to invest the exact amount you need and more.
Not Looking Back
As you take the path of the translator, it’s of course, possible to switch, but it’s not that easy, especially in later stages of your life, and there’s no point. Working as a translator is not a monotonous job, even if you work full-time, so getting bored is nearly impossible. Also, the translators’ salary is more than decent, so you won’t slide down into poverty (unless you cease working completely as a freelancer) and will have all the fun and leisure you want in your life.
Elizabeth Baldridge never found her job even remotely boring. With the number of travels, experiences, and fun she manages to have, her writing career can only be characterized as the dream job. Elizabeth tends to take her job professionally, so there’s always something you can take away from her articles.