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What is a Translator?

Also known as: Certified Translator, Language Translator, Professional Translator.

A translator is someone who converts the written word from one language to another. An interpreter on the other hand, is someone who translates orally or through sign language interpretation. Although translators typically need a bachelor’s degree, the most important requirement is that they be fluent in English and at least one other language. Many complete job-specific training programs.

How to Become a Translator

Interested in becoming a Translator? Here are your next steps.

  1. Take the Sokanu Career Test

    Would you make a good translator? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

    Take the free career test
  2. Get the Education

    • Delaware Technical Community College-Stanton/Wilmington | Wilmington, DE
      Offers: Certificate
    • Delaware State University | Dover, DE
      Offers: Bachelors
    • University of Delaware | Newark, DE
      Offers: Bachelors
    • American University | Washington, DC
      Offers: Certificate, Bachelors
    • Catholic University of America | Washington, DC
      Offers: Bachelors
  3. Get Hired

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What does a Translator do?

Translators typically do the following:

  • Convert concepts in the source language to equivalent concepts in the target language
  • Speak, read, and write fluently in at least two languages, including English and one or more others
  • Relay style and tone
  • Manage work schedules to meet deadlines
  • Render spoken ideas accurately, quickly, and clearly

Translators aid communication by converting information from one language into another. The goal of a translator is to have people read the translation as if it were the original. To do that, the translator must be able to write sentences that flow as well as the original, while keeping ideas and facts from the original source accurate. They must consider any cultural references, including slang, and other expressions that do not translate literally.

Translators must read the original language fluently but may not need to speak it fluently. They usually translate only into their native language. Nearly all translation work is done on a computer, and translators receive and submit most assignments electronically. Translations often go through several revisions before becoming final. Translating services are needed in many different subject areas. Although these workers often do not specialize in any particular field or industry, many focus on one area of expertise.

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What is the workplace of a Translator like?

Translators typically work from home. They receive and submit their work electronically. They must sometimes deal with the pressure of deadlines and tight schedules. Because many translators are self-employed, their schedules often vary, with alternating periods of limited work and periods of long, irregular hours. Still, most work full time during regular business hours.

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How to Become a Translator

Interested in becoming a Translator? Here are your next steps.

  1. Take the Sokanu Career Test

    Would you make a good translator? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

    Take the free career test
  2. Get the Education

    • Delaware Technical Community College-Stanton/Wilmington | Wilmington, DE
      Offers: Certificate
    • Delaware State University | Dover, DE
      Offers: Bachelors
    • University of Delaware | Newark, DE
      Offers: Bachelors
    • American University | Washington, DC
      Offers: Certificate, Bachelors
    • Catholic University of America | Washington, DC
      Offers: Bachelors
  3. Get Hired

      Loading jobs...

    View all jobs →