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How To Become A Professional Translator

Are you thinking of becoming a translator? Well, don’t think too long about it. Choosing to have a career as a professional translator is a good decision and I will give you two reasons why:

  1. With globalization and growth of international business professional translators are currently in high demand. Actually, the demand for professional translators is more than the supply meaning if you’re able to be good at it you’re likely to never lack a job and you will be paid handsomely for your services.
  2. According to, the translations services market will continue to grow over the next few years with revenues expected to grow up to $56.18 billion in 2019. Continued growth means you don’t have to worry that the industry will take a downturn just when you are getting started.

Just like any other career to be a successful professional translator you’ve to put in the work. In this post, I will tell steps you can take to lead you to the top of the translation industry.

6 tips to help you achieve success as a professional translator

1. Learn some languages

Professional translators are fluent in several languages. As a rule of thumb you need to be fluent in your native language and at least two other languages. You should not only be able to speak these languages well but also write them in their different dialects, know how to use proper punctuation, grammar and so on.

To work as a professional translator with an internet translation agency you’ll have to prove the mastery of your native language and the other languages you claim to know. So if your language skills are not good take classes to improve them. If you have the time and money you could consider moving to a particular country to fully learn a language.

Once you’re confident with your language skills take language proficiency tests. Such tests will confirm to you that you’re fluent in the different languages hope to use in translation. Don’t wait for a language services agency to give you the test, because they will do that before hiring you. Do the language proficiency test independently so that if you fail you can improve on weak areas before putting yourself in the job market.

2. Acquire an education

I know what you’re thinking. There is a lot of learning to be done before you become a professional translator, and that’s correct. If you thought all you needed to be a professional translator was a laptop and basic knowledge of a language am sorry to disappoint you but that won’t get you very far in this industry. In most cases, the minimum education for a professional translator is a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.

So acquiring an education that will help you in your translation services is very important. You could, for example, go to university to major in languages. You don’t have to only focus on languages you could study law, medicine, business, etc with the aim of using your knowledge to translate in those areas. What you learn will also come in handy when you decide to choose a translation niche to focus on.

3. Get certified as a translator

Why do you need to get certified? Because applying for and passing a certification program gives you credibility. It shows you have the capability to translate at the highest level. Check online for what translation certification you can get to add on to your resume.

If you’re in the United States the American Translators Association offers various translation certification programs. An advantage of joining any of their programs is once certified you will be included in a directory where clients looking for certified translators can find you. I recommend that you get your certification as soon as you can it may be the one thing that gets you that dream job.

4. Get some work experience

So you have done all the hard work. You’ve passed your language proficiency tests, learned more about translation and been certified now it is time to put all you have learned to work. To get some work experience you can apply for an internship at a professional language translation agency. If you don’t want to do that you can apply for translation jobs online and there are a lot of them. A company like, which connects customer looking to have their content translated with professional translators, can hire you if meet their recruitment qualifications.

5. Market yourself as a professional translator

After a few months of working, you’ll have a good idea of how the translation industry operates and you should begin to look for bigger opportunities aggressively. To market yourself as a professional translator,

  • Join online professional translator groups. In these groups you can share your expertise on translation, learn from your peers about the industry and build your network. It is in such groups that you can also get to know about firms looking to hire translators.
  • Consider creating a website to showcase your translation skills. You can put your resume on display there for potential clients to have a look at. Also, add your competitive rates for translation jobs. If you don’t know how to price for your services ask other professionals in the groups you join to help you develop a rate card.

6. Never stop learning

As you grow as a professional translator you need to remain up to date with industry changes. The only way you can do this is through continuous learning. If you have a degree in a language you can do a masters on it.

Doing the master’s degree will not only add your knowledge base but will also make you more marketable. You being more marketable means you can be able to get better and well-paying jobs which I believe is what every professional translator hopes for.


People become translators for various reason. There are those who love doing it and can’t see themselves working any other job. Other just get into business translation for the monetary benefits and flexible hours, that’s if they are doing it as freelancers.

Whatever the reason for becoming a translator the tips I have outlined in this article can help you get an edge over other translators and hopefully grow your website translation services business into a very successful entity. Try them out a let us know how they work for you in your journey to be a professional translator.

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