If you have a talent for languages and have achieved full fluency in one or more foreign tongues, then your career prospects will be given a strong boost across many varied fields. Commerce nowadays is increasingly global, and those with a mastery of language can pick and choose from many enticing opportunities. So why pursue a career in translation rather than in the wider international business world? Here are five excellent reasons.
Enjoy Flexible Hours and Conditions
Working as a translator gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of the hours you work. If you have commitments that make working a standard nine to five office job difficult, then a career in translation could be ideal, whether you work through an agency or as a freelancer. This is especially the case in these internet-dominated times: there is absolutely no reason why you can’t pursue a successful career in translation working entirely from home, as much or as little as you want and over whatever hours you choose, so long as you can deliver the results by email to meet a deadline. Indeed, the global nature of your likely client base across different time zones means that the concept of fixed office hours is largely redundant.
Interesting and Varied Work
One of the major benefits of being a translator is that it’s a job suited to those with restless and inquiring minds. The nature of the job means that you’ll be covering a wide range of topics, and meeting different challenges with every project. You’ll also need to keep your vocabulary and general language skills polished and up to date, so the chances of being bored are slim indeed.
One powerful answer to the question “Why become a translator?” is that a career in this field offers many opportunities for those who enjoy working independently. Taking on freelance or agency work offers a chance to build a solid career that isn’t reliant on the whims of superiors or the vagaries of the job market. Also, the international nature of the job means that you’ll be building contacts and connections across the world, which will be invaluable if you wish to turn your career into a fully-fledged business.
Translation is Often Highly Paid
In the age of global business and widespread competency in English, you may ask yourself why pursue a career in translation, especially with ongoing advances in computer translation technology? One very simple answer is that the skills required for high level, accurate translation work are in extremely short supply, especially in non-European languages. In areas such as business, politics, or diplomacy, translators who can produce excellent work are in high demand, and are thus able to command high levels of pay.
This is particularly true when it comes to more traditionally obscure languages such as Mandarin – the rapid emergence of China and other developing nations as players on the global business stage means that if you have skills in such a language, you can expect to be very well compensated for your translation work.
Excellent Opportunities for Career Progression
Why become a translator rather than pursue another line of work where your language skills are of use? The answer is easy if you’re ambitious: translation is a highly meritocratic field, meaning that if you have talent and are prepared to work hard, there is no real limit to what you can achieve. There are no fixed career structures nor artificial barriers to promotion, and so if you have the drive to succeed, the sky really is the limit.
On the other hand, the flexibility of the career means that if you want to earn steady money without aiming for the top, maybe because of family commitments, this is also perfectly valid and attainable, unlike some other careers where being happy to remain at one level is seen by some as a negative point.
So if you have a passion for languages and a desire to forge a successful career, the many benefits of being a translator offer the perfect way of putting your linguistic skills to enjoyable, fulfilling, and profitable use.
Further reading: The role of the translator in 2030 and beyond
Image credit: Pixabay
Samanphy Li is currently based in London, coming from Hong Kong. Along with speaking Cantonese, Mandarin and English, she has been learning Spanish since 2010, lived and worked in Spain before and is a fluent speaker.
She has thought about the career of translation but is now working in the marketing department at Livety.com – a young startup whose purpose is to help students from all around the world find the best and most suitable accommodation in the UK. Facebook, Twitter
Yeh, it’s definitely suited for the inquiring minds. I like it when you said “chances of getting bored are slim”. What I like the best about translating is that you’re constantly in a state of learning. You acquire knowledge about the topic being translated, and chances are you’ll be doing a lot of different topics. Topics you never knew about, or things well beyond your comfort zone. Oftentimes there’s quite some research involved, and that’s thrilling. I’m among the type of people who enjoy digging for knowledge, and translation is certainly one of the things that give me much fulfilment.
Three of the reasons why I decided to work as a freelance translator are included. Certainly working independently and the flexible hours were the biggest influencers 🙂
Being my own boss is my biggest reason and the varied work, every single day is interesting. Flexible hours is also very important even though it can mean 10-12 hours daily instead of the standard 8. But when you love what you do it’s not even considered “work”, right? 🙂