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Career as Translator

Career as a Translator

About Translator

A Translator or Interpreter is a person who converts information from one language to another. Translators, though, have a new career, but in the current scenario of globalization with the Indian economy full of opportunities, multinationals coming to the Indian subcontinent and more and more companies are going abroad for joint ventures. The main work of these professionals is to translate the texts from one language to the desired language without having a rectangle of difference in its interpretation from the original text. The translator should be able to convert the text accurately and quickly in the desired language. In such a scenario, the job of a translator is increasingly seen as a career option by many. There is no dearth of economic opportunities for those applicants who want to take up translator as a full-time profession. In short, the main goal of a translator is to read the translations as if it were the original written content. To do this, the translator should be able to maintain the structure and style of the original text while keeping in mind the ideas and facts of the original material accurate.

Eligibility to become Translator

Those who adopt translator as a profession, have to go for a diploma or degree course in the desired language after the 12th, various universities /institutions offering these courses. Candidates may have to fulfill certain conditions or may have to take an entrance test to take admission in some prestigious institutions of the desired language.

Subject Combination - There is no specific subject combination required in Class 12 to become a translator. They should possess fairly good knowledge of the desired language.

One has to follow the below-given steps to become a Translator:

There are 3 types of courses to pursue a career as a translator:

  • Certificate course
  • Degree course
  • Diploma course

For a certificate or degree in the desired language, class 12 is the minimum requirement.

The eligibility for the diploma course is a certificate course in the desired language


Some institutions/universities, such as Jawaharlal Nehru University, require a candidate on the basis of entrance exam which they will be selected for the BA, MA and M. Phil courses in the desired language.

There are some popular languages, nowadays, applicants can mostly pick up, for that you have to take entrance exams such as

  • For French, a language proficiency test organised by Alliance Françoise such as TEF (short for Test of Evaluation of French) awarded by the CCIP (Chambre de Commerce et d`Industrie de Paris), TCF (short for Test de Connaissance du Français) and TEF (short for Test d'Evaluation du Français). DELF /DALF tests and diploma delivered by the French Ministry of Education.
  • For German, Max Mueller Bhawan organises classes to teach German as does Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan, New Delhi.

Types of Job Roles Translator

After obtaining the necessary skills and training, translators may be fit in different roles and positions that match their skills. Translators are required for diverse jobs. The different roles that translators can take up are listed below.

Health or Medical Translators and Interpreters: They usually work in health care settings and help patients communicate with doctors, nurses, technicians, and other medical employees. Translators must have knowledge of medical terminology in both languages.

Legal or Judicial Translators and Interpreters: They usually work in courts and other legal settings. In hearings, recording statements, depositions, and trials, they assist those people who have limited English proficiency. They must have a strong understanding of legal terminology.

Literary Translators: They are responsible for converting the books, poetry, short stories and journal articles from one language into the desired language. Whenever possible, literary translators work together with the intention of original publication, as well as authors to capture literary and cultural features.

Sign Language Translators/ Interpreters: They facilitate communication among those who are deaf or hard of hearing and people who can hear.

Conference Interpreters/ Translators: They work at conferences that have non-English-speaking audience. They usually work in international business conferences or diplomacy, for example, they translate Spanish language to French and then into English etc.

Employment Opportunities for Translators

Translators have a good scope to get employment opportunities in the government and private sector. Many indulge in freelancing also. After attaining required skills and qualification, one can get employment in the following organisations. The list of employment opportunities for different areas given below, which can be opted by the candidates, include:

  • Software Developing Companies
  • Newspapers and Magazines
  • Technical, Scientific Literary or Business
  • Educational Services:- State, Local, and Private
  • Hospitals:- State, Local, and Private
  • Travel and Tourism sector
  • Hotel Industry
  • Exhibitions and Fairs
  • Airline Offices
  • Export Agencies
  • Radio Stations
  • Trade Organisations
  • Publishing Houses
  • Research Organisations
  • Courtrooms
  • International Organisations
  • Embassies
  • Teaching

Top Recruiting Companies /Organisations for Translators

Many companies/organisations like the ones listed below are employing language experts:

  • Oracle
  • LG
  • Samsung
  • GE
  • Hyundai
  • HP
  • Aventis
  • Moulinex
  • Thomson
  • UNO
  • FAO
  • Reserve Bank of India
  • Publishing Houses

Planning to choose Translator as your career?

Pay Scale/Salary of Translator

Translators can expect to get anything between Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000 as far as a starting salary is concerned. After receiving some on the job experience, one can earn as good as Rs. 25,000 per month and more. If someone goes for his own business, then he can get anywhere near Rs. 50,000 per assignment. Although it depends upon the assignment and the importance of it for which it has been taken up.

  • Professors may get Rs. 18000 per month
  • Lecturers Rs. 10000 – Rs. 13000 per month
  • Translator salary is Rs. 50 – Rs. 100 by the page
  • Interpreters salary is Rs. 300 – Rs. 500 by the hour
  • Embassy workers can expect Rs. 8000 – Rs. 10000 per month

Books & Study Material to Become Translator

Here's a list of some of the top books to increase your skills and knowledge in the translator field:

  • How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator by Corinne McKay
  • The Entrepreneurial Linguist by Judy and Dagmar Jenner
  • Is That a Fish in Your Ear? by David Bellos
  • Translation as a Profession by Roger Chriss
  • The Translator’s Handbook by Morry Sofer
  • Mox’s Illustrated Guide to Freelance Translation

Apart from the books mentioned above, there are several common books for a translator.


Pros of becoming a Translator

  • This job is quite exciting, it has its own set of advantages such as value for money, different payment in different cases, etc.
  • The translator get an instant promotion instead of any other post.
  • Larger opportunity to communicate with a variety of people.
  • By becoming a translator, you are keeping yourself a step ahead of everyone else in getting to know something different and new.

Cons of becoming a Translator

  • Self-employed translators often have variable work schedules, which may include periods of limited work and periods of long, irregular hours.
  • Expect to face tight deadlines.
  • It may happen that your work can make you feel lonely.
  • Translator jobs can be stressful in real-time because you have to keep up with the speaker

Paths for Being Translator

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