Becoming a professional translator can take some time, especially if you aren’t sure where to start your career. Deciding where to apply for translation positions can be a big decision, and it’s easy to second-guess yourself when you start looking for openings.
This indecision can be dangerous, as the stress of choosing the right places to apply can result in you talking yourself out of positions that might be perfect for you.
Fortunately, it’s not that hard to narrow down the best places to apply for translation positions. While actually landing a specific job will depend on the languages you speak, your existing work experience, and any other skills that you might bring with you to the position, the following list should help when you’re trying to decide whether a potential translation position is worth your time.
Existing Translation Language Service Providers
The most obvious place to apply for a translation position is with an existing translation language service provider (LSP) that provides translation services to a wide range of clients. Different services often have different specialties, so you may want to look at the available options, particularly if you are interested in specializing in areas such as legal translation or medical interpreting. Applying for a position with a translation LSP will usual require translation tests as well as a CV/résumé for review. The competition also may be stiff – LSPs often have many applicants. However, securing a position at one of these firms and demonstrating high-quality work can result in a steady stream of projects over time.
Large companies that have international operations often require translators to ensure that their correspondence, product documentation, and other important documents are properly localized for all of the countries the company does business in. These companies may specifically advertise their translation positions, but they may also be mixed in with other positions on the company’s recruiting website. When looking for corporate positions, it’s important to be sure that the company you’re scoping out does business in regions that use the languages you are fluent in.
Lawyers and legal departments for multinational companies often require translators for their correspondence, contract translation, and other legal documents when the parties involved speak different languages. Legal documentation often contains a significant amount of jargon, and with so much at stake in legal matters, accuracy is critical. Confidentiality is also a must for legal translators, so you may be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or other confidentiality contract. Interpreting is also often needed in the legal field, particularly in court, with court interpreters usually requiring certification. If this area of specialization is of interest to you, then in-house legal translation and interpreting can be a solid first step.
Media Localization Services
When foreign films, television shows, and other media content is presented to English-speaking audiences, the spoken language needs to be translated so that the new audience can understand it. This often requires translators to create captions or dubbing scripts so that English-friendly versions can be prepared. These positions are often highly sought-after and usually harder to find and apply for than other translation jobs. But if landed, these positions can provide extremely interesting work that you wouldn’t be able to find through most standard translation services.