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A translator, for those of you who aren’t quite sure, is someone who is employed to convert written information or text from one language into another. A translator, is not to be confused with an interpreter, who translates verbally from one language to another. Translators provide a wide range of services therefore they could find employment in many sectors, translating pieces for newspapers, law firms, government administration, recruitment agencies and much more.

There are a few key requirements to become a great translator.

Firstly, you must be fluent in at least two languages, with the ability to demonstrate an excellent level of written fluency in both languages. Normally, one of those languages will be your native tongue. A translator would usually translate from the language that they have acquired fluency in, into the language of their mother tongue. The more languages a translator is fluent in, the greater the employment opportunities. Those whose mother tongue is English are generally required to hold fluency in two additional languages in order to hold a competitive stance in the field of translation.

With regards to education, a translator would hold third level qualifications, to the equivalent of a degree or higher, which includes study of their languages of fluency. Atranslator will also have knowledge of a specialist area such as law, business, medical or technology knowledge. This will allow them to translate text more easily and accuratelyas they have a greater understanding and knowledge regarding the topic of the written piece. Where the context of a piece may not be clear, a translator with educated knowledge of the specialised topic that the piece is written about, will be able to make an educated decision as to the most likely translation. Many translators will have studied Arts, Business, Law or Science related degrees which offer the option to study electives in their languages of fluency alongside their other subjects.

A translator will be able to understand any colloquial languages, cultures, practices and attitudes within the countries where their language of fluency is spoken. They will be familiar with different dialects from different areas of the country. In order to do so, they should have spent time living in the country, using the language everyday and experiencing the culture, to be able to fully grasp the language. They should be able to translate written content using computer assisted translation software and other tools. However, a translator should also be able to rely on the strength of their fluency and knowledge to be able to translate written information unaided by electronic tools too.

Translators are often required to work alone, under pressure and with tight deadlines to meet. To be a translator, one should therefore exert an excellent state of self discipline and possess the ability to work on their own initiative. Naturally, they will have to have a good memory and a good level of concentration as there is no room for complacency in translation.

Languages are consistently evolving but a great translator will ensure to continue their learning and study of a language right throughout their career.