There are so many good reasons to learn a foreign language in India. The demand for the language experts have accelerated at an unprecedented spurt in India. Language skills open up a wide range of specialist career path including translator and interpreter as a career options thanks to ever-growing job opportunities in India and abroad.
While there are numerous benefits of learning a second language but of all the people I’ve surveyed, met, taught and listened to over thirteen years, career options in foreign languages is the single most important factor in learning a new foreign language.
Ability to speak a foreign language increases your employment opportunities and enriches your working experience across the world. Gone are the days of relying on ones’ native language in communicating with people, especially in business dealings.
The innovative advent of modern technology has made the world a global village, and now, more than ever, the language barrier has to be broken. Foreign languages provide a competitive edge in career choices.
Translator Vs Interpreter – The key difference
Interpreting and translating are two DIFFERENT things in the entire sense.
Interpreters and translators convert information from one language (source) into another language (target). Although some people do both, interpreting and translating are different professions: interpreters work with spoken communication whereas translators work with written communication.
Translation has to do with the written words — that is, changing of written texts. Interpretation is concerned with the spoken words — knowing what someone is saying in his/her own language and telling it to another in another language that is entirely different from the language of the original speaker. That is what is called interpretation, which is more difficult than translation.
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Career scope and Job opportunities as a Translator
As a translator, you will convert the written text from one language into the target language by writing, analyzing, and editing. With experience, learning, and specialization, Skilled translators always find their services in high demand and they are paid quite well.
Due to language complexity, Machine Translation can and will never replace human translators. In different languages, there are words with dual meanings and also what works in one language does not necessarily work in another.
Machine can’t relate words to context. The translation is something when quality matters more than anything. Human translators and interpreters are much more reliable and effective, and the ‘personal’ aspect will always beat technology.
While one can become a translator in 3-4 years. However to become successful and specialist in various fields like Financial, Legal, Medical, Technical and Literary, it will take several years.
Those students who are more interested in Literature can undertake translations of literary works from foreign languages. There is also a growing market for the translation of self-help, science, literature and management books. There are also jobs in the publishing industry.
Many companies require translators for their business communication, live events, meetings and conferences, or for documentation in their important work. There are also many translation service provider which employ people having good knowledge of a foreign language. Due to high monetary benefits, rising scope, and flexible working hours, the translator is one of the most sought after career option in the field of languages.
Career Options as an Interpreter
As an Interpreter, you ‘ll need to have a good understanding of what is communicated and be able to make clear and accurate verbal articulations/expressions. In addition, manners, gestures and etiquette also play an important role.
The job of an interpreter can be of varied types. They are engaged in real-time interpretation, which is used for meetings, video-conferencing, teleconferencing, speeches etc. In addition, there is liaison interpreting or consecutive interpreting. In this situation, when a speaker after conveying his/her message stops for a while and then the interpreter interprets the spoken speech to the audience in the corresponding language.
In order to become successful Interpreter, one needs to be fluent speakers or signers of both the languages, because they communicate back and forth among the people who do not share a common language.
Thanks to the new technology like video-conferencing and teleconferencing, it is now possible to hold meetings and conferences between employees from India and their counterparts in other countries without having to actually travel between the two countries.
There are so many opportunities for interpreters in India these days, and thanks to the increasing entry of foreign firms and large-scale projects outsourcing to Indian companies by their European, Asian and American counterparts.
Acting as an interpreter can be very lucrative, depending on how experienced you are. You can also work for Media houses, Tourist centres, sports clubs or any international firm, export house and so on. The career prospect is just endless.
Proofreading, Editor and Content writer as a Career
Proofreading is the review of one language for accuracy, spelling, grammar & style, as well as making sure that nothing is misspelt, omitted, or incorrectly inserted into your document. Many companies use in-house or hire proofreader in order to produce error-free documents.
There are also career opportunities for an editor. They rewrite sentences and paragraphs with the intent to improve the flow, style and overall quality of your writing.
The writer never goes out of style. The content writers have always been in demand from small companies to big MNC. However, with the advent of the internet and technology, the demand for excellent writers have increased manifold. If you’re proficient in any language and a creative thinker that can write well, the job opportunities are immense.
How to become a translator and interpreter?
With your knowledge of a foreign language, you can work as a translator and interpreter for a company or any agency / consultant or as an independent freelancer. To do this successfully, you need three vital skills which include’
A) Extreme high language ability
To be a successful professional translator or interpreter, you need near-native proficiency in both the language (Source as well as the target language). The job, therefore, requires a high level of language competence in at least two languages (native or CEFR level C1 and above or an equivalent level in comparable reference systems).
B) Academic background or experience in the field you intend to translate.
There is this incorrect assumption that a translator had to translate everything. But that isn’t the case. Translators are very specific, and you only need to concern yourself with one or a few areas of expertise (e.g. tourism, law, health, technology, and more).
Usually, there are no employers on-the-job training. Thus, you will need to know how to translate or interpret before you can begin working. Experience is the prerequisite for most of the jobs.
Language reflects culture & customs and is influenced and shaped by it. The professional language experts must also use the knowledge of the two cultures. Translation and interpreting without deep cultural context will be flawed, inaccurate and dangerous.
C) Possessing great writing and translating skill (into your native language).
You must also possess superior and a flare of writing, editing, vocabulary, and grammar skills in the target language. The translator and interpreter need an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the language they are translating so as not to miss any implicit meanings inherent to the language. There is no room for mediocrity, shoddiness and insincerity.
It is important to note that translator skills are way different from basic language skill. Someone can be wonderfully fluent in particular language skill but still become a useless and incompetent translator.
And if you are going to be an independent translator and interpreter, you have to be skilled in marketing and general business practice, since the freelance market is a highly competitive one. Good contacts are an added advantage!
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Salary, Paycheck and Wages
Working conditions and pay are generally very good, which can rise significantly with experience and specialization. Self-employed interpreters usually charge per hour or half-day or full-day rates. If your language combination and specialization is in high demand and people know about you, then earning 2000 to 3000 per hour is not a stretch.
For a full-time translator, Salaries could range from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 1 lakh a month. You can also work as a freelance and one can earn Rs. 2,000-4,000 a day in translation work. Long Stretches of no work as a Freelance is also very common and one of the pitfall and disadvantage as a freelancer.
The demand for foreign language jobs in India as a translator and interpreter are always high. If you have the experience, referral and a solid résumé in the in-demand languages or where competition is very less like Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Turkish, etc, you will be paid much more than an average interpreter and translator.
Since French and Spanish are the two most spoken foreign languages. Thus, the demand for French or Spanish translator and interpreter is high. There is also a large market potential for German, Italian, Portuguese, Persian, Bahasa, etc. Choosing which foreign language to learn is of immense importance.
Translator Jobs can be regular full time or part-time freelancer. The 21st century has opened up a vast scope for people pursuing translator and interpreter as a career option.