Different Types of Translator Jobs (And How to Become One)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 26 January 2023

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Increasing globalisation and the increasing presence of businesses across nations has led to rising demand for translators and interpreters. Job opportunities for translators have gone up significantly over the last decade. Learning more about different translator jobs can help you evaluate these career options and decide if you want to pursue them. In this article, we explore the different types of translator jobs, discuss the different specialisations in the profession and find out how to become one.

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What Are The Different Types Of Translator Jobs?

As the number of translator jobs has increased, many professionals proficient in foreign languages pursue careers in translation as freelance translators. If you are contemplating switching to a full-time translation career or want to take up a translation job on a part-time basis, it is important to know the different types of employment opportunities for translators. Here are some different types of translation jobs available:

1. Translator

National average salary: ₹17,303 per month

Primary duties: A translator converts the written word or speech from one language to another. They convert different types of materials based on the industry they work in. Often, they even translate movie dialogues into different languages which are then used as subtitles. An important part of their job is making sure that they retain the original meaning conveyed.

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2. Interpreter

National average salary: ₹6,61,458 per year

Primary duties: Interpreters help in converting oral communication from one language to another. They act as translation mediums when there is a language barrier. Most commonly, companies hire interpreters to accompany foreign clients and interact with visitors to facilitate communication. Often people use the terms interpreter and translator synonymously. But, it is important to understand that a translator converts any given material to another language in writing in all forms, whereas an interpreter deals only with oral communication.

3. Translation editor

National average salary: ₹18,524 per month

Primary duties: The role of a translation editor is to check the quality of work done by a translator. They help identify errors with the translation and make corrections or coordinate with the translators to get the necessary edits done. Along with grammar and spelling, an editor also checks to see if the translator has preserved the original meaning of a text. An editor's role is commonly present in translation projects where a large team of translators works on the same project.

4. Translation project manager

National average salary: ₹33,568 per month

Primary duties: In the translation industry, clients may assign translation projects that have detailed technical specifications. This is where project managers are essential in ensuring that the quality of the translation work, budgets, timelines and translation guidelines are being adhered to. Project managers act as the point of contact between the client and the team of translators and editors.

5. Freelance translator

National average salary: ₹ 15,008 per month

Primary duties: While the job responsibilities of a freelance translator are quite similar to that of a full-time translator, the major difference is that they are generally employed contractually or on a per-project basis. They find work independently with clients and may or may not be a part of a big team. Some people may choose to work as a freelance translator alongside another regular job and others may choose to work as a freelancer full-time.

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Different Types Of Translation

Now that you know the different types of translator jobs available, it is also important to know about different specialisations. Translators who have expertise in a particular industry tend to get a higher preference. The different types of translator jobs based on industries are:

  • Medical translation: This entails translating different types of medical information like medical documents, physician manuals, test reports, patient information leaflets, patient applications, etc.

  • Legal translation: Also known as judicial translation, this is the translation of legal documents like contracts, lease agreements, resolutions, orders, minutes of meetings, judgements, registration certificates and other documents.

  • Diplomatic translation: The government has several employment opportunities for translators and interpreters in the foreign and diplomatic departments. These jobs usually require specialised skills and clearing certain government examinations.

  • Software localisation: It is the process of translating software to fit a particular language and culture. Organisations do it when they want to make their software available in a country where people speak a different language.

  • Website translation: Website translation is very common these days as organisations want to cater to their globalised audiences in their local language. Translators translate every element of a website from the language of the home country to the target language.

  • Literary translation: This comprises the translation of literary books, poetry, songs, rhymes, novels and articles. These materials are mostly artistic in nature and often need an understanding of different cultures to ensure that the essence of the material is retained.

  • Technical translation: This entails the translation of scientific and technical materials. Some types of materials that technical translation includes are scientific journals, user manuals and patent translation. Sometimes, software localisation comes under technical translation.

While there are several other types of translations, these are the most important and common ones. Each of these types of translations, except literary translation, requires a high level of subject knowledge since there are specific terminologies that may be used.

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How To Become A Translator?

You can become a translator in three to four years. Here are some steps that you can follow:

1. Pick a language

The first step of the translation process is to choose a language you want to master. Some languages may be less popular than others, and they may offer fewer job opportunities. So, the first step to becoming a translator is to identify a language that has good earning potential and many opportunities. Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, Russian and German are currently high in demand right now.

2. Get a formal education

To become a translator, a genuine interest in the language can help you become adept at it. Even if you are proficient in the language you choose, having a formal certificate from a reputed language institute can give you an edge over other candidates. You can choose a three-year graduate program, a diploma course in translation or a certificate course. The minimum education qualification to pursue a language course is senior secondary (10+2). Make sure you choose a university that is renowned for its language courses and degrees.

3. Choose your specialisation

Once you have mastered the language of your choice, the next step is to choose an area that interests you, such as medical translation, technical translation, legal or literary translation. This specialisation helps in learning the terminologies and common guidelines associated with the industry. Evaluate to see which industry has the highest number of opportunities in your language and offers a high salary.

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4. Create your resume and gain relevant experience

Create an impressive resume listing your skills and accomplishment to apply for relevant employment opportunities. Depending on your goal, you can target freelance, part-time or full-time opportunities. Be sure to customise your job application for each job opening. You can also look for suitable internships and fellowships with government agencies to start your translation career.

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Translator Jobs FAQs

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about translator jobs:

What are the employment opportunities for translators?

As more multinational companies are setting up their companies in international markets, the scope for translators in the country is vast. Organisations are hiring translators for full-time positions also hire freelancers. Similarly, the government has many lucrative job opportunities for translators in its embassies and diplomatic missions.

How to improve your skills as a translator?

Once you are a certified translator, it is important to keep upgrading your skills so that you can get better opportunities in the future. Here is how to do that:

  1. Practice daily. Practice your written skills in your language of specialisation daily, as writing is an important component of your job as a translator.

  2. Speak often. Try speaking the language at every opportunity you get. Talk to other translators and ask them to correct any mistakes that you may commit.

  3. Talk to native speakers. Find online forums where you can speak with native speakers and seek their help.

  4. Read in the target language. Read books and watch movies in the chosen language to improve your understanding. Reading helps in understanding sentence structures and improves word choice.

  5. Keep learning. Whether you are a medical, legal or judicial translator, keep learning the right terminologies in the field so that translation becomes easy with time.

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Where can you find translator jobs?

Finding a translator job is relatively easy as most job opportunities are available online. You can look for vacancies for translators listed on job boards. There are also several dedicated websites for translators that offer assured work by matching users with employers. Alternatively, if you want to become a freelance translator, there are many freelance job websites and freelance translator websites where you can access international projects in different languages. It might take some time initially to attain some stability, but once you start working, finding employment opportunities becomes easier.

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Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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