A translator is a popular profession, provoking interest not only among students but also among those who want to get an additional qualification. It is always in demand and gives ample opportunities for self-realization and development; so for many, the question is how to get a foot in the door.
They Can Be Different
It should be borne in mind that the discussed profession involves several specializations. "Universals" also occur, but most often the focus is on one of the types of work.
A separate specialization is a work with oral speech. It can be either simultaneous or consecutive. In the first case, it is necessary to transmit a message from one language to another virtually in parallel with the speaker. This may be necessary at international meetings, conferences, sporting events, etc.
A written variant involves working with various texts – literary pieces of work, scientific articles, instructions for goods, etc. Features of the profession of this type depend on the subject matter of the texts. For example, you can specialize in medicine, jurisprudence, or even technical literature.
This separation does not mean that the simultaneous translator cannot work with the written text and vice versa. But specialization presupposes a number of special skills that make work more efficient and qualitative.
What Does One Need?
There are several universal skills that you will need, no matter what specialization you choose:
- Vocabulary - knowledge of vocabulary and phraseological combinations;
- Grasp of grammatical constructions;
- Ability to quickly cope with difficulties - choose the right meaning of multi-valued words, select exact analogs in the target language, avoid "false friends" of the translator, etc. If the level of a language is already high, to improve further, you need to know what kind of a translator you plan to become.
- Good command of your own language or any other language to which the translation is made;
- Ability to clearly formulate thoughts in the target language, create structured and understandable texts;
- The ability to feel and convey the style of the original, to find successful semantic correspondences.
- Ability to perceive a foreign speech by ear, including various accents;
- Ability to quickly understand the basic meaning of what has been said;
- Good short-term memory (for simultaneous interpretation).
- Knowledge of the terms that are used in the chosen field (for example, the names of medicines or equipment);
- Knowledge of the established variants of translation in both languages;
- Ability to get one’s bearings well in the chosen topic.
How to Start Training?
To become a specialist in the discussed field, you need to master a lot of skills and get a wide range of knowledge. However, in any case, you need to start with determining your own level of a certain language. This will make it clear which training course is better to choose.
At the first stage, you need to work on your general skills. Regardless of what kind of a translator you want to become, you need to learn lexicon and grammar well, get communication skills.
To achieve good results, you need to make training regular and systematic. You can select training materials by yourself, but it will not be easy to monitor your results without assistance. To make the classes more simple, effective and multi-dimensional, you can find a language school or a tutor.
Learning a language should be practice oriented – after all, a future specialist needs practical skills. In addition, interesting classes, after which the result is visible, will help to maintain motivation during training.
In parallel with the study of general language skills, one can consider the pros and cons of different specializations in the discussed field. Having determined the direction, it is useful to intensively hone specialized skills. For example, working on the stylistics of written translations or learning to understand different accents by ear.
Possible Advantages and Disadvantages
A translator is a great way to be needed. Even the most advanced computer technology cannot provide at least some decent methods of machine translation. And many argue that in the near future such algorithms will not be developed, because languages are a very nice thing, and translating words alone is not enough to build a competent sentence. So, crises and unemployment do not threaten translators.
As we have already mentioned there are different types of translators. A written translation is regarded the simplest one. And this generates an unfair attitude to the specialists of this direction in many respects; their work is considered something machine, automatic, and unworthy of high pay. The fight against such an attitude is the first minus of the profession. However, having acquired a decent reputation and good regular customers, translators begin to feel better, but the start in the profession is traditionally hard in financial terms.
Interpretation is a different thing. The start in this business is traditionally even more difficult, there are not so many job offers, and it is very problematic to get a job without experience. But then you can show yourself to the best advantage. The oral translation seems to all to be the high class, and therefore, they pay well for it. However, the oral translation is really the highest class, so it will take a lot of work and practice before you can do it.
Simultaneous interpretation is considered to be tour de force. It requires maximum mental effort and is also associated with a very stressful pace of work. Although such an interpreter works tops three or four hours a day, or even less, nervous tension of synchronists is always in the "leaderboard" for the prevalence of nervous breakdowns and nervous diseases among other occupations.
And these are not the only diseases that threaten translators. There are frequent spine diseases, obesity, hypertension, and all the other delights of a person's way of life sitting at the computer all day long. And the need to constantly work with the text also leads to eyesight problems. But these problems are solved by properly organizing the workplace and working space. However, only steel nerves can protect a synchronist from the nervous breakdowns.
On the other hand, today it is very profitable to sell the skills of a foreign language command in other professions. Lawyers with knowledge of a widespread language are very much appreciated by foreign companies, who are always ready to pay a high price for such a person.
Journalists who write in two or three languages are also valuable, they find work much easier, working for foreign resources, sometimes even becoming special correspondents in other countries for some foreign magazine.
Needless to say, the salary is good, and the work itself is very prestigious. And in many other professions, an excellent knowledge of foreign languages can open up to you many wonderful opportunities for self-realization.