Has the coronavirus crisis turned your working life upside down? If so – and if you speak a second language – it could be time to take a serious look at the career potential that online translation and interpretation services hold.
What are translation and interpretation services?
Translation and interpretation services deal with the conversion of one language to another. Translation services focus mainly on written language (or video or audio content). What are interpreting services? Interpretation services relate to the conversion of spoken language.
If you have a talent for languages and are exploring translation and interpretation as a career, it’s time to lay out a strategy. There are various ways to access jobs in the language services industry quickly, as well as to promote your services and hone your skills. Let’s take a look at how to get started.
Establishing a career in the translation industry
If you want to provide language services for a living, you’ll need to track down some clients. There are numerous ways to do this. One of the quickest and easiest is to register with an agency. These companies serve a multitude of clients, often based all over the world, by connecting them with the professional linguists that they need. By registering with an agency and passing their entry requirements, you can become one of those linguists.
Online freelancing sites are another good option for those looking for rapid access to language-based jobs. You’ll need to set up a profile, decide your rates, and create some attention-grabbing applications for suitable jobs. It can take a little time to become established, but once you’ve got some positive feedback under your belt you can quickly broaden your client base.
You can also seek out your own translation clients. From setting up your own website to utilizing your existing professional networks and even cold-calling local businesses, you can use a range of marketing techniques in order to build up your client list. Going down this route can sometimes take a little longer, but you won’t end up having to give an agency or a freelancing site a proportion of your earnings, meaning that this is an option that many translators and interpreters make use of.
Which language services are in demand during the crisis?
Demand for particular types of translation waxes and wanes over time, so it’s important to tap into what’s most sought after right now – and scan the horizon to see what’s coming next.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, there’s plenty of demand from businesses for over the phone interpretation, as well as for medical translation in a wide range of languages. You can click here for further details. Linguists who are able to meet these needs are well-positioned to enjoy a steady stream of work.
Obviously, your previous career experience will have an impact on the kind of services that you can offer. If you have medical or legal experience, then the specialist translation in these fields can make for a lucrative career. Those from marketing backgrounds or who have in-depth technical knowledge also have plenty to offer i.
What are the different types of interpretation? Just as there are numerous sorts of translation, there are also different kinds of interpretations. Simultaneous interpretation is one of the most commonly requested. This is where the interpreter delivers a speaker’s words in real-time, for example during a conference. Consecutive interpretation, on the other hand, is when speakers take it in turns to converse, with an interpreter translating every sentence or two in order to facilitate the conversation.
There are several other kinds of interpretation services, from whispered interpreting to liaison interpreting, so you’ll need to be clear which of these services you offer when establishing your new career.
Do translators make good money?
The translation industry brings plenty of scope for making money, with annual enterprise spending on translation services anticipated to hit US$45 billion during 2023. But what can an individual translator earn?
Payscale reports that the average translator in the UK earns £23,101 with a £612 bonus. Generally, translator salaries range from £18,000 to £39,000. Those with specialist skills, such as medical translation, and plenty of experience tend to be closer to the upper end of the scale.
Other factors can also affect your rate of pay. Which languages do you speak? If they’re commonly spoken languages that mean you’ll have plenty of competition as a translator, you’ll likely command a lower rate of pay than someone who speaks a sought-after language with less competition.
The speed at which you can translate also comes into play here. Translation jobs usually pay based on the number of words you translate. As such, the faster you can translate, the more income-generating words you can fit into your working day. This is, of course, provided you can deliver accurate work at speed. Working fast only equates to success when you also work well!
Putting in the hours can also make a difference here, as the more hours you work, the more earning potential you have.
Interpreters, meanwhile, can also command a decent salary. Payscale reports an average interpreter income of £23,965 per year, with a £625 bonus. Salaries typically fall within a range of £15,000 to £34,000.
If you’re looking to hit the upper end of these salary brackets, it’s important to ensure that your language skills are the best they can possibly be. That means embracing the concept of continuous learning and immersing yourself in the languages that you translate as often as possible.
The internet can be a hugely helpful resource in this respect. From digital magazines to music and TV shows in different languages, you can easily lose yourself in the sound of native speakers as part of polishing your skills. Do so regularly to keep your language abilities tip-top.
If you’re serious about using your language skills as a new career to help see you through the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s time to get started. You can do so with minimal expenditure, though you will need a decent laptop. This makes the provision of language services an excellent career choice for those who need to find work quickly and with little to no initial outlay.