GTE Localize

An Ultimate Guide to Start a Career as a Translator

Posted by Anne Q. on December 08, 2021.

A career in translation would provide numerous opportunities and be extremely rewarding for someone who is fascinated by different languages and cultures. Discover the advantages of a career in translation, as well as the steps to becoming a translator in our today’s post.

What are The Perks of Being a Translator?

Constant hard work and training, along with passion and dedication are some of the requirements of a translator. Although this line of work is challenging, it brings you numerous benefits. Let’s check out some of the most attractive perks of being a professional translator:

#1. It’s a flexible job

Being a translator offers excellent opportunities for those who want to work independently and flexibly. You can provide your language services to clients from anywhere via online platforms or phones (if you are an interpreter). You can work from the comfort of your own home or take in some jobs while travelling around. You can also be in full control of the amount of work you handle.

Workng from Home


#2. It gives you a multicultural experience 

Becoming a translator puts you in contact with people from all over the world, allowing you to learn about different ways of life, try new foods, gain an understanding of the distinctiveness of a region and its dialect, and experience cultural nuances that people who simply travel to other countries do not always get.

Being a translator gives you a multicultural experience 


#3. You learn something new every day

Speaking fluently languages does not make you a good translator. Translators must constantly update their knowledge of the language, culture, and society of the region being represented. You can learn such knowledge from the Internet, books, or from the documents that need translating. That means you broaden your horizon on a regular basis, whether it’s an interesting fact about a culture, a new way of using a word, or a new event.


#4. You can enjoy a good income

The job pays well whether you work for large cooperation, a translation agency, or as a freelancer. In fact, in the United States, the average hourly wage for a translator is $28.90 (as of December 2021) while the figure for annual income is $60,118 /year.

Annual Income of Translators in the U.S.

Data source: ziprecruiter

And the demands for qualified translators are constantly increasing. As the world becomes more of a global village, more and more companies are striking deals or forming alliances with other foreign companies in order to expand the market for their products. Translators play a critical role in the success of their expansion strategy. Thus, there are a lot of potentials for you in this industry.


Which Steps Do You Need to Take to Become a Translator?

Below are our recommended steps that you should follow in order to become a qualified translator.

#1. Choose your expertise

The very first step in pursuing a career as a translator is determining which language pairs are you capable of offering your clients. You will need to speak fluently at least two languages, have good language demands and a deep understanding of the two cultures to be able to translate words precisely. Without the highest fluency, mistakes will be made, harming not only the translator’s future job prospects but also the reputation of your future clients.


Next, you need to make a decision on which industry you should put your focus on. You simply cannot work on all types of content. A great translator will be a subject matter expert in a specific field.  A client needing to translate a medical brochure, for example, will want to work with a translator who is familiar with medical terminology and local regulations for the field.


#2. Gain related education and certifications

Many translators obtain a bachelor degree in language or translation from college. This gives them solid knowledge of both language and culture, as well as learn new practices to work effectively as a translator in the future. However, if you hope into the language industry from another field, you can still be a great translator. What you need is to take related courses to have proper knowledge for the jobs. You can check out the lists of accredited translation schools from the American Translators Association (ATA) and ALTA Language Services.

It is also recommended that you have certifications to prove your knowledge for the field you specialize in. For example, if you are planning to work as a financial translator, pursuing a university course or enrolling in an online class and getting certified are needed.


#3. Learn to use supported tools

Technology has evolved into a necessary component of the translation industry. Translators should use tools to improve translation flow and accuracy rather than being threatened by the rapid development of machine translation and other advanced technology.

You can enhance your work efficiency by using translation tools such as CAT Tools, QA tools, OCR tools. Being able to use these supporting tools is an important requirement for any translator nowadays.

Popular Translation Tools (1)

#5. Get Some Real Experience

It goes without saying that the more real-world translation experience you have, the more likely you are to get more translation jobs (and higher pay too). It is normal to have difficulty finding paid work at the first stage of your career. This is because clients are unlikely to entrust their projects to translators with no or little experience.

You can try doing some free translation projects for organizations like Translators Without Borders or small local events. The main goal is to help you gain work experience while building your portfolio. Don’t forget to ask for testimonials from your clients after each project to attest to your abilities.


#6. Expand Your Client Network

There are numerous ways for you to increase your network or base of clients. You can find new jobs through popular job search websites such as Lensa and Glassdoor, social media groups, or by building your own website. Check out platforms to find more translation jobs and expand your network of clients.

In many situations, new clients are referred to you by your previous satisfied clients. So the tip here is to always strive to give all your clients the highest translations and support services.


Wrap Up

We feel the need to emphasise that the journey to becoming a translator differs from person to person. One or two steps we mentioned above might be successfully applied by others but ineffective to you. Be patient and find the best path for your pursuit of this career.

Do you want to become a translator for a professional translation agency? Join GTE Localize’s talented translator team. 

Become our translator

GTE Localize provides translation and localization for all major languages in the world. Working with us, you will have many opportunities to work with important clients from all over the world. Send your CV to to apply now.