With the world becoming increasingly global and people from all backgrounds and nationalities becoming more connected than ever before, there arises the problem of communication- how do people from all these different places talk to each other? As long as language barriers exist, there is a need for translation. Because how else can an individual understand and/or get their point across to someone who does not speak the same language? With the need for translation comes the need for translators. And in today’s global world, these translators can often be remote.
As per Upwork’s survey, 22% of the American workforce will be working remotely by 2025- and it can be safe to assume that a lot of these remote jobs can include translation roles in our increasingly global world. A remote translator is responsible for converting content from one language to another. The information can be written or spoken. Hence, remote translators work with both written texts and audio files- which can be prerecorded or live spoken language. As a remote translator, the responsibilities of the role may vary with clients. You can be expected to translate contracts, books, articles, videos, live meetings, or events.
So, if you want to cash in on the opportunity of filling the communication gap between two parties, here is a complete guide on how to get a remote job as a translator.
What are the language requirements?
To be a translator, it is a prerequisite to be fluent in at least two languages. This implies that you can speak, read, and write with fluency in both the languages you are working back and forth with because the people needing you to do the translation cannot- which is why they need you in the first place.
On a job-to-job basis, employers may require a bachelor’s degree or a certification in the language you wish to work in. For example, IELTS scores may be asked for when applying as an English translator. However, that is not always mandatory and differs from one employer to another. The basic requirement is usually just proving your fluency in the language. For instance, instead of IELTS, you can simply share your O’Levels English Language grade to establish that you have command over the language.
What are the experience requirements?
Some translator roles may require a bachelor’s degree but the basic requirement entails proving your fluency in the languages to the employer.
For technical roles, however, an understanding of the area of study is important. When translating court sessions, for instance, it is important to have an understanding of the law jargon without which a layman with fluency in the language cannot prove to be a good enough translator.
Relying on your language fluency and communication skills, you work from home to interpret documents and translate them as accurately as possible. Some remote translators work over the phone or through video chat systems to provide translation services in real-time, such as when working for court systems or in the medical industry.
When working remotely, you need a computer that is able to handle audio files and documents. Leaning on your language fluency and communication skills, you interpret documents as well as audio and translate them to the best of your abilities in a way that no information is lost in translation. All of this is done from the comfort of your home. Hence while you are already equipped with the hard skills for the job, it is important to have the hardware and software required. Hence, proper audio and visuals with a stable network connection on the computer are essential to do the job.
Which languages are most popular for translators?
According to international translating service provider Clear Words Translations the following languages are the most popular with the highest demand for translators;
2. Simplified Chinese
5. Portuguese (Brazilian)
6. Indonesian (Malay)
So, if you have a working computer and are fluent in any of the two languages listed above, finding a remote translator job could be a potential path.
Along with language fluency and basic computer proficiency, strong listening skills and attention to detail are crucial. These coupled with effective communication skills should make you equipped for a remote translating job- more so if you have technical skills in a field and are able to translate industry-specific material.
How to get starter experience
To get starter experience and get exposure to what translating jobs would be like, it is a good idea to start with freelancing. Making an Upwork profile can give you great leads on freelance translating opportunities. As a beginner, those should be easy low-risk assignments and not tasks with technicalities for example sales emails and financial reports. Beginner translations should include assignments like market research responses and personal emails that do not put a business or individual’s reputation at risk.
ProZ.com is also an excellent online translating jobs portal. While it does not have premium clients, it’s a great place to start gaining experience as an online translator.
Building a LinkedIn profile as a translator and connecting with different professionals in the field can also provide a roadmap to gaining starter experience.
You can also join your local translating associations to join a community of people walking the same path as yours.
The key is to take initiative- once you start your hunt, you can easily find plenty of remote translating jobs if you have the required skill set.
Translation jobs are becoming increasingly popular and with remote opportunities available, they can serve as a great job for any proficient bilingual. Starting off as a remote translator is fairly easy with online platforms readily posting about such roles. With the essential language skills, appropriate soft skills, and a working computer, being a remote translator can be a great opportunity for those who are interested.