Oral translators or interpreters are the link between two groups of people who speak different languages and help both groups to understand each other. Apart from speaking and translating different languages, a translator's job requires preparation of written transcripts from one language to another. Translators play an important role in business conferences involving international participation. They travel to other countries as language experts to assist representatives of one organization interact with members of a foreign organization. There are many bilingual jobs for translators especially in the health care and judiciary sectors. Professional translators can also function as literary translators, where their work is focused on rewriting material for publication from one language to another. These can be articles, technical manuals, fiction and poetry books and other such material. The translated work can be marketed globally.
Any good translator must have excellent language skills and fluently speak and write at least two languages. He or she should be bilingual. The person must be able to quickly grasp concepts and ideas described in one language and are able to reproduce those same ideas and concepts in a different language. A good translator should also be a people person, well mannered and skilled at interacting with people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
In terms of academic qualifications, a translator should be educated in one language medium, for example in English, and should have a bachelor's degree in a foreign language like Spanish, French, Japanese, German, Chinese and other such foreign languages. If a translator opts for a career involving the medical or judiciary sectors, he or she should also be familiar with the specific terminology of these professions. Many translators go for certified foreign language courses to improve their skills.
On an average, translators earn salaries ranging between $45,000 and $50,000 annually. There is the potential for traveling to interesting places and interacting with different people in a job as a translator.
Experience makes a big difference in the translation industry. A new translator should start off with rewriting work and moving from simple assignments to more complicated assignments. Always keep in mind translation is not about replacing words from one language into words in a different language. The key to good translation is to capture the essence of what is being communicated in one language and represent it effectively in another language.