Understanding translation and interpretation employment opportunities

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An increasingly popular area of employment is both translation and interpretation. While these job titles have always been popular they are growing faster today due to the increased ability to remote work. Both jobs are suited to remote working and thanks to the increase in connectivity being experienced around the world more and more people are able to access high-speed internet and work from home or from wherever they choose. If you are proficient at languages then you may be considering a career in either translation or interpretation. Allow us now to tell you everything you need to know about both roles before you dive in.

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The first thing to be aware of is that translation and interpretation are not the same things. Many people use the terms interchangeably but they are in fact different jobs. The word translation is used to describe any job that requires changing text from one language into the text from another language. Interpretation is used to describe listening to the audio of one language and being able to translate it orally to another language. 

To be a translator or an interpreter you should be highly skilled in more than one language but you do not need to be a native speaker in all. Language skills are usually divided into three classes. A class is considered to be a native speaker. This means that you were raised speaking this language and understand it fully. It is very rare for someone to be an A-class speaker in more than one language but it is possible if someone was raised in a bilingual household. B class is considered fluent. This means that you have learned the language fully and can understand it in its entirety but you have not been raised in the language. C class is a working language. This is a language you can understand very well but can not communicate in the language as well. 

It is common for most people working in interpretation and translation to have at least one A language and one B language. Some have two A languages but this is rare and many have a high number of C languages. However, all certified translators must have at least one A and one B language. Despite this, there are many today that have only one A language and many C languages. You can usually spot them because they claim to have the language skills of a high degree in a wide number of languages. To have a high number of B languages would be very rare and should be cause for suspicion. 

If you are a translator or interpreter you can work from your A, B or C language but you should really only translate into your A language (on some occasions B is warranted as well). This is because while you can understand all three classes of language well you are not a native speaker of all. Translating into a language you are not native in is much more difficult and most readers or listeners will immediately be able to tell that you are not as proficient as required.

Translators clearly are more skilled at written communication while interpreters are more skilled at oral communication. It is common for people to be better at one type of communication than the other so despite the jobs being similar many people work in only one area. 

To be a great translator or interpreter you will need a wide vocabulary and will often have to study specific verticals so that you can offer your skills in a variety of fields. For example if you are asked to translate a manual on software-defined networking in a 5G environment, you will need a good understanding of telecommunication networks to be able to do this. 

A career based on language skills can be incredibly rewarding however it should not be undertaken lightly. The skills required are quite high. There are many freelance websites available where you can test your skills and see if it is a good match.