How a second language can lead to a job in a translation agency

Fluency in another language can be valuable...
(Pixabay photo)

Speaking fluently in a language other than your native mother tongue is an extremely valuable and profitable skill and which can put you in good stead to achieving success in finding a job as a translator through a translation agency. The ability to thoroughly understand the culture that embodies your second language as well as having competent reading, writing and listening skills are also excellent qualities. There are literally thousands of distinct languages that are spoken around the world today and many of the agency companies provide translation services in hundreds of languages on behalf of their customers worldwide.    

There has never been a greater opportunity for those who possess a second language skill to acquire translation work for themselves. Most translation agencies provide opportunities for translators to work for them either on a freelance basis or by securing a permanent or part-time in-house job with their company. The type of translation jobs that you can apply for can vary but the most common ones are for video, audio and transcript translation. The translation agency you apply to may require for you to have first obtained an academic language qualification and/or engaged upon previous translation work. There may also be an online examination provided by the agency that you must attempt and pass before being accepted for translation jobs.    

If you are applying for work through commercial agencies it will not be enough to just have the ability to speak another language fluently, You must also have additional knowledge and experience in sectors such as, for example, Legal, Medicine, Engineering, Science, Finance, Technology and Education. A lot of the translation work that you will undertake will be centred on these different sectors. Many commercial translation services also look out for translators who are officially certified by organizations such as The American Translator Association and The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators. These certifications provide proof to the agencies that your translation skills are of such a level that has been officially acknowledged by a widely recognized reputable association and henceforth will put you in line to receive lucrative job opportunities.    

If you are struggling to obtain the necessary translation experience that so many agencies request from their applicants, it may be wise to volunteer and provide translation work for free. Organizations such as Translators Without Borders, PerMondo and TED are happy to receive applications from volunteers who are bilingual in at least two or more languages. Providing voluntary translation work to these organizations will in time build up your experience and, ultimately, your portfolio. There are also translation agencies that are willing to place you on their records for potential future translation work with them provided that you successfully complete their training courses.    

If you are learning a second language but as yet have not reached fluency, research has proven that the best way to learn a language is to fully immerse oneself in the culture of that country's native speech. Although this is not always a viable option for everyone, it has now become less of an issue due to the digital age that has brought our world closer together. With the average person having the ability to make and receive phone and video calls around the globe through smartphones there now exists a gigantic community that you can tap into via chat platforms, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Facetime where you can engage in conversations with other fellow speaking foreigners. There are also language courses that you can attempt either on your smartphone, computer, tablet or laptop where you can take that next step to obtain fluency.    

The internet is an infinite resource which you can regularly use to sharpen up your translation skills and also create a foreign immersive atmosphere for yourself. YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo, Google etc, are saturated with foreign videos containing TV programs, news bulletins, music videos, films and documentaries where you can regularly practice your translation skills and even go as far as adding or removing subtitles and slowing the video playback speed.    

To conclude, being bilingual is a valuable skill which you can use to generate a profit for yourself through various translation works. If you are not an experienced translator then make yourself available for volunteering work which can be used to boost your portfolio and which will ultimately lead you to obtain paid translator job opportunities.


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