Jobs, good, well-paying jobs are not easy to come by in these days of depressed employment markets. However, without any other professional skills, you could still land a lucrative position as a translator or interpreter for a language service agency. How to become a successful translator in California, for example, does not entail a university degree as a key requirement.
The ability to read, speak or comprehend another language at a competent level is a sure ticket to being hired by any Statewide Translation Services. But that is not all! Like other professions in all industries, Language Translation Services in California also need adequate training, consistent practice and vast experience.
Your first stop to being an expert translator is to be bi-lingual. This is a perfect skill, but it is not everything in itself. You must also have the following:
Certification & accreditation: To become an expert interpreter or translator, you will need some kind of certification or accreditation from a recognized training institution. Possession of good credentials for speech or document translation is the clearest indicator that you have the requisite skills to translate professionally. It is the most ideal place to start from in this business.
Taking tests: Getting tested by a reputable institution offering tests in language proficiency is another way of boosting your resume. How else will potential clients know that you are competent if you have nothing to show for your claims?
Polish and refine your own language: The more you understand the language you speak, the better you will translate or interpret it into another language. Fluency will enable you to capture and convey different perceptions and sense.
Gaining the experience: Before marketing yourself for employment or as a freelancer, you must have a fair degree of first-hand job experience. You can start out by getting an internship in a language agency. Alternatively, by registering yourself on different websites providing legal translation or any other interpretation services, you can set your career on the move. Another thing you can do is to get freelance jobs. While some websites charge a fee, many provide free registration.
Market your skills: It is hard to succeed selling a service minus marketing. With enough experience and sparkling credentials, the time to hit the marketing road is now. You can begin by taking entry-level positions and slowly work your way up the ladder. Also, you should visit police stations, hospitals, law firms, hotels government agencies, cultural centers and other language service agencies to get a chance to do the actual thing.
Start a website/blog: To get a wider reach beyond your local area, you can start a blog or website to market yourself. And taking part in the activities of online professional language service providers will leverage your chances of being hired.
Know what to charge: This may seem simplistic and obvious, but if you don’t know what to charge, say for Medical Translation then you would rather not offer your service! Your resume and rates should go hand in hand because if you do not know what your rates are for specific services, you might as well be shouting to the whole world that you are not a professional.
Importantly, you must constantly learn about the new trends and terms of service in your industry. Marking time will only see you pushed to the bottom. Try to perfect your skills by translating for specialized industries, be tech savvy and learn all you can about AI and other translation software. This is not all, however it is a good starting point.