The translator is first and foremost a linguist. He/she is also a person who is curious not only about foreign languages, but also about the cultures to which they belong. He/she is also a multidisciplinary person capable of mastering various fields of expertise (technical, literary, scientific, legal, financial, etc.).
What does the translator do?
- Transpose a text written in one language into another language (preferably into his/her mother tongue), producing a target text that respects the content and form of the source text.
- Carry out translations, provide downstream post-editing or revision, or manage translation projects in an agency in coordination with teams of independent translators.
- Integrate customer requirements such as adapting to various media (web, print, publishing, subtitles, video, etc.) or transposing into other cultural areas.
- Translate documents: legal (contracts, regulations, procedures), financial, technical, scientific, literary, corporate communication materials (sales brochures, activity reports, product descriptions, newsletters, websites)…
- Revision and quality assurance
- Proofreading and post-editing: correcting texts produced by automatic translation software or technical texts that are often extremely constrained.
- Guarantee terminology and develop multilingual databases (glossaries and style guides), manage translation papers and terminology databases
What is his/her main know-how?
- Excellent writing skills
- Perfect command of his/her native language
- Perfect command of several foreign languages
- Mastery of translation tools (CAT)
What are his/her main soft skills?
A translator, whether he/she is a freelancer or a company employee, must be organized. He/she must know how to manage priorities, time and resources.
A translator must be curious in order to learn about each field and each cultural dimension in which he/she works.
Humility comes into play especially when a translator has to proofread himself/herself or others. Indeed, there is no such thing as a perfect translation; a translation can always be improved.
- Communication skills
It is very important to be able to communicate with clients, contacts or internal departments that could provide information.
A translator spends most of his/her day at the computer. He/she may be required to go into the field to understand a process, for example, or to obtain information from experts.
- Translation agencies, large companies, international organizations, public institutions. Most translation jobs are freelance. Reporting line: Senior translator – Head of translation department or lead manager – Translation project manager – Other operational departments (marketing, IT, communication)
Salary range for first job
- Young translation graduates: great disparity depending on the environment. For example: translator in an international organization between 5,600 and 10,000€/month depending on seniority and junior translator in an agency 24 K€/year.
- Young graduates with a diversified profile: 24 to 30 K€/year
- Freelance translators (depending on experience and specialization): 20 to 60 K€/year, or more if the translator combines with interpreting activity.
- Outside translator in an international organization (providing self-reviewing): between $185 and $205/1,000 words depending on the difficulty of the text, between $95 and $105/1,000 words if the translation needs to be edited.
Within a translation department, the translator may become, depending on opportunities:
- Technical translator
- Literary translator/editorial translator
- Audiovisual translator/adapter
- Translation project manager
- Translation Resource Coordinator
- Freelance or independent translator.
What training course to become a translator?
Every year, ISIT trains students through its master’s degree in intercultural communication and translation. This dual-skilled master’s degree is in line with the needs of the professional world.