Are you at ease using 'Buenos dias' and 'Ca Va' though you have never set foot in Madrid or Casablanca? Are you often fascinated by foreign languages and enjoy learning them? Do you possess good knowledge, both written and oral in one or more foreign languages? You can translate your ability to pick up languages into a viable career proposition. The job prospects are bright, all you need to do is assess your skills and interests and match them to suitable jobs. Take a look at career prospects that exist for foreign language interpreters.
Global demand for Interpreter
Recognizing and acknowledging your inherent competency to understand a foreign language is the first step towards pursuing a rewarding career in foreign language translation. The demand for individuals proficient in foreign languages in USA is growing. In fact, the year 2005 was celebrated as the year of foreign languages in USA, duly acknowledging the value and power of foreign language learning. There is an escalating demand for people who are fluent in foreign languages and who understand foreign cultures. Globally the opportunities for those with multi-language skills are on the rise.
Economic globalisation, the need to broaden ties with foreign countries, increasing cultural diversity within USA has led to a rapid surge in demand for people with multi-linguistic abilities. There are positive indications that point towards a surge in demand for foreign language translators- a 26% increase in the US translation industry by 2014. Other economic factors include:
- Necessity to foster business relationship with foreign owned companies, to maintain international relations.
- Increased dependency on foreign trade
- Booming travel and tourism industry, 20 million foreigners travel to U.S annually.
Need for Foreign language interpreter
The demand for foreign language interpreters exists not only in the private sector. There is high demand for U.S Government employees with language skills such as Hindi, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Farsi and Pashto. The demand for Arabic translators saw an all-time high in the 1990s.
The changes in global political relationships and the recent economic bubble burst have given way to demand for Japanese translators and interpreters. As such, competent individuals can find lucrative career opportunities which include options in International or national assignments, immigration services, colleges and universities, local firms, corporations, banking industry, government agencies, industrial enterprises, health care organizations, entertainment, travel and tourism industry, communication, the courts and the military and the computer industry.
Further, with the US population becoming more diverse, manufacturers too require foreign language specialist to convey product messages in the desired language to target audience or users of consumer products.
Bilingual language translator
Bilinguals are those who have the proficiency to work both ways (into and out of a foreign language). Most people in the world are multilingual, a skill that can be acquired and mastered easily. Language skills clearly distinguish you from others; enhances job qualifications and offers a competitive edge in career choices. Proficiency in foreign languages creates a positive edge over others for it is still considered a unique high demand skill.
The art of unlocking words, converting one language into another makes for a truly exciting, challenging and satisfying career option. Besides language combination, which is an indisputable requirement, the ability to understand concepts and ideas between languages is imperative. A high degree of relativity in context of history, literature and culture, between the source language and the target language should be maintained.
Foreign language translator career options
Teacher: Current National Security Language initiatives in US have clear goals to impart foreign languages right from kindergarten to university level. As a result the demand for full-time or private tutors with proficiency in foreign languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Korean is high. Before the end of the decade, the department of education proposes to create and train 1,000 new foreign language teachers in schools alone. Teaching options are available in schools, colleges or universities or for industry/ business or just conversation classes.
Translator: It's a myth that only literary and linguistic geniuses make successful translators. The job of a language translator is to convert written materials from one language into another. Prospective language translators should be competent with the native language as well as one or more foreign languages. Possessing excellent writing skills, strong vocabulary in two languages are essential prerequisites. Good analytical ability and knowing the nuances of editing support the foreign language translator. In terms of earnings, translators are usually paid by the word in the United States (between $0.04 and $0.25, or higher).
Most of the countries, across the globe have set mandatory requirements for professional translators, like obtaining a licence or a certification. Translating is an unregulated profession in the USA and as such there are no official qualifications required for translators, a 2-year MA program, GSTI degree (Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation) would suffice.
Foreign Language Interpreter
The job of an interpreter is to convert one spoken language into another. Besides proficiency in language combination, a good interpreter ought to have high degree of concentration and observation, ability to restructure syntax, sharp thought process and immaculate memory. Mastering the techniques required to cope with difficult situations can be acquired with exposure to different assignments. Interpretation assignments may be of two types- simultaneous or consecutive interpretations. Ability to take notes or proficiency in shorthand system comes in handy while doing consecutive interpretations. The demand for major Asian language interpreters, especially Japanese, is increasing.
In the absence of a universal form of certification in America, prospective interpreters can opt for a formal program in interpretation at college or university level. Proficiency in foreign languages coupled with other additional qualifications in areas like management, tourism, hospitality industry, and airlines paves way for better employment opportunities. The U.S. Department of state conducts a three-test series for interpreters; successful completion suggests that a person has adequate skills required to work in the field. Specific tests are conducted for simple consecutive interpreting as well as simultaneous interpreting.
Freelance language interpreter
You can work as a freelance translator, interpreter or a teacher - the options are aplenty. Translation bureaus, research organizations, international organizations like UNO, FAO and multi-national companies look for competent foreign language specialists to work on assignment basis.
Build successful career
- Accumulate a minimum of 3-5 years experience before opting to work part-time or as a freelancer.
- Keep abreast of changes in the literary aspects of native language as well as in the foreign language.
- Join professional organizations such as ATA (American Translators Association) or other obtain relevant membership.
- Learn to use the Internet to good effect.
- Develop good interpersonal skills as you are consistently dealing with people
- Freelancers must set market prices specific to work assigned.
- Network and market services so as to attract new business.