12 Easy Steps To Becoming an English-Spanish Translator
Are you wondering how to become a translator?
Translating is a dream job. The best things about this job include its flexible work hours, the ability to work as a freelancer from anywhere in the world, and the abundance of job opportunities.
Let me share with you my experience on how to become a translator. Fluency in Spanish is just the beginning.
Keep reading for 12 easy steps to becoming an English-Spanish translator!
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What Do Spanish Translators Do?
- Why Become an English-Spanish Translator
- Set Clear Goals To Become a Spanish-English Translator
- Improve Your Fluency in Both English and Spanish
- Travel to a Spanish-Speaking Country
- Get Formal (or Informal) Training
- Get Certified as a Translator
- Choose Your Specific Field of Translation
- Gain Industry Experience
- Research Becoming a Freelancer
- Prepare Your Resume
- Set Up Your Own Website
- Actively Look for a Job
- Join a Freelance Agency
- Improve Your Spanish Fluency To Become an English-Spanish Translator
What Do Spanish Translators Do?
If you want to become a translator, it’s essential to understand what translators do and don’t do.
You won’t need to do live translation at conferences or events, as that’s an interpreter’s job. A translator’s work involves translating texts like books, articles, documents, and websites.
Translators work for the government, law firms, private companies, and individuals.
It’s a perfect job for people who travel, parents with small kids, or anyone who’s bilingual and seeks extra income. Your office is anywhere, and many translators work from the comfort of home.
You might wonder if people still need translators now that there are free online translation tools. Yes, we do.
Robot translations, although better than they used to be, are still not perfect. They don’t reflect actual speech, colloquialisms, or slang expressions.
You wouldn’t want to read a book translated by a robot; the beauty of it would be lost in translation.
Why Become an English-Spanish Translator?
Do you enjoy reading, writing, and languages? Are you skilled at grammar and spelling in your mother tongue? If so, you may be destined for an exciting career as a professional translator.
There are many reasons to become an English-Spanish translator, but here are five powerful reasons to keep in mind:
1. High demand
There is a high demand for skilled translators, especially in English and Spanish, as these are two of the most widely spoken languages in the world. As a translator, you can work in various fields, such as business, legal, medical, and more.
2. Flexible work options
As a translator, you have the flexibility to work from anywhere, as long as you have a computer and an internet connection. This allows you to work remotely and have a better work-life balance.
3. Personal and professional growth
Becoming a translator can help you develop your language skills, cultural awareness, and problem-solving abilities. It can also open up new opportunities for personal and professional growth.
4. Competitive salary
The translation industry is known for offering competitive salaries, especially for those with specialized knowledge and experience. As you gain more experience and develop a reputation for quality work, you can expect to earn higher rates.
5. Making a difference
As a translator, you can help bridge language and cultural barriers and help people understand each other. You can also help individuals and businesses communicate more effectively, which can make a significant difference in their lives and in the world.
So, how can you become an English-Spanish translator?
Let’s explore 12 simple ways to get started!
1. Set Clear Goals To Become a Spanish-English Translator
First things first. Organize yourself and set clear goals. When would you like to start working as a translator?
Now, how long does it take to become a translator? The answer varies depending on several factors. Timelines will fluctuate depending on your current age, experience, and level of Spanish.
Here are some specific goals that an aspiring English-Spanish translator like you might consider:
Achieve fluency in both English and Spanish
To become a competent translator, you must be proficient in both the source and target languages. As an aspiring English-Spanish translator, you may have a goal of achieving a high level of fluency in both languages. If you’d like to speak with our certified, native Spanish-speaking instructors, sign up for a free class in our adult program at Homeschool Spanish Academy.
Complete formal education and training
An aspiring translator may choose to pursue formal education and training in translation or a related field to enhance their skills and knowledge. Therefore, completing a degree or certification program in translation or related subjects might be your goal.
Build a diverse translation portfolio
Filling your translation portfolio with different types of content, such as legal, medical, technical, and literary texts, can help you demonstrate your skills to potential clients or employers.
Network with other translators and industry professionals
Through your networks, you gain insights into the industry, find job opportunities, and build your reputation. Therefore, a goal may be to connect with other professionals in the field.
Gain experience through internships or volunteer work
Internships or volunteer work can provide aspiring translators with valuable experience and exposure to the translation industry. Therefore, securing an internship or volunteer position with a translation agency or organization may be a goal.
Establishing a successful freelance translation business
Aspiring translators may aim to establish a successful freelance translation business by acquiring clients and building a solid reputation. Thus, creating a business plan and working towards developing a sustainable client base could be your specific goal.
2. Improve Your Fluency in Both English and Spanish
To become a translator, getting a good grasp of your target language is key, but don’t leave your native tongue in the dust. While you need to be fluent (level C1 or higher) in Spanish to become a translator, you must also have a strong grasp on language equivalents in English.
What’s more, your reading and writing skills should be sharp, as these will be your working tools.
It is absolutely possible to become fluent in Spanish by supporting yourself with the following activities:
Consistent practice is essential to improving your fluency in any language. To improve your English and Spanish language skills, make an effort to use them every day. You can read books, watch TV shows and movies, listen to music, and even converse with native speakers to hone your language skills.
Take classes or lessons
Taking classes or lessons from a qualified teacher or tutor can help you improve your fluency in English and Spanish. There are many language schools and online platforms that offer language courses with experienced teachers who can provide feedback and guidance to help you improve your language skills.
Use language-learning apps
There are many language-learning apps available, such as Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone, which can be effective in improving your fluency in English and Spanish. These apps offer interactive lessons and exercises that can help you build your vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure.
You might like: 20 Best Apps To Learn Spanish on Your Own
Immerse yourself in the language
This is probably the most powerful way to improve your fluency. If possible, spend time in a country where English or Spanish is spoken to immerse yourself in the language and culture. This will expose you to native speakers and help you develop an authentic accent and better understand cultural nuances.
Read and write regularly
Reading and writing are essential skills for any translator, and they are also excellent ways to improve your fluency in English and Spanish. Make a habit of reading and writing in both languages regularly. You can start with easier texts and gradually increase the difficulty level as your skills improve. Writing in a journal or blog is also an effective way to practice writing and get feedback from others.
3. Travel to a Spanish-Speaking Country
If you dream of becoming a translator, traveling to a Spanish-speaking country is crucial.
Spending some time in Spain or Latin America empowers you to understand the nuances of the language. The way people speak is different from academic language.
Travel also gives you a solid understanding of the culture, which is necessary if you want to become a translator.
Here are three Spanish-speaking countries that you could visit to improve your Spanish fluency and gain a better understanding of the language and culture:
Spain is the birthplace of the Spanish language, and it has a rich history and culture that have influenced the language. The Spanish spoken in Spain is known as Castilian Spanish, and it has its own unique pronunciation and vocabulary. A trip to Spain can help you understand the language’s origins and learn more about the culture and traditions of the country.
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Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world, and its culture is one of the most vibrant and diverse in Latin America. Mexico is home to many dialects of Spanish, which vary by region, so visiting different parts of the country can help you understand the nuances of the language. Additionally, Mexico is a popular destination for tourists and expats, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice your language skills with native speakers.
You might like: 20 Mexican Slang Words You Need To Know Before You Travel
Argentina is known for its unique accent and vocabulary, which is distinct from the Spanish spoken in other parts of Latin America. It’s also home to a rich and diverse culture, including tango music and dance, which can provide a deeper understanding of the country’s history and traditions. A visit to Argentina can give you exposure to the country’s unique dialect and help you become a more well-rounded and culturally sensitive translator.
You might like: All You Need To Know About Argentine Spanish
4. Get Formal (or Informal) Training
Although it’s possible to become a translator without a degree, you need to know what and how to study. It’s beneficial to do some translation-specific training.
Many online courses teach you the basics of the job and address any doubts on how to become a translator. Check out this course on Udemy on becoming a translator without a degree.
Here are 5 common challenges of translating English into Spanish to give you an idea of what your experience will be like.
5. Get Certified as a Translator
Once again, this step is not necessary but will open more doors for you. Many language service providers (LSPs) only hire people with translation certifications.
It’s easier than you think. On this website, you can find information about the American Translators Association Exam and how to prepare for it. Download the free certification handbook, see how the exam is graded, and even take a practice test.
6. Choose Your Specific Field of Translation
You may become a general translator but concentrating on a niche boosts the number of potential jobs for you.
If you’re already working at a hospital, you might concentrate on medical translations. The same applies to financial, legal, and any other specific fields. If you’re already an expert in a particular field, make it your asset.
7. Gain Industry Experience
Gaining translation experience is key. Many graduates ask how to land a job in the best-paying LSPs, and my answer is always the same. Take it slowly, gain experience, learn, improve, and show your potential employer that you know your job.
Do free translation for your friends, translate your uncle’s restaurant menu, translate articles for Wikipedia, and advertise your services at an attractive price. In short, concentrate on building your portfolio rather than earning money.
8. Research Becoming a Freelancer
Freelance translators get lots of work because they are cheaper for clients than LSPs. Find out what you need to do to become one.
Where would you like to receive money for your services? Do you need to pay taxes—and how much—on your online jobs? How do you get a stable, portable Internet connection that doesn’t cost a fortune?
You might also need to download a free computer-assisted translation (CAT) tool that will provide you with a platform that makes translation work easier.
Check out the best free CAT tools on the market.
9. Prepare Your Resume
If you’re seeking employment, it’s not recommended to have a resumé so general that could be applied to any job offer.
Your resume is your personal brand and has to convince your potential employer to start a conversation with you. To stand out from the crowd, your resume must be better than everybody else’s.
Learn how to prepare the perfect translator resume.
10. Set Up Your Own Website
Getting your own website is also a brilliant idea. Include it on your resume, so your potential employer or clients can get to know you better and see your work samples, and who you’ve already worked for. It gives you a more professional look and could be a real game-changer.
11. Actively Look for a Job
If you’ve already decided on your niche, start to go after translation jobs, employers, or clients. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you—proactively look for them.
If you want to work for the government, send your resume to your local governmental agencies or check the current public sector job listings. If you specialize in translating medical documents, send letters to hospitals or put ads in medical magazines and on medical websites.
12. Join a Freelance Agency
How do you become a translator online? In addition to actively looking for a job, set up your profile on at least one freelance platform. Online freelance platforms are a modern marketplace to connect clients and freelancers.
Improve Your Spanish Fluency To Become an English-Spanish Translator
Now that you know how to become a translator, you might be thrilled to know that translators are one of the fastest-growing occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Opportunities in the field are expected to increase by 46% between 2021 and 2022. And how much do translators make? Quite a lot, if you follow the steps outlined in the article and prepare yourself for this wonderful job.
Remember the first step of how to become a translator? Yes, to become fluent. Don’t wait any longer and start today. Sign up for a free trial class to boost your Spanish fluency with one of our friendly, certified teachers at Homeschool Spanish Academy!
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