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!
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.
How to 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, keep reading for 12 simple steps to becoming a professional translator.
1. Set Goals
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.
2. Get Fluent
To become a translator, getting a good grasp of the language first is key. You need to be fluent (that is, at least level C1, which is near-native level) to consider becoming a translator.
Your reading and writing skills should be sharp, as these will be your working tools.
It is absolutely possible to become fluent in Spanish as an adult, and it doesn’t have to take ages.
3. Travel to a Spanish-speaking Country
If you’re seriously asking yourself how to become 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.
4. Get 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.
5. Certify Yourself 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 translating 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 for the free certification handbook, see how the exam is graded, and even take a practice test.
6. Choose your Field
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 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 resumé 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’s else.
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 medical translations, write to hospitals or advertise in medical printed publications and on medical websites.
12. Join a Freelance Agency
How to 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.
Start Your Journey to Becoming 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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