Being a professional certified translator is a challenging job. It involves a lot of stress, tight deadlines, demanding clients, and difficult projects. Nonetheless, it’s a career I truly love and enjoy, and I wouldn’t change it for anything else.  

My name is Gabriella Muniez, I am a certified translator registered with the CIOL, and you can find my professional profile here.I specialse in legal, official and marketing translation services. In this article, I’ll talk about my journey to becoming a registered translator, the reasons why I love my job, the best ways to find a reputable agency to work with and ways in which you can become a certified translator yourself! Enjoy!

How Did it Start?

While most kids dream of being pilots, doctors, or firefighters, I’ve always wanted to be a professional translator. Growing up in a predominantly Spanish-speaking household in London made me naturally bilingual. I spoke Spanish with my family; however, as soon as I stepped outside the door, I spoke English with my friends. 

As I grew older, I developed a real interest in linguistics. I liked learning about how different languages work and relate to one another, where they come from, and how they can shape a country’s culture and business in general.

As you can imagine, becoming a professional translator was a natural career path for me. Now that I’ve worked as a certified translator for more than 10 years, I want to share with you the reasons why I love my job, but also let you know some of the challenges it entails.

How to Become a Certified Translator

There are several different paths to becoming a professional translator. However, if you wish to work at the highest level and with the most interesting clients, you must consider obtaining professional qualifications, such as a degree in linguistics.

Once you complete your higher education, you should join the official translation bodies in your country. In the United Kingdom, we widely recognise the Chartered Institute of Linguistics (CIOL) and the Institute of Translations and Interpreting (ITI) as the ‘go-to’ professional organisations for language translators. 

Although becoming a member of such organisations is not compulsory in order to work as a translator, the vast majority of leading translation agencies will require this when assigning projects to linguists.

Benefits of Working as a Translator

Despite the stress and demanding clients, working as a professional translator comes with some really fantastic benefits.

One of the things I enjoy the most about my job is the freedom. 

Most certified translators work as freelancers, which means that they can set their own working hours, take holidays whenever they wish, and control their workload. 

Another advantage of being a professional translator is the possibility of working with some of the world’s largest brands and agencies. 

For example, this year alone, I have already worked on a large marketing translation for one of the world’s leading fashion brands and a project for a well-known cosmetics brand, both of which want to expand into the UK markets. 

Additionally, the salary of a professional translator can be very competitive, especially if you’re a qualified expert within a particular business field.

Being a Translator Requires a True Passion for Languages

As with any job, a lack of desire to work in a particular field means that you will never be truly satisfied with what you do. The translation industry is already an extremely difficult sector to break into and then remain competitive, so being passionate about translations and languages is pretty much a must. 

To become a certified translator, you need to spend years studying, obtaining professional qualifications such as CIOL or ITI, and then gaining the experience required to specialise in a particular field. 

If you want to become a professional translator, but don’t have a passion for languages, cultures and how they can directly affect global businesses, you may find yourself in an unfortunate situation a few years down the road. 

How to Find a Reputable Translation Agency to Work With?

Being a professional translator has some truly great benefits, like the ones I mentioned above. However, you’ll need to work hard to find a reputable translation agency to partner with, but it is essential to do.

Working with UK-accredited and professional international translation companies guarantees a steady flow of interesting projects, timely payments, and an expert translation team to collaborate with, which always helps during the translation process. 

Personally, some of my favourite translation agencies to work with are London Translation Services 24 (TS24), Lionbridge and Certified Translations UK. I’ve worked with these global companies for several years now, and my experience as a translator has always been fantastic. Their teams are highly professional, friendly, and extremely responsive. In addition, TS24 offers a unique & bespoke translation portal for clients and translators, which, from my own experience, really helps in producing and delivering the highest-quality translation services.

So, whether you’re already a professional translator and are looking for a partner to work with or you simply want to learn more about starting your career as a translator, I highly recommend contacting these and other language companies and speaking to their experts.

Translator or Interpreter – What’s the Difference?

There seems to be quite a bit of confusion between these distinctive terms – translator and interpreter. Although, at first, the difference between the two may seem somewhat blurry, it is actually very clear in reality. 

In short, translators deal with written documents and materials, while interpreters specialise in translating the spoken word. 

For example, professional translators can convert legal documents, websites, marketing materials or campaigns, financial statements, certificates, or letters from one language into another. Expert interpreters, on the other hand, can translate a conversation between two people, interpret a business meeting, or help delegates understand what’s being said during a conference.

It is possible to be a professional interpreter and translator at the same time, although this is very rare. Both careers require a completely different set of skills despite being closely related in many ways. 

Becoming a Translation Specialist

Finding your expertise in a particular niche and sector specialism is one key element to having a long and successful career in the translation industry. 

As you gain more experience, you’ll work on different types of projects, such as legal documents, marketing materials, websites, medical records, press releases, and digital content.

This will consequently allow you to truly find your preferred type of content and materials you like translating the most. From there, you can take additional courses and gain specialism in your chosen translation field, whether it’s marketing, legal or medical translations. 

So…Is a Career in the Translation Industry for You?

As you can see, a professional career in the translation industry can be really rewarding. You can be your own boss and have the chance to work with some of the world’s biggest brands and translation agencies, so you can definitely feel professionally fulfilled. 

Nonetheless, if you want to be a truly successful translator or an interpreter, you’ll have to work really hard and have a true passion for languages.

To stand out in a very crowded space, you will need to market yourself to the right people and create strong relationships with translation companies. You should also specialise in a particular translation field, which will allow you to become the ‘go-to’ expert within that specific area of work, whether it’s marketing, legal, medical or another sector. Translation agencies truly value translators who are able to convert industry-specific jargon and language.

Once you’ve achieved this and the required official qualifications, working as a certified translator can be a fantastic career.