Although the field of translation is diversified and requires a good sense of rigor, some junior translators sometimes do not have enough experience to carry out a project by themselves. With the help of some tips and advice, you will be able to improve your skills from both a personal and professional point of view.
Tip 1 : Improve Your Linguistic Skills
First of all, whether you studied foreign languages or something else, knowledge of multiple languages are now very prevalent and learning them allows greater access to the job market. The English language, the most popular language in the world, is nowadays essential when it comes to international communication. That is why mastering one or several languages is crucial especially for a translator.
To acquire more knowledge, you can firstly immerse yourself in the culture of the language of your choosing by reading books, watching movies or listening to music. If you have any passions or hobbies, use them. For instance, play video games in a foreign language to progress in an active and fun way. If you are into series, get into captioning them.
You can resort to other things, such as linguistic tandems, media (television news, radio) or you can simply travel abroad to learn about the country’s culture.
Tip 2 : Do Volunteer Work
To combine the personal and the professional sphere, working as a volunteer translator is a substantial asset in terms of improving your skills. Indeed, translators, whether they are a beginner or pursuing their career, can acquire more skills by working in the field of translation for companies or associations for free in order to overcome their lack of references and experience. Whether it is translating, subtitling or for any other areas, this experience can be useful and is very much appreciated on a resume. Afterward, the translator can use this to create a portfolio.
The world-renowned TED organization, which provides hundreds of video conferences, launched a translation project in May 2009. Thanks to subtitling, these videos reach a wider number of people around the world. Through these videos, you can kill two birds with one stone by acquiring more knowledge in audiovisual translation while helping other people.
Moreover, you can offer your services to other companies and organizations. Favor organizations such as non-governmental organizations (NGO) because they are more likely to accept free translators.
Tip 3 : Develop Your Brand Name and Network
Nowadays, the digital era is expanding all around the world. Consequently, a junior translator has no choice but to create their own simple and easy-to-use website. This professional website is used to highlight their linguistic or translating skills, their qualities, some recommendations from previous companies or organizations, etc. Putting an online contact form for a potential client is also recommended.
In addition to the website, a junior translator has to think beforehand about their field of specialization and the status which they want to work under : freelancer, employee, etc. It’s advised that you reflect on all the answers to the questions that may be asked. Furthermore, professionals are present at information fairs (for students or vocational guidance) so keep yourself informed about the dates of these events.
Lastly, use online professional social media such as LinkedIn, Viadeo or Xing. These various media allow you, for instance, to fill out your online resume, to extend your professional network, but also, to find a job and sometimes in a foreign country.
Best of luck to you !
Translated by Arthur Chevallier-Letort