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Salary Range
€22k - €42k
Career Zone

In Brief...

Translates text and written documents from one language to another.

Knowledge

  • Foreign Language Knowledge of the structure and content of a foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
  • English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Communications and Media Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.

Skills

  • Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

In Summary - Translator

Career Sectors

Translators typically work in the following Career Sectors:

Languages
History, Culture & Languages
Translation
History, Culture & Languages
Working in the Courts
Law & Legal

Videos & Interviews

Breda Ni Mhaoláin, Translator / Interpreter

Breda is currently employed as an Editor in the translation section of the Houses of the Oireachtas. Breda was raised in Connemara and grew up speaking Irish, she loves that even though she is now in Dublin her job still enables her to speak the language on a daily basis. 

Aistriúchan don Eoraip, Translator

Videos on the Web

Further Information

The Work - Translator

Translation means producing a text in a different language, ensuring that the original meaning is retained, usually for a specific audience and purpose. Interpretation is slightly different, in that it is based on verbal rather than written communication.

Most opportunities in translation are in technical, scientific and commercial translation such as textbooks, instruction manuals, research papers and advertising brochures. This work generally requires knowledge of a specialised field such as law, finance, engineering or technology.  
 
Translators also need to know technical terminology and jargon. Technical translation is not about creating literature, but trying to convey a meaning in terms that the reader can understand. For example, a commercial letter needs to be translated to put across ideas for a reader who thinks in commercial terms. 
 
In the literary translation of a foreign book, poem or play, the translator needs to convey the spirit of the work. They need flair for the appropriate turn of phrase and an understanding of the author's style and period. Much of this work is carried out on a part-time basis by university lecturers or by people who are creative writers in English. Sometimes, literary translators work from a rough translation prepared by another person, which they refine into a more acceptable form.  
 
Translators can also specialise in a particular area or subject. These specialist translators may work for law firms, technical industries or medical researchers. Their specialist knowledge helps them to translate the documents in this area.  
 
Translators research a wide range of terminology and language specific phrases. They read through original documents and produce a summary. Translators may check words using dictionaries, thesauruses and proofread documents.  
 
Few people make a living from literary translation as it can take many years to build a reputation. So it is usual to combine literary translation with other work.

Most commonly reported Work Tasks

  • Follow ethical codes that protect the confidentiality of information.
  • Translate messages simultaneously or consecutively into specified languages, orally or by using hand signs, maintaining message content, context, and style as much as possible.
  • Listen to speakers' statements to determine meanings and to prepare translations, using electronic listening systems as necessary.
  • Compile terminology and information to be used in translations, including technical terms such as those for legal or medical material.
  • Read written materials, such as legal documents, scientific works, or news reports, and rewrite material into specified languages.
  • Identify and resolve conflicts related to the meanings of words, concepts, practices, or behaviors.
  • Check translations of technical terms and terminology to ensure that they are accurate and remain consistent throughout translation revisions.
  • Refer to reference materials, such as dictionaries, lexicons, encyclopedias, and computerized terminology banks, as needed to ensure translation accuracy.
  • Train and supervise other translators or interpreters.
  • Educate students, parents, staff, and teachers about the roles and functions of educational interpreters.

Most commonly reported Work Activities

  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Interests - Translator

This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:

Linguistic

The Linguistic's interests are usually focused on ideas and information exchange. They tend to like reading a lot, and enjoy discussion about what has been said. Some will want to write about their own ideas and may follow a path towards journalism, story writing or editing. Others will develop skills in other languages, perhaps finding work as a translator or interpreter. Most Linguistic types will enjoy the opportunity to teach or instruct people in a topic they are interested in.

Social

The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.

Administrative

Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.

Qualities

As a translator, you must be prepared to work mainly on your own. Therefore you need to be self-disciplined and self motivated.  
 
You must also have patience and persistence because the work is detailed. A good standard of written English is essential as well as an ability to handle complex information.  
The workload can be intense and you may be under pressure and have to work long hours when deadlines are approaching.

Entry Requirements - Translator

The usual route to a career in translation is to first complete a degree course in Modern Languages. Some courses place emphasis on language rather than literature and may include the practice of translation within the course. Other suitable degree courses may combine a technical subject with language study and technical translation. Relevant courses are available at a number of ITs and universities throughout the country.
 
With few exceptions (i.e. minority languages) a degree is essential, although your degree does not necessarily have to be in languages.

Most translators can work from at least two languages and usually specialise in a subject such as business, medicine, computing, science or law. Many translators have work experience in a professional area.

It can be an advantage to have good knowledge of a third language, i.e. Irish, or others of the lesser-used languages in the European Union.

The qualifications required vary depending on the type of work.

Certified, Professional translators typically have Irish Translators and Interpreters Association (ITIA) membership and recognition. Dedicated Translation companies such as WordPerfect only recruit people who are Certified in Translation. Well-developed written communication skills in your mother tongue, including a thorough knowledge of grammar and spelling is also required. Material for translation may be of a sensitive and confidential nature, calling for discretion and confidentiality.

To become a Professional Member of the Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association (ITIA) you are required to pass the Professional Membership Examination, in addition to having between two and five years’ documented translation experience and/or a qualification as a translator/interpreter.

Foras na Gaeilge holds an annual exam as part of their accreditation system – Séala Creidiúnaithe d’Aistritheoirí Gaeilge. Those who pass this exam are included on the Foras na Gaeilge panel of accredited translators. These translators must pass the exam every five years in order to remain on the panel.

Irish in the EU Institutions

The Irish Translators The Official Languages Act (2003) and the recognition of Irish as an official working language of the European Union has resulted in increased opportunities in the area of translation and interpreting.

Technical Writing

Qualifications in technical writing are also valuable for translation careers. A degree in an area such as science, law, business, engineering together with fluency/proficiency in two other languages is usually sufficient.

Last Updated: October, 2015

Pay & Salary - Translator

Salary Range (thousands per year)* €22k - €42k

Data Source(s):
CareersPortal

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.

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