Ten things the translation industry expects from graduates

Ten things the translation industry expects from graduates

The global localization industry is growing by leaps and bounds, but we are facing a severe talent shortage.

Attracting and developing talent in localization is the key challenge facing the industry today. If we cannot attract skilled employees into the industry, projects will be put on hold and entry into new markets will stall. It is, therefore, crucial that we as localization recruiters reach out to talented graduates to show what a career in localization has to offer. With that in mind, we look at ten things the translation industry looks for in a successful graduate.

What would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments.

Native speaker of the language they typically translate to

First and foremost, you will specialise in translating from a “foreign” language to your “native” language. No one knows a language as well as its native speakers, so clients will expect their translator to be one.

Excellent knowledge of the source languages

Not only should a translator be a native speaker, but they should also understand the cultural differences between their source language and native language. There’s not always an equivalent word in the other language and it’s not always possible for readers from one culture to understand a concept used in the other culture without any explanation. A good translator should be able to find appropriate words or give a brief explanation of a concept.

Translation qualification (Bachelor and/or Masters)

Fresh-faced graduates looking for work will always find it hard because they don’t have the necessary experience. Experience will always count for a lot and put you in good stead. However, translator qualifications may just put you one step ahead of the rest. The experience will come with time and, with that, the formal translator qualifications will become less and less important.

Ability to use/learn CAT tools, QA tools and MT editing environments

Another benefit of obtaining a third level qualification in translation studies is that the graduate will have received some training in the use of technologies routinely used in modern translation offices. Those not possessed of a third level qualification will need to develop an understanding of the state of the art machine translation and related technologies and their applications in the profession.

Good research skills

Likewise, a third level qualification will provide graduates with a good set of research skills. Translators may get very different texts to translate from one day to the next and may have to pick up specialised vocabulary quickly.

Good keyboard skills

While touch typing is something of a lost skill, translation graduates are expected to be swift keyboard operators. Having good keyboard skills will mark you out as a productive member of the team.

Great networking skills

People skills are an absolute must for translators who often work as part of virtual teams, revising each others’ work or sharing big projects.

Ability to cope with time-related stress

Translation is a very deadline-driven profession. You need to be able to meet deadlines and organise your time effectively. An initiative is important, too.

1300 – 1800 (English) words a day, building up to 2000+

An average translator will do between 2000 and 3000 words per day, working at a comfortable speed and also having time to revise and proofread his or her work properly. When starting out in the industry, aim for between 1300-1800 words a day and work your way towards higher targets.

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