Life as a Translator - What You Need to Know
In part 1 of 2 of this this post Mike looks into the realities of working as a translator
If you are thinking about entering the translation industry, this is an exciting time to do so. The benefits of working as a translator are varied, and it can be a rewarding, challenging and fun job. People who are natural linguists, have lived in different countries or perhaps studied languages at university could pass the first test of being a translator - that's the technical ability side. The other side that you must consider is the nature of the working life, which is equally important.
The Working Life Realities of a Translator
As a translator you will be working as a contractor and most likely from home. To some this is a dream and to others it's a major turn-off. Let's take a look at some of the realities that come with working as a translator:
- Contracting: Qualified translators will typically work for one or more companies online. This means you will largely work at home, cafes, libraries or parks (if you’re lucky enough), and you will be paid monthly by different companies.
- Work Flow: Being a contractor can sometimes translate to feast or famine when it comes to work flow. You can predict when the next job will come and sometimes it comes all at once with tight deadlines and crazy busy periods, while other weeks it can be very quiet. If you have various financial commitments consistency of income can be an issue.
- Work-Life Balance: This is one positive of the contractor lifestyle, especially for people who love to travel or for working parents with young children who are seeking flexible work hours.
- Parenting: Translation work is great for parents who want to work from home, but there can be some misconceptions that we need to address. Being a full-time parent and a full-time freelancer is not possible. To increase one you need to decrease the other. So you can work more if you put your kids into daycare or summer camp, or you can work less and spend more time with them, but it's rare to do both well.
In Part 2 of this post we will look at a typical day in the life of a translator, and learn why now is a great time to join the industry.