Translator Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Translator, or Document Translator, is responsible for using their knowledge of two or more languages and cultural meanings to translate texts from one language to another. Their duties include consulting with industry experts to determine meanings, completing translations within set deadlines and using word processing software with special features to aid their progress.

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Translator Duties and Responsibilities

Translator responsibilities are as communicators for business, education, healthcare, financial, government and other businesses. Translator’s responsibilities include

  •     Reading the original document and translating it
  •     Editing translated versions
  •     Being sensitive to the culture of the original languages and the target languages during the translation process

What Does A Translator Do?

Translators typically work for corporations, government agencies, healthcare organizations or courthouses to translate documents on behalf of their employer. They work closely with other Translators, Editors and business professionals to accurately convert documents from one language to another. Their job is to review documents and translate them word-for-word. They may also be responsible for revising already-translated documents to reflect current policies or other information changes.

Translator Skills and Qualifications

    Successful Translators will have skills and qualifications for their responsibilities. Translator skills are

  •    Using dictionaries and thesauruses to find the exact words
  •    Using Translation Memory software
  •    Management of time to complete documents
  •    Understanding different cultures in translation
  •    Working with people from different cultural backgrounds and industries

Translator Salary Expectations

The average salary for a Translator in the United States is $20.10 per hour. This is the average, but the compensation your company offeres may vary depending on the bonus packages offered, what industry you work in and the geographical region where you live. The salary estimates are based on salaries that are submitted anonymously to Indeed by translator employees, users, as well as being collected from relevant job advertisements on Indeed. 

Translator Education and Training Requirements

The work of a Translator usually requires a bachelor’s degree. Translators who go into specialized fields such as technology, finance or education should be familiar with the career requirements and knowledge of the specific fields. For example, a translator who works for a financial firm should be fluent in foreign language financial vocabulary as well as the general languages.

Translator Experience Requirements

Living abroad in a country where people speak your translating language is useful for real-life experience in translating and interpreting of your chosen languages. Being involved in local community language groups where you live is also useful to your role as a Translator. Teaching classes or acting as a language tutor are ways you can gain experience. Many businesses look for Translators who have had real-life experience as Translators.

Job Description Samples for Similar Positions

Interpreter

Frequently asked questions about Translators

 

What is the difference between a Translator and an Interpreter?

Both Translators and Interpreters use their knowledge of two or more languages to enhance communication across cultures. The difference between a Translator and an Interpreter is how they perform their job duties. For example, Translators convert one language to another in a written form. They help corporations, healthcare organizations and government agencies draft documents in other languages. They also help translate books, movie subtitles and other forms of written content. 

In contrast, Interpreters translate languages through spoken word. They meet with clients in-person and listen intently to help them communicate with one or more people. Interpreters attend meetings, court appearances, hospital appointments and other events to ensure each party understands one another.

 

What are the daily duties of a Translator?

On a typical day, a Translator starts by arriving at their workplace or starting work from their home. They check their email and voicemail to see if they have any missed messages for Editors or clients. Throughout the day, Translators work on translating one or more documents from one language to another. They fact-check word-usage and other cultural appropriations that may confuse the meaning to a reader. Translators also participate in meetings with Editors and other company personnel to relay their progress and ask questions.

 

What qualities make a good Translator?

Translators have excellent written communication, enabling them to copy and alter documents to fit a language’s cultural adaptations. They value continued education and look for ways to improve their knowledge of foreign languages, the areas they’re native to and the different cultural interpretations of the same language. Further, a good Translator adheres to deadlines and structures their time to complete their translations before due dates. A good Translator also has excellent interpersonal communication, as they may need to work with various professionals and organizations.

 

Who does a Translator report to?

Translators report to different people depending on where they work. Self-employed Translators report to their clients to receive instructions but usually hold more autonomy. Translators in healthcare settings may report to the Patient Care Manager or Primary Physician. Translators who work for corporations may report directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or a Department Manager.

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