2 answers

How would one go about finding their first job as a translator?

Asked Hope Mills, North Carolina

I plan on becoming a Japanese translator and while it seems easy to get started, in my mind it's too vague and I'd like an exact plan. #foreign-languages #language #japan #japanese

2 answers

David’s Answer

Updated Detroit, Michigan
Hello, Aiyanna: First, we need to find out a bit about your background? Do you speak fluent Japanese already? Have you done any translation work? Are you interested in translation or interpretation, or both. My background does not include any formal translation training, although there are some very good college programs for that. In addition, I would say that while Japanese interpretation and translation were very valuable skills when I was in college and during my career, nowadays they are less in demand, and languages, especially Chinese have a higher value. I have been involved with Japanese translation/interpretations for over 40 years. However, one great opportunity that is coming up is the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Although the positions will be volunteer, I am sure that the US Olympic committee will probably be looking for skilled translators/interpreters to assist them when they visit Japan. Maybe you can give me some more of your background and we can continue to discuss.

Nicole’s Answer

Updated Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
I agree with pretty much everything mentioned in the above comment. I would also like to mention that, for most of my high school and college career, I thought I wanted to go into straight translation and interpretation; however, after I got my first job, I realized that I found it to be so much more rewarding to be working in - in my case - technology and using my languages skills. With translation and interpretation, you can be thrown into something without any context and still have to get the best converted result possible, but if you actually work in a field where your language skills are an asset, you have the major advantage of knowing the field, the product, the process, etc. and being able to provide a confident answer instead of just performing conversions from one language to another without any context. I would also like to point out that if you're looking for something stable and not freelance, you may want to favor a route more like mine since you will be hard-pressed to find a full-time, steady position as a translator/interpreter, especially for a language like Japanese. Do you have something else that you're passionate about like computers, healthcare, engineering, marketing, etc.? If so, doing a dual-major may be your best option and it would also set you up nicely for a good job after graduating college.