Job opportunities for future translators

Very often, the academic world and the job world are as different as chalk and cheese. When you start working in a company, you notice that your job does not have much to do with what you experienced at university. This is why it is important that students learn, before they finish their degree, what the profession they are getting ready for is actually in the real world.

In our annual visit to the University Pablo de Olavide in Seville (Spain), we talked, as usual, about the world of translation agencies, but this time we also wanted to talk about employment opportunities for translators and keeping up to date in this business. Many future translators are not really interested in the translation world and end up working as tourist guides or language teachers.

This year it was not an exception, but we were happy to see that students were interested in other employment opportunities, such as jobs related to International Business and, what is more important for us, an increasing in their interest of becoming part of the localization industry.

20140515_105802_resizedApart from explaining the structure of a translation company and the different tasks done by each department (with a deeper focus on the PM and translation tasks, test translations and tools), we talked about the changes in the industry. There is no doubt that MT is changing the industry, but we are against those who claim that the translation profession will disappear because of MT. We think that our job as translators will simply change.

But there are other changes in the industry. Changing and demanding client needs are forcing the need of translators to become experts in many other areas apart from the linguistic ones, but which are part of the localization process, such as DTP or app and website development. Do not misunderstand me, we will not replace DTPers or web developers around the world, but it is true that the technical side of the localization profession is becoming more and more important in order to provide a good quality translation. After all, we are all part of the same team with a common goal: delivering a final product tailored to the local needs of a specific market.

Students are also concerned about how to get practice as a translator, as usually companies ask future employees and freelance collaborators to have at least 2 years of experience as a translator. We suggested to work with local or international NGOs, and also mentioned Translators Without Borders, which make translations for humanitarian causes. I am sure many of you have heard of them, otherwise please click on the link to learn more about the great job they are doing. Collaborating as editors for other professionals (bloggers, communication specialists or other content creators) can also be a nice start if you want to focus your job more on editing than on actual translation, both for source documents or translated documents.

Finally, we mentioned the importance of keeping up to date with courses, webinars and attendance to industry events, and the important role of social networks. As we always say, social media are not used to directly sell, but they are certainly a way to start having a name in the industry and also keeping contact with other colleagues which you may actually never see in person, but from whom you will learn much more than from the person next to you.

In all, it was nice to be back at university and we hope to come back next year. Once again, thanks to University Pablo de Olavide and to Inmaculada Serón for inviting us!

Inma Serón, Jensen Localization, Translation, University

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