How to become a translator?
October 19, 2007 9:13 AM   Subscribe

I'm a native Spanish speaker who is also fluent in English. I'm interested in taking on translating jobs on the side (tranlsating documents, for example, keeping it to the written form). What steps do I need to take to get started?

I have heard of some schools offering certifications in translations, but I haven't found very many. I feel like I'm not looking properly. Any suggestions on where to look, both for certification information and for clients?
posted by DrGirlfriend to Work & Money (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've seen courses and certification programs at a lot of community colleges in my area for medical interpreting. I know you're looking for translating and not interpreting, but that might be a place to start - or perhaps someone who teaches such a course could direct you to one that's closer to what you are looking for.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 9:15 AM on October 19, 2007

American Translators Association
posted by jacalata at 10:29 AM on October 19, 2007

More groups (and a lot of international associations) are listed here.
posted by jacalata at 10:32 AM on October 19, 2007

American Translators Association is a great resource. They've got a certification program.
Most translation jobs come from translation and localization agencies. Once you've passed the certification start sending inquiries to the ones in your area. They'll likely ask you to do a translation test for them - if you pass you'll go in their database of available translators.
You probably won't get much work at first - but one day they'll be stuck with something that needs doing and none of their "usuals" available and you'll get a call or an email asking if you can take a job. Translators are usually paid by the source word - English to Spanish is unfortunately not particularly lucrative - it's been awhile since I bought directly from a translator - but 10 cents/ word +/- would be my guess.
Do you have any subject matter expertise? Are you going to want to translate software strings or medical equipment manuals - most translators specialize.
Most agencies will expect you to own Trados which is the current industry standard for translation tools. It's about $1000. There are other tools with free translators clients and open source alternatives - but a huge portion of the work is going to be sent to you prepped for work in Trados.
I manage a localization department - so am pretty familiar with how this process works - user name at gmail is you have more questions.
posted by Wolfie at 10:36 AM on October 19, 2007 [2 favorites]

excellent....thanks, all!
posted by DrGirlfriend at 11:44 AM on October 19, 2007

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