Translator interview: What questions to prepare for?

Job searches pose a big struggle for many aspiring translators. And once they overcome the barrier of finding a job, the next obstacle is, a successful interview. Regardless whether you are a seasoned translator or a newbie, the answers you give during an interview is what leaves the greatest impression on your prospective employer. Remember, acing an interview is not just about having an articulate and perfectly canned speech you blurt out to an employer, but your answers also need to showcase your experience, personality and talents.

Just like in business, you have to market yourself by showing them what you ‘bring to the table’, and be able to translate your ideas into a well-thought responses — without sounding arrogant. There are many things that you can do to become prepared, and you can leverage your chances of getting the job, by equipping yourself with proper response – by practicing with the following questions:

  1. Why should we hire you in our translator position?
  2. How many languages can you translate? What are these languages?
  3. What types of clients or people do your typically work with?
  4. How long have you been working as a translator? What made you leave your last translation job?
  5. How many years of experience do you hold, working as a translator?
  6. How do you see yourself ten years from now, in your translation career?
  7. What type of dilemmas or problems have you encountered in your job as a translator, and what steps did you do to overcome it or deal with it?
  8. Why do you want this translator job?
  9. What challenges are you looking for, in this position?
  10. Why do you enjoy being a translator?

By preparing for the aforementioned questions, you must let your employer or interviewer know that you are the best for their position, and present your qualifications to them, justifying why.

How to Become a Translator

To become a translator, the first thing to do is have all the certification or accreditation proving that you have been certified . You can earn these documents by enrolling in a certified university or school that centers around language translation. In America, for example, those who want to become a certified translator, enroll in the American Translator’s Association. You can also take language proficiency tests, like the Defense Language Proficiency Test, to prove yourself to clients that you are, indeed, fluent in the specific language that you are going to translate. Also, be weary of taking on too many unnecessary student loans, during enrollment, as this can lead to debt that can haunt you for the rest of your career. If you have already made this mistake, a Transunion Dispute can help you turn things around, and help you become more financially competent.

The best way to get trained as a translator is to work under a mentor who is a professional trainer, and can teach the day-to-day objectives of being a good translator. You can also take the self-study approach, using reliable online sources that can help you further refine your skills in translating languages from different cultures. Furthermore, you can enroll in any certified online translator training program, for the sake of convenience.

In terms of experience, a lot of employers would choose a certified or professional translator who has already been in the field for up to 5 years, because they have a real-world acquaintance with the profession. Thus, as much as possible, it’s better if you have already worked in a field related to language translation; for example, like being a translator of foreign languages, as a tour guide, or an online language teacher or any other profession related to being a translator.

Based on the U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics, a translator can earn an average salary of $49,320 per year, and a great way to get introduced to this field, is by the Certified Translation Professional Program, as it is one of the most popular training programs that serves as the only program that allows anyone to complete it, in just 2 to 4 months – with 100% certification.

One of the skills that are taught in the program is being a legal translators – that is, those who specialize in translating legal documents, like passports, tax documents or will documents. Needless to say, laymen who are unacquainted with the gobbledygook of legalese, will seek the assistance & clarity provided legal interpreters.

What technical skills are needed for translators?

The skills that are needed are:

  • Outstanding writing skills in your own language.
  • Good reading and comprehension skills in other languages.
  • A wide array of knowledge about the culture of both your native and source language.
  • Literate in computer and has good computer skills.
  • Good interpersonal skills.
  • Has finished a degree or earn a certificate in the translation field.
  • Good credit. Some employers believe that they can gauge a prospective employer’s credibility by how they manage their finances; if bad credit is a problem for you, an Experian Dispute can help give you a fighting chance, if you’re subjected to credit checks by a prospective employer.

There are many other translator certification programs online, like Ashford University, Colorado State University, Southern New Hampshire University and Walden University – and, above all, the Certified Translation Professional Program.

The benefits to being a translator, is that it can provide you with multicultural experience, provide you with a high salary (in a relatively short period of time) – and it also makes for an interesting life that challenges your brain to think critically. And for those that are not sure , the difference between an interpreter and a translator is, the interpreter translates orally, while the translator translates and interprets written documents (or texts).

To become a successful translator is quite easy, just learn to comply with the deadline and be willing to adjust to cultural trends. Always try you’re best to improve yourself, like enrolling in any institution that will help you grow in your chosen field. Practice makes perfect. If you find it hard, at first, it will get easier as you progress. To become a good translator, it is best for you to study both your native language and other foreign languages. You should also know the ethics and the industry’s best practices.

What are the top tips for translators?

  • Do not accept jobs with impossible deadlines.
  • Do not accept a project which you know is not within your abilities.
  • Do not hesitate to ask questions.
  • Do not immediately accept work if you don’t know who your customers are.
  • Do not proceed with the job until you have agreed on a rate.

How can I find a translation job?

Finding a job in the translation field is easy. You can search for a lot of freelance company translators that are hiring online translators. You can also go to the job directory, to look for translator jobs that are available, worldwide.

What are the top translation career mistakes?

Among the top translation career mistakes are as follows:

  1. Doing verbatim translation.
  2. Not translating the text well.
  3. Exaggerating every word.
  4. Taking on unnecessary debts. Some companies may chose not to hire a person because their bad credit may reflect negatively on them. To combat this, an Equifax Dispute can help a person overcome any credit issue they may have – so that, when you do apply for a job as a translator, you won’t get overlooked because of a bad financial decision that was made several years ago.


How Do Translators Typically Work?

Translators enable cross-cultural communication by converting one language into another, which is very necessary in our society today. However, the translators do more than translating words, but also relay ideas and concepts between the languages. They completely understand the subject matter and are able to convert any information, from the source language, into the target language. Furthermore, they’re also aware of the cultures that are associated with the languages they are fluent in.

The work of translators may vary in subject matter, writing style and length. When they initially receive the text to be converted into another language, they will first read it completely, in order to get the subject’s idea. Next, they will identify and find the unfamiliar words. A lot of readings are necessary for the translators, before they start to actually write and finalize the work. Translators sometimes do additional research on subject matters, if there’s something unclear in the text – they will even consult with the agency that issued the subject matter (or the text’s originator), in order to clarify the unfamiliar words, ideas or acronyms.

Translating work involves more than just replacing the words with its verbal equivalent from another language. The ideas and sentences needs to be manipulated to flow with similar coherence (as presented in the source document) so that the translation will read as if it was originated from target language. The great translators always takes into account the cultural references that that is aimed at the intended audience – such as the slang, colloquialisms and many other expressions – that can’t be translated literally. Some of the subjects can be more difficult to translate as compared to others that are not, because the passages or words may have several meanings that makes translation possible. Because of this, you can expect that the translated work will need to go through several revisions before the submission of the final text.