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I Want to Work in Translating, Interpreting or Subtitling


PROFILE: Translator

INVOLVES: Translating documents from a foreign language into your mother-tongue. These may be scientific/technical (e.g. patents, instruction manuals), legal, financial, commercial & occasionally literary.
EMPLOYERS: International organisations; multinational companies; translation agencies; Government bodies. Many translators are self-employed
RELATED JOBS: interpreter; teacher of English as a foreign language; modern languages teacher; bilingual secretary.
SATISFACTIONS: Using languages; flexibility; independence
NEGATIVES: Work alone - may feel isolated. Working under pressure to meet deadlines. For freelance translators: uncertainty; no regular work pattern; no guaranteed salary.
SKILLS: written communication, using languages, analysing, using computers.
ADVANCEMENT: Career progression may be by developing knowledge of further languages or areas of expertise. Setting up own translation agency.
DEGREE: A degree in languages (single or joint honours) will be required unless you are bilingual or fluent in a second language. A language combined with another relevant subject, such as science, engineering, law or business would be particularly useful. Languages other than mainstream European ones also an advantage.
POSTGRADUATE STUDY: MA or postgraduate diploma courses in translation very useful.
TIPS: Experience living/working overseas, or in a relevant business sector useful.


Interpreting is a tiny and stressful career area, which can be difficult to break into on a full-time basis. Employers include international organisations but, as with translators, many interpreters are freelance.

Prospects Occupational Profiles:

Why we still need translators ....

Google Translate translated:

"The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak "

into Russian and came up with

"The vodka is good but the meat is rotten"


To find postgraduate or vocational courses in translation or interpreting, you should use one or more of the following:

Careers in Subtitling

To become a subtitler you require an interest in language and excellent articulation. You need to be able to work well under pressure and have experience of working to tight deadlines. Degrees in languages or literature tend to be preferred.

General information

Subtitling services specialising in translation services

Real Time Subtitling

Media directories list services such as translation and subtitling



Also see our Language Careers page

Last fully updated 2014


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