Careers and Employability Service

I want to work in Interpreting or Translating

Job roles


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

    Job roles

    Prospects Occupational Profiles:

    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.





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Last Updated: 12/02/2021