Until recently, the profession of a translator was associated with working in a dusty publishing house, between a stack of dictionaries and a typewriter. Today, in the era of remote, outsourcing and freelance work, translation agencies grow up like mushrooms after a rain shower and employ specialists in increasingly exotic languages. So how does such work look like?
When time is of the essence, it's worth to focus on teamwork. Then even a dozen or so people can work on one job at a time. Not only does this shorten the time of order completion, but also helps to avoid 'material fatigue' and the use of an interpreter. For example, it would certainly be difficult for one person to work out 500 pages of the source text efficiently and brilliantly, but when this number is spread over 10 or more people, it is a completely different perspective. Moreover, it is worth noting that the team consists not only of translators, but also proofreaders or coordinators of specific projects. All of them must be flexible and open to customer needs. In the reality of picture culture, graphic elements, images and icons are also increasingly being translated. This opens up a field for 'desktop publishing' (DTP) specialists.
The translators are selected for specific projects according to their qualifications and competence to translate specific texts, e.g.: technical, medical, legal. Thus, apart from the absolute basis, i.e. perfect knowledge of the language, specialization in a specific field is much more valuable. It is worth to have these advantages documented in order to be able to certify in the right moment with a university diploma or a completed relevant course.
The stereotype of a freelancer sleeping in bed with a laptop until noon and drinking coffee unhurriedly has little to do with the real life of a freelancer. Reality and mathematics are inexorable - as much as you translate, you earn.
Professionals are able to translate on average about 10 billing pages per day. But some water in the Vistula River will run out before the amateur translator gets to the point where the text can be translated. You can read about the latest technological solutions for managing the translation process at: https://www.xtrf.eu/services/.
Undeniably, this work comes at a price of flexibility and availability. It often happens that clients of translation agencies also expect to work at weekends, on holidays or during non-standard hours. Especially when dealing with international projects and cooperating with clients from other time zones.
Working or cooperating with a large agency gives an opportunity to meet many people, many cultures, and even travel around the world. So what is worth investing in? As we mentioned earlier, specialisations are included in the price. In English, the 'gaudy' and valued areas are: energy and communication, pharmaceutics and pharmacology and medical equipment. In Germany, on the other hand, engineering, construction and motorization are very popular.
Regardless of the language, there are also specialisations that are in constant demand. These include: ability to translate commercial and civil law contracts, commercial company law or accounting principles. Generally speaking, it is worth knowing something that others do not know or know very little. Just like in the whole business world, the principle applies in the sphere of translations: the higher the competences, the greater the demand, and the less known specialization, the more it is sought after and properly valued.
In addition to the translation of written texts, the tasks of translators also include interpreting: among these we distinguish simultaneous or consecutive interpreting.
Simultaneous interpreting, i.e. interpreting on an ongoing basis, without a previously prepared text, is most often used in larger meetings, where interpreters work in soundproof booths, listening to the speech through headphones and simultaneously interpreting it. Participants who do not know the language of the speaker are wearing headphones in which they can hear the interpretation. This type of interpreting is considered to be the most difficult, but at the same time the most cost-effective from the interpreters' point of view.
Another type of translation is consecutive. In this case the interpreter listens to the speaker and takes notes with a special system. Then, using the notes, he reproduces the speech. The consecutive interpreter focuses on conveying the speaker's most important thoughts, not on their form. Nowadays, due to the development of technology and the increasing popularity of simultaneous interpreting, consecutive interpreting is becoming obsolete.