Can You Get A Job As A Translator/Interpreter?

translatorFor many of our students, once they master a new language to a professional level, they begin to think about using their skills in a productive and corporate setting.

That might mean working for a company based in a foreign country (or moving to that country yourself), and having day to day responsibilities and tasks assigned in that language.

For others, it might mean seeking a job as a foreign language interpreter or translator.

If that’s the route you want to take, there are a few things to consider before you start applying.

You Need Near-Native Fluency

We’re not going to mislead you: the competition for work as a translator in many languages is extremely high.

If you learned a language as a second language, chances are you will have a difficult time getting a high paying translator job right off the bat.

The reality is that you need not just a working professional grasp of the language (which is achievable for most people in 1-2 years of working on a language), but near native fluency.

You’ll need to be able to understand not just the words on the page, but the meaning and significance of those words, along with any unwritten implications they may carry.

Naive translators often think that they can simply translate documents word for word, but the reality is that you have to understand the culture as well as the language.

Even then, there is little to no room for error as a professional translator. Those little mistakes you make as a second language speaker, like using the wrong preposition, for example, that might easily slide by in an office, don’t go well when you work as a translator.

Since you’ll be competing against individuals who have native fluency and learned English as a second language while very young, it’s going to be tough.

Start Online

Tough doesn’t mean impossible.

To get your foot in the door, we recommend you start out with an online company, like, or another similar program.

These “on-demand” services don’t have the highest wages in the industry, but they are a great way to build experience and practice your technique to prepare for a more prestigous position with a professional firm.

It’s also a great way to work because you can often work as little or as much as you’d like, making it a good part time job while you’re still studying and getting ready to enter the professional world.If you go this route, find a single company to work for, rather than freelancing through sites like Those freelance marketplaces rarely pay well, and you’ll waste countless hours continuously applying for small jobs, rather than have a company take care of the administrative and job search side of things for you.