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Convert written information from one language into another.

Salary Range

$30,000 - $50,000

What does a Translator do?

Translators take words written in one language and change them into another. They can work on anything from great pieces of literature to pamphlets for a medical office. The job of a translator is close to that of an interpreter, but a translator’s focus is only on written work.

Although there are now computer programs that translate words from one language to another, translating is more than just getting the right word. You need to be able to understand things like tone, purpose, and intended audience. Keeping these things in mind, you read the piece in its entirety, and translate the sentences in a way that makes sense.

As anyone who’s ever tried to get out of homework by using an online translation knows, languages have a lot of nuances. For example, some words have multiple meanings. Pick the wrong one and the writing can go from Shakespeare to completely unintelligible or, worse, offensive. So you have to be completely fluent in the specific vocabulary, including slang, of the language you’re translating.

Language structure can be another big hurdle. The placement of nouns, adjectives, and verbs varies depending on the language you’re using. If you try to translate directly, you’ll get a sentence that makes no sense. At best, it’ll sound like something a child wrote, and at worst, you’ll unknowingly insult someone’s mother.

This job is mostly done on a freelance basis, and many in this field concentrate on one area. You can work for a medical, law, or business office.

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