Next steps in translation career

Next Step in Translation Career: Question for Readers

Hey everyone.

I recently got a question from a reader about the next steps she should take in pursuing a translation career.

Here it is:

I’m 22 and just graduated from Indiana University Northwest last December with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish. Going into college, all I knew was that I love the language, and it wasn’t until my senior year when I took an introductory translation class that I realized how much I’d enjoy that type of work.

I then decided to head over to Purdue University Calumet to get their Certificate in Spanish Translation, since I feared a degree with a title as broad as “Spanish” would get me nowhere. Currently, I’m only one course away from earning it.

So my question is, with what I have under my belt now, where can I work? I know that in the near future I will definitely want further education that is specialized (I’m thinking along the lines of audiovisual and/or literary translation), but I don’t exactly have the funds for that right now; what kinds of businesses or government agencies could I apply to in the meantime so that I obtain some real experience in the industry?

Is there anyone that would hire someone like me, who has a very basic understanding of translation as a skill but who nonetheless has studied Spanish for the past eleven years?

Is it unreasonable and unrealistic to hope that I don’t have too difficult a time finding a full-time job, an actual career?

If so, what about a paid internship? Would that be a good move for someone pursuing a translation career?

Obviously I’m not going to be picky with the sorts of translations I might have to do and the types of documents I might have to work with. As long as I can deal with Spanish on a regular basis I’ll be happy, until I’m able to go back to school and hone my skills. It should be said that, until I have more schooling and training, I’m not comfortable starting out as a freelance translator, unless that is the only route I can take at this point.

So what do you all think?

What advice do you have for our fellow translator pursuing a translation career?

Post your comments and thoughts below.


P.S. If you want to become a successful freelance translator, a good choice would be to read my book.

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