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Translator

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Translators change the written word from one language into one or more other languages. They can work on a range of projects, such as scientific, technical or legal texts, or choose to specialise in one area of expertise. Most translators work in their native language, translating other languages into English.

The Work

You could be:

Pay

The figures below are only a guide. Actual salaries may vary, depending on:

The starting salary for translators working in the UK full time is around £18,000 and £21,000 per year. With experience this could rise to £30,000 or more a year.

Salaries in international organisations tend to be higher. Translators at the European Commission start on grade AD5, which has a salary of €4,637 to €5,247 (approximately £4,140 to £4,684) a month. This rises with experience.

Freelance translators are normally paid per thousand words (daily output normally ranges from about 2,000 to 3,000 words). Rates are generally between £50 and £150 per thousand, but can be between £100 and £300 for more unusual languages, difficult text or translators with a particularly good reputation.

Although work can be irregular, many translators enjoy the flexibility and variety that freelance work can bring.

Conditions

Workforce Employment Status

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Getting In

Workforce Education Levels (UK)

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Job Outlook Scotland

Employment

Unemployment

Percentage of workforce registered as unemployed (Scotland)

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Job Outlook Scotland and UK

  Scotland
2018
1548
1 %
RISE
2023
1564
  United Kingdom
2018
31308
0.9 %
RISE
2023
31605

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What Does it Take?

You need to have:

You need to be:

Training

Getting On

More Information

The Association for Language Learning website has information on careers with languages. Look in Contacts for a link to the site.

Check the Institute of Translating and Interpreting bulletin for job vacancies for translators (available online). You can visit the European Union website for more careers information.

The United Nations careers website also has useful information.

The European Commission and European Parliament offers a small number of translation traineeships with the Directorate General for Translation (DGT), which lasts five months. This helps graduates gain work experience in an EU institution.

The DGT recruits translators usually every year, in June or July, dependent on requirements. These recruitment drives are called competitions and are announced on their website (see 'Contacts' below).

Contacts

The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Association for Language Learning
Tel: 0116 478 8200
E-mail: info@all-languages.org.uk
Website: http://www.all-languages.org.uk
Twitter: @ALL4language
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alllanguages.org.uk

Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL)
Tel: 020 7940 3100
Website: http://www.iol.org.uk/
Twitter: @CIOLinguists
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/charteredinstituteoflinguists

European Commission Office in Scotland
Tel: 0131 225 2058
Website: https://ec.europa.eu/unitedkingdom/node/208_en
Twitter: @EUCommScotland
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EuropeanCommissionInScotland

The website for translation services is http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/translation/index_en.htm and for interpretation is http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/scic/index_en.htm

Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI)
Tel: 01908 325250
E-mail: info@iti.org.uk
Website: http://www.iti.org.uk/
Twitter: @ITIUK
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Institute-of-Translation-and-Interpreting/304612726280321

SCILT, Scotland's National Centre for Languages
Tel: 0141 444 8163
E-mail: scilt@strath.ac.uk
Website: http://www.scilt.org.uk
Twitter: @scottishcilt
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scilt-Scotlands-National-Centre-for-Languages/134104326617554

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