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Many languages, many opportunities

Tue, 07/31/2012 - 11:35 -- admin

Geetha Shammanna, a professional translator in German who has been working in this field for three years in Bangalore, gives some useful tips for those aspiring to a career as a translator

Innovations such as screen readers as well as the increased popularity of the Internet have opened crucial windows of opportunity for the blind. One of the career options that has become a reality in the wake of this technological revolution is translation.


Alliance Francaise:

Max Mueller Bhavan:

Beginner Japanese tutorial:

Intermediate and advanced English and German courses especially designed for the blind by the European Union:

A good site for locating translation jobs and agencies:

Indian translation agencies:

A list for blind and low vision translators and interpreters and their interested professors:

If you are still studying and are interested in pursuing a career as a translator, start early. Identify the international language/s that interest you, and start learning them. With China's marvellous metamorphosis into an economic power to be reckoned with, the demand for Chinese translators and interpreters is soaring. Mastering the Chinese language, therefore, ensures an easy ride in the job market. Other languages for which demand still exceeds supply are Japanese, German and French.

Dos and Don'ts

  • Ensure that you learn the Braille script of the language. This will enormously increase your fluency of the language.
  • Practise your written skills in the language as much as possible.
  • Pay special attention to the field you intend to specialise in.
  • Read extensively. This is essential in order to improve your command of the language. The Internet is an excellent resource for books and other material.
  • Use every opportunity to speak the language with a native speaker.
  • Cultivate good writing skills in the target language. A translator is first and foremost a good writer. Ensure that you are able to express yourself well in the target language.

Once you complete your language courses, begin identifying translation and interpreting jobs. Translators and interpreters are hired by multinationals with operations in several countries, hotels, holiday resorts, travel agencies and so on. Depending on your aptitude, identify the area that you could potentially specialise in.

The importance of computer skills cannot be overemphasised. Although learning languages has very little to do with working on the computer, in order to be able to succeed in this profession, the mastery of good computer skills is essential.

Like most jobs, translation jobs are primarily advertised in newspapers and on job sites on the Internet. Identify the kind of job that interests you most and begin the search.

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