Published: 03 June 2019

Top tips for working in the translation and interpreting industry

The School of Literature and Languages recently held a careers fair for MA Translation and Interpreting students, where a range of translation and language companies came to Surrey.  

translation/languages students with mic

The careers fair was an opportunity for the students to talk about their experience and showcase the skills they had acquired during their degree, and for the translation companies to present themselves to the students, with the chance to network afterwards.

Here are some top tips from companies that joined us at the careers fair this spring.

Surrey Translation Bureau – “Have a good, clear CV and use social media like LinkedIn. They are really good tools to use to display your skills and your qualifications, and get yourself out there.”

Star UK - “From a translator’s perspective, I found what’s particularly important is attention to detail. We deal with a lot of technical subject matters, so figures and facts are quite important to what we do. But also important is just a willingness to learn to be able to become an expert. That’s the nature of the industry, you have to become an expert in any given subject matter overnight.”

Transperfect – “You learn a lot on your degree, but you can’t beat that practical real-world experience. Make sure you’re targeting the right kind of businesses. So if you want to use CAT (computer-aided-translation) try and find companies that specialise or who work with it. So rather than targeting a marketing translation company where it might not be the right fit. Keep your CV updated and post online, there’s lots of free places like LinkedIn or Proz, so market yourself for free and not pay a penny. Definitely research that side as well and put yourself out there.”

Hogarth Worldwide – “Have enthusiasm. There’s a lot more services that we as a company offer; that means there’s lots of different niche skills that people can have and they can still fit within a bigger company like ours.”

Morningside Translation – “Pursue any role, experience is what matters in the end. Employers want to know how professional you are and how flexible you are and, whether you’ve really pursued the opportunities that are there. All employers have different things that they need, and seeing people who are willing is really key.”

When you study translation and interpreting at Surrey, you'll be guided through a range of versatile modules that will help you succeed with the tips above.

The module on ‘Business and Industry aspects of the Translation Profession’, sees students learn how to develop their CVs and market themselves “out there”.

The ‘Translation Technologies’ module teaches students all about computer-aided translation. In the ‘Specialist Translation’ modules, students are taught by professionals who bring their workplace experience, standards and up-to-date knowledge of the translation market into the classroom. Students are given the opportunity to translate texts in a range of different subjects, so that they can find out for themselves what kind of texts they want to specialise in.  They also develop attention to detail and advanced proofreading skills in peer-review and machine-translation post-editing exercises.

Optional modules allow students to customise their learning experience with different niche skills, from the language of advertising and multimedia texts to advanced corpus-linguistics tools and terminology extraction.

Discover more about the postgraduate language and translation courses on offer at Surrey.

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