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Multilingual? Translating or Interpreting Could Be the Career for You!

A Guest Post by Emma Grace Brown

Multilingual? Translating or Interpreting Could Be the Career for You!

If you're bilingual or multilingual, it's likely that someone has asked you to translate or interpret for them at one point or another. It happens all over the world every day. Take advantage of your knowledge by becoming a professional translator or interpreter.

Types of Translating Jobs

Translating comes in many forms. Sometimes, a written copy is translated in advance, and sometimes things must be interpreted on the spot. While the terms are generally used interchangeably, translating usually refers to written work, and interpreting relates to spoken language. Some common positions in the industry include:

  • Community interpreters. Provide services for individuals in everyday settings, such as schools, public meetings, and other local events.

  • Literary translators. Convert novels, articles, poetry, and other written works into other languages.

  • Medical interpreters and translators. Attend health appointments, translate studies and brochures, and assist medical professionals or patients with interpreting.

  • Legal interpreters and translators. Attend legal proceedings and convert documents and conversations between languages.

Though laws differ between states, some certifications or certificates may be required to work as a translator or interpreter, especially in the health and legal fields.

Getting Ready to Work

Once you've decided on the type of work you want to do and you've finished any necessary training or certifications, you're ready to get to work. Most interpreters and translators work as contractors, setting up their own businesses. This requires a few tasks to get started and to maintain operations.

Create a Business Plan

One of the most important things you can do to set yourself up for success is to create a business plan. This document lays out your procedures and policies, goals, marketing strategies, structure, and any financial needs you may have. Though this service generally doesn't require much start-up funding, if you do need a loan, most lenders will want to see your business plan during the application process.

Making Connections and Finding Work

Find the agencies in Goshen currently handling translation/interpreting contracts for hospitals, lawyers, annual festivals, and schools. If you're working on your own, these are the people you need to contract with to begin working in these fields. Though individuals occasionally hire interpreters and translators directly, most work comes from a larger agency, particularly initially. As your reputation grows, your services will be requested more often, and you may be able to begin regularly bypassing agencies or start your own translating/interpreting business.


When you work as a contractor, you're in charge of your own paycheck. You'll need a process for invoicing the agency or individual you're working with. It's important to set up your policies in your business plan and stick to them as best you can. Start with an invoice template for a simple way to customize your invoices with your name, logo, brand colors, and other information, and ensure you don't forget any important information.

Working as a Translator or Interpreter

Language services utilize a skill that many people struggle with: knowledge of multiple languages. Perks of working in the field include learning new things, setting your own schedule, and sometimes even travel. It doesn't take long to train, write your business plan, set up your invoicing processes, and get started. Visit Ana Professional Language Services, based in Goshen, to access a well-respected community interpreting training program as well as one-on-one coaching.

Image via Pexels

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