translation career

Career in Translation

Yashwant Kale Career Guidance Leave a Comment

Technology and trade are unifying the world like never before. With the breakdown of trade barriers and the fluid movement of populations across borders, translation has become a necessity for the people of different countries to understand each other. In a country as diverse as India, with its plethora of languages and dialects, translation is essential even for people from different regions to understand one another. A translator is a person who builds communication lines between people who read, write and speak different languages.

Industry prospects

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is flooding into India from China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, etc. The foreign investors need translators to help them to connect to their Indian partners, etc.;
Multinational companies are (MNC) are planning to set up production facilities in India and need translators to support their market survey, feasibility studies, etc. before investment is committed;
And Indian MNCs looking to set up or purchase production facilities abroad also have requirements of foreign language specialists;
Evalueserve has projected a requirement of more than 150,000 trained foreign language career builders for the BPO and KPO industry in India;


A student who is interested in making a career as a translator can choose to study for a, Degree or a Diploma or a Certificate . To be eligible to study for a Certificate or a Degree course, the candidate should have completed 10+2 or Higher Secondary Certificate or any equivalent examination. Degree courses are normally of three years duration.
The eligibility criterion for diploma courses in most of the institutes is that the candidate should have completed a certificate course.

Alliance Francaise is the centre for study of French and conducts tests such as Test of Evaluation of French (TEF), Test de Connaissance du Francais (TCF) and Test de d’Evaluation du Francais (TEF). The French Ministry of Education also conducts DELF and DALF tests and diplomas.
The Alliance Francaise conducts courses for French and Max Mueller Bhavan for German in New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.

Japanese Information and Cultural Centre conducts classes for Japanese. The Mombusho Scholars Association of India conducts a language test for Japanese.
The Indo-Italian Chamber of Commerce conducts classes for Italian

Leading institutes

i.School of Language, Literature and Cultural Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi (selection on the basis of performance in entrance test);
ii.The Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Hyderabad;
iii.Instituto Hispania, Spanish Language and Cultural Centre;
iv.Indo-Japanese Association, Mumbai;
v.Instituto Camoes-Portuguese Cultural Centre, New Delhi;
vi.JN Academy of Languages, New Delhi;
vii.Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu – Post Graduate Diploma in Translation Studies and M.A. in Applied Linguistics and Translation;
viii.Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla – M.Phil.;
ix.Pt. Ravishankar Shukla University, Raipur – Certificate Course in Translation;
x.Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada University, Nanded – Certificate Course in Translation;
xi.University of Pune – Certificate and Diploma Courses in Translation;
xii.Visva–Bharati University, Santiniketan – M.A. in Functional Hindi Translation;
xiii.University of Hyderabad – Post Graduate Diploma in Translation Studies;
xiv.Symbiosis Institute of Foreign Languages, Pune;
xv.The Ramakrishnan Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata;
xvi.Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi;
xvii.Amity School of Languages, NOIDA;
xviii.The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad

Job Profile

The basic work profile of a translator is to convert information from the original language into the desired language. The translator has to retain the basic structure and style of the original language, using appropriate slang, where necessary, the original ideas and facts, keeping in mind that accuracy is the essential ingredient of an effective translation. Written translation is usually the product of computer aided translation tools. The future career path will depend upon the person and the line of activity that is selected for furthering the career. The options are
i.Diplomatic Service;
ii.Tourist Guide;
iii.Foreign Language Trainer;
iv.Research Associate;
v.Air Hostess or Flight Steward;
vi.Public Relations Officer;
vii.Translator for multinational companies (MNC) or government organizations;
viii.Freelance writer or translator;

Employment Skills

Command over the source and target languages
Should be clear, accurate and computer savvy
Skilled in research
Knowledge of economics, history, law, politics, scientific concepts
Quick learning ability and passion to excel

Prospective Employers

A foreign language specialist could make a career in translation as a freelancer or else could seek employment. Employment opportunities would be available with embassies, international organisations, publishing houses, radio stations, airlines, trade organizations, hospitality sector, export agencies, etc.

Compensation Packages

A beginning in the career of a translator could be made at a monthly salary between Rs.10,000/- to Rs.15,000/-. Monthly salary for teachers of foreign languages ranges from Rs.15,000/- to Rs.25,000/-. Professionals employed in the Public Relations or Marketing Department of MNCs earn between Rs.30,000/- to Rs.50,000/- per month.
Freelance translators making a career in written translation can earn between Rs. 50/- to Rs.100/- per page of translated material.

Pluses and minuses

i. As a freelancer you have the flexibility to choose your work and your working hours;
ii. There are good prospects of travelling abroad on assignments;

i. Deadlines can be very demanding;
ii. Plenty of competition from every linguist in the market;

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