Thursday, February 2, 2012

How much would you get paid professionally translating German, English and French?

Hi :) I'm 15 and I really love languages and I would like to be a translator when I'm older. I'm doing my GCSEs at the moment and I do French and German and I am from Northern Ireland so I already speak English fluently. I would like to do French, German and Geography for A Level then I'd like to do French and German at University.

I want to become a professional translator, both translating from English into German and French, and from German and French to English and I was wondering how much you would get paid for it. (:How much would you get paid professionally translating German, English and French?
Not as much as you might suppose, unless you managed to get a sought-after post in an international organisation. Translators increasingly do their work for love rather than money. The freelance rates haven't budged for at least a decade and some people are even having to cut their charging rate to compete with people working in developing countries for practically nothing. Another problem is the use of computers to translate, with human beings being paid paltry rates to "edit" what the machine produced (which in practice can mean doing it all over again!). I'll attach a website where professional (or so-called professional) translators show their rates, so you can see what the current competition is.鈥?/a>

The other thing you must bear in mind is that the golden rule of translation is that you only translate into your mother tongue. A degree is not enough, unless you take a degree in translation and interpreting skills, and so you would need a postgraduate qualification. Even so, you would have to consider what specialised subjects you could offer in order to compete with others. I think that your best course might be to take a hybrid degree which would offer some background in something more than languages (e.g. business studies) so that you have something to fall back on if your languages do not provide you with a living. You might be better off working in some other field and doing translations as a hobby until such time as you feel you can earn enough to make it worthwhile doing them full time. Keep your options open!

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