How and Why to Become a Translator

To become a translator, it is important to know that there are three types of translation: literal, formal and functional. The first type translates words from one language into another without changing the meaning while the second converts written text into speech or sign language. The third type conveys an idea rather than specific wording like a poem would do. Translators need these skills in order to understand what they are translating so they can make meaningful changes.

In order to become a translator, one must have the ability to translate and speak multiple languages. In addition, they must be able to work with various people in different countries. They also need to have an understanding of the language they are translating from.

Today, we continue our So You Want My Job series, in which we speak with guys who work in attractive male occupations and ask them about the realities of their positions as well as tips on how men might achieve their goals.

Greg Melchior was interviewed for this edition. Mr. Melchior has a career that many men would consider exotic: he works as an interpreter and translator in Japan. Thank you, Greg!


1. Tell us a bit about yourself (e.g., where do you come from?). What school did you attend? What is your age? Describe your current position and how long you’ve been there.

Greg Melchior is my name. I’m 31 years old and from from a tiny town in the Midwest. I received a bachelor’s degree in diplomacy and foreign affairs from Miami University (Ohio) and a master’s degree in Japanese from the University of Sheffield (UK). I’ve been in my present position for five years. I’ve worked on projects such as plasma mass spectrometers, movies, autos, consumer electronics, and financial reporting for two foreign governments.

2. What inspired you to pursue a career as an interpreter or translator? When did you realize it was something you wanted to do?

I’ve always wanted to do something a bit different. When a buddy of mine was touring Japan with his father, who is an official EU interpreter, I became interested in the profession. The two stayed at my apartment for a few days to visit the attractions around town, and we spoke about “the business” for hours. After then, everything was pretty well decided.

3. How should a guy prepare for a career as an interpreter or translator? What is the greatest way to get this job?

The duties of translation and interpretation are fundamentally different. The written word is involved in translation, and the finer linguistic elements must be carefully considered. Interpretation is a far more fluid and dynamic art since it works with the spoken word. When communication breaks down, you don’t have time to look up a dictionary.

To enter either field, there is no predetermined path or set of prerequisites. A strong command of the English language is required. There is no true test for fluency, but being able to describe how to tie your shoes in a foreign language without using gestures is a good sign. Both translation and interpretation training programs exist to assist you hone your language skills in preparation for the rigors of the work. You will require expert knowledge in a certain sector in addition to language abilities. Many individuals want to be a “one-stop shop,” but you can’t interpret something you don’t comprehend. Language is also a living entity. It’s continuously changing as new words and cultural references are added, so you’ll need a strong understanding of the cultures of the languages you’re working with as well as current events, which have a big influence on how we communicate.


4. What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?

You get to meet intriguing individuals while also assisting them in understanding one another. You may also see what happens behind the scenes in a variety of sectors and items before they reach (or don’t touch) the market. I’m never sure what will be on my desk next, so there’s always a feeling of anticipation.

5. What is the most difficult aspect of your job?

Deadlines are looming. The time-cost-quality triangle is unmistakably correct.

6. What is your favorite aspect about living in Japan? What do you miss the most about living in the United States?

I started my first “serious” work in Japan, and I’ve only lived here since. I’ve lived in both the countryside and the city, and I like the mix of old and new. If you’re visiting Japan, make a point of seeing the countryside.

I miss greasy spoon eateries where you can get breakfast at 2 a.m. every now and again.

7. What is the most common misunderstanding about the job?

I believe the most common misunderstanding about the work is that it just entails moving from one code to another. It’s not that simple. Language brings a lot of cultural baggage with it. Finding the perfect approach to explain ideas and reflect the correct undertones in the target language is a huge part of the work. And, no, comedy isn’t easily translated. Believe me when I say that.

8. How do you strike a work-life balance? How often do you get to visit your extended family and friends back in your hometown?

The work-family balance is determined by your employment situation. If you work for yourself, you may take more time off, but your salary will suffer as a result. Working in-house has a more corporate schedule (and there is a lot of overtime in Japan), but it also comes with perks like insurance and paid vacation days.

My wife and I used to go to the United States once a year to visit my family, but now that we have two tiny kids, the journey is too exhausting for them. The flight isn’t as unpleasant as you would think, but jet-lagged children aren’t conducive to a relaxed holiday. We’re considering meeting someplace in the middle, maybe Hawaii, till the boys are a bit older.

9. Is there a hierarchical structure in your workplace? If that’s the case, how can one “promote” inside the company?

“Moving up” is mostly determined by prior experience and work history. When you work as a freelancer, you develop a regular customer base and a professional reputation. You might potentially recruit employees and start your own firm.

10. Do you have any other advice, ideas, or stories to share?

The most essential thing is to excel at what you do while having fun doing it.



Watch This Video-

The “how to become a spanish translator” is a guide on how and why to become a translator. It also includes information about what you need for the job, as well as tips for becoming successful.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you want to become a translator?

A: I have a deep interest in the Russian language.

How do I get started as a translator?

A: To get started as a translator, you must first complete your undergraduate or graduate degree. Once completed, they recommend getting some relevant experience by considering freelance work on translation websites such as oDesk or Elance. They also suggest taking classes in the field if possible to make yourself more valuable when looking for jobs.

What skills do you need to be a translator?

A: A translator is a person who translates from one language to another, usually for the purpose of communication. As such, it requires knowledge in both languages and fluency with respect to their chosen profession.

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