If you are lucky enough to possess multilingual skills and can speak more than two or three languages fluently, then it absolutely makes sense to consider a career as a translator. If you aspire and looking that how do you become a translator, conducting a little research into your chosen field is important as it can prepare you for the road ahead.

Translation versus interpretation

Although, Translation and interpretation might sound like similar tasks, but they are completely separate jobs. Translation primarily deals with the written word and so all the finer linguistic and grammatical details must always be observed. Interpretation, on the other hand, deals with the spoken word and is a lot more flexible and fluid.

What do I need to become a translator?

There are no established requirements to get into the field of translating. However, most successful translators do share a number of skills and characteristics that allow them to do the job correctly. For instance, a good translator should have solid language skills. The willingness to engulf yourself in a project completely is also important because translation projects can get tedious and even overwhelming at times.

There are several ways to become a professional translator mainly because translators that specialize even in the subject areas often have different work histories, sets of qualifications and interests. So what is required exactly?


Translators do not require qualifications or accreditations. Most of the courses offered today in universities and colleges are still relatively new. Therefore, what you need the most to become a translator is the passion and the self-drive to learn what is required outside of an academic environment. Some people start as freelancers while others look for projects individually.


Some projects require a lot of technical knowledge in one subject area. In such a case, prior experience may be necessary and invaluable. To ensure your work is of the highest quality, avoid working on complex texts or on projects that you have no experience in because you will struggle.


It goes without saying that people that are exposed to multiple cultures and different languages from a young age are more likely to succeed as translators that people who are not.  Multilingual individuals are best primed to handle the responsibilities of a translator because they are more likely to have a firm understanding of the formal and informal rules of the languages that they speak.

The best qualities

Some of the qualities that a translator should have include:

  • Capacity to manage time effectively.
  • The ability to commit oneself to the project at hand entirely.
  • Willingness to pay attention to detail.
  • Must have excellent written and communication skills.
  • A firm understanding of your chosen nation’s culture.
  • Endless curiosity.