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Translators predominantly work with business, technical, legal and scientific written materials including letters, reports, articles, books etc. Their work incorporates:

  • reading documents

  • writing and editing copies

  • preparing summaries

  • consulting clients

  • developing contacts and using translation computer programmes


Qualifications and training required


A language degree is normally the minimum academic requirement for entry. For graduates without a relevant background, or for language graduates whose studies did not include translation, a postgraduate translation qualification is necessary.

There is also a recognised Diploma in Translation offered by the Institute of Linguists. Areas of expertise, such as scientific, technical or legal knowledge can be beneficial. Practical translation work, an EU stage or any other commercial or administrative experience is useful.


Key skills for translators


  • Ability to work to deadlines

  • Good general knowledge

  • Excellent spoken and written English

  • Fluency in at least two foreign languages

  • IT skills


Typical employers of translators


  • Translation companies

  • Commercial and industrial organisations

  • The European Union

  • The Civil Service

  • International bodies such as the United Nations

Many translators are self-employed or freelance, paid per word according to language so earnings can depend on translation speeds.


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