Become a Professional Document Translator in 5 Steps

    Danilo Coviello

    Translations and interpretations connect people and have been touted as a vital business tool. We are a professional document translator company, offering translation services to clients that need language solutions.

    What to do to become a professional translator

    Becoming a professional quality document translator is just like any other profession–you need to work hard in order to become adept at it. Though the career is personally and financially rewarding, you need to dedicate time, energy, and resources to reap the benefits. Here are the five steps to becoming a professional document translator:

    1. Training & Qualifications

    Adequate training is required to become a professional document translator or language interpreter. You need to be proficient in at least two languages, and the more languages you speak, the better your chances are of rising in this career. A high school diploma is not enough; you stand a better chance of being hired when you have a college degree. There are translators who are better in some subjects, and this gives them a chance of getting unique opportunities.

    2. Get Certified

    After getting a proper education, you must apply for certification. There is no serious employer that will not ask for this certification to practice as a translator; no matter how good you are at your language pair, you need the certification to prove it.

    Are you starting on a translations career? Become a certified translator and join the list of other translators in this lucrative field. Potential employers or clients can easily find you through directories.

    3. Be Proficient

    Did you know that there are language proficiency tests for professional document translators? You can enroll in a document translation course with a school or a translation firm. This helps those interested in this field to push their language skills to the next level. You can also find organizations with proficiency programs for some chosen languages.

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    It is recommended for translators to take these tests if they are looking to improve their language skills, and start earning money. The certificates awarded for any tests passed improve a translator’s profile and can increase their chances of getting hired.

    4. Seek Experience

    You can get knowledge from learning institutions, but real-world experience can only be acquired from employment platforms. Every employer is looking for an experienced person, and those that are just starting out can gain this experience by volunteering or through internships. Work of this nature introduces you to the working world, and exposes you to the translation process.

    Until you are able to translate pages or entire documents without struggling, you’ll need to continue your training. No matter how small your first job is, embrace the opportunity as a training platform, and an opportunity to gain experience.

    5. Put Yourself Out There

    Are you seeking a permanent job as a translator,or are you hoping to grow your translation passion into a business? Marketing yourself and getting your name out there is important. Self-marketing has become easier, with digital platforms open to all. Invest in a website or blog to market your services to the world; a simple post on a social platform can let the world know of your existence.

    Characteristics of a good translator

    It takes determination to be a translator, but in order to turn your knowledge and experience into a money-making business, there are other characteristics you must develop.


    A client trusts their professional document translator to go through their documents–no matter the level of confidentiality. Are you a translator that can be trusted to not leak any information about your client? This is a characteristic that you need to develop and maintain if you want to remain in business. Stay loyal to your client and they will keep coming back for your services.

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    Document translation services require commitment because no matter the language you are translating into, the information must be the same in both languages. Are you a document translator that is committed to your work?

    Commitment is also what pushes a translator to seek ways to improve their services. Are you dedicated, responsive, and flexible enough to meet your client’s deadlines? Professionalism is what most clients are looking for—and remember: A committed, professional translator has higher chances of getting referral clients and opportunities.


    A client or an agency retains a translator who can follow their rules and instructions. A professional document translator pays attention to the details as specified by the client or employer. Project guidelines and parameters will vary, depending on the client’s location or profession. Have knowledge of the laws and legalities involved with the client’s profession, or even those observed in that country. There are rules and regulations to be compliant with and your translation needs to adhere to these as well.


    Every profession calls for determination, and document translation is not any different. You are looking to grow in the translation profession, and your determination will have everything to do with your success. Keep up to date in your language of specialization, and your career will definitely grow.

    A determined translator has an urge to keep learning, and keep up with any changes in the profession. Research the changing skills required in the profession, and always keep an eye to any specific terminology changes. Clients retain determined service providers, and in most cases, refer others to them.

    Every profession is prone to changes, and you cannot be relevant if you are not determined to learn; continue to invest in learning, researching, and training. Your determination to improve your skills is not a waste because it helps you stand out among your colleagues (or rivals!).


    Language translation and document interpretation is a worthwhile and profitable profession. Master your languages, have knowledge of the subjects you are specializing in, and do thorough industry research. Be committed to delivering high-quality, fast, consistent work—and your efforts will certainly be rewarded.