Which is the best route to become a Translator

Hi all you translators out there. My 17 year old son is currently in terminale studying for the BAC S. In a few months we have to decide his next step. He is thinking of becoming a translator. He’s obviously fluent in English and French, and he also has studied Spanish and German.

He’s very good with people as well as languages, so I think he’s thinking of maybe working with company using his language skills rather than being a self employed translater, translating documents. Although it’s early days, so who know what he’ll end up doing.

He’s thinking of going to a Fac in Toulouse and doing a Masters in English and then doing a translators unit within the course. Do you think this is the right way to do it? Does anyone out there know what his options might be?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated thank you.

Hi Nikki
I agree with Dorothy, although what you’re both referring to is called simultaneous interpreting, i.e. translation in real time. It is extremely pressurised, to the extent that interpreters usually work 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. The biggest employer of interpreters is the EU. Another option would be to work for an international company and use his languages to deal with English-speaking clients. This could also open the door to travel…

Hi Teresa
Check out the Chartered Institute of Linguists website at www.iol.org.uk for information on their diploma in translation. I think you can sit their exam at the British Council in Paris. Good luck :slight_smile:

Yes that would be interesting to know for others too.

Thanks for your reply Dorothy. It’s good to know that he’s veering towards the right choice. He already has experience of simultaneous translation (didn’t know that’s what it was called, so thanks) - he’s been doing it for us and many of our friends with French (and occasionally Spanish) since he was about 11 and he’s very good at it. I think he doesn’t realise just how hard it is for most people to do.
As for you Dorothy, I don’t know - it’s never too late!

Hi Nikki,
I’m afraid I can’t help for your son, but I’d be interested in someone advising me on a good translating qualification that can be prepared by distance learning. I already do technical document translations for a couple of companies (French to English) but I’d feel happier if I could get a qualification.

I think that’s probably a good, possibly the best, way to go - the thing about translating that not a lot of people realise is that requires you to have experience of not just language, garmmar and vocabulary, but many and varied contexts and the only way to get those under your belt is to read and/or study widely.
Becoming a simultaneous translator would open up career opportunities like the EU or the ONU or other international prospects. I don’t do simultaneous translation and am always very impressed, not to say awed, by people who can do it - if I were starting from square one again, it’s a skill I’d like to acquire (but being on square 99, I’ll just beetle along as I am).