Career Options in Translation, Interpretation and Foreign Language Studies

I created the following infographic as a result of my research to uncover areas where my writing and language skills would be needed the most and used to its full potential.  Although most of us have an established career in translation and have been doing this for some time, you wonder (or at least I do) “what else can I do” and “where else could my skills be needed.” Well, as I discovered, there are many options and within many industries too.

As we become more globalized, the demand for translators and interpreters  grows and with it the demand for them within certain industries.  If we look at the numbers, (All figures are taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics website and reflect the latest figures per occupation), some areas are growing exponentially while others seem to be shrinking (travel for example).  The biggest growth is in computer software,web development, and research while others have a moderate growth. Overall, the numbers show that  there is a growing need within every industry specified.

Yet, it is not only the translation skills you offer but the “soft skills” that you have developed in the field that are equally important, valuable and transferable to other areas of business, law, sales, or teaching for example.

The chart is quite self-explanatory.  However, I will include the web link  because I did have issues embedding it properly into the post. I do hope you find it useful and informative. Back over to you.  Do you think you  could make a difference using your skills?  How can you assist?

Back over to you. How do you assist and how do you feel that you have made a difference in your profession?   All of us have worked in many areas so your comments  would be an interesting read.


Thanks for reading.


Awesome Tips About Language and Translation From 8 Unlikely Sources

Awesome Tips About Language and Translation from 8 Unlikely Sources


“Don’t Insist on English” Patricia Ryan

Sometimes you find tips about our industry in the unlikeliest of places. Although TED talks are highly recognized and are a great source of information and insight, not too many of them focus on  translation or the language industry per se.  In the following  lecture, Patricia Ryan discusses language loss and the globalization of English. Because of globalization and economy, English has been  the most preferred and spoken language for business around the world, and because of this cultural globalization and language education, we may be contributing to language loss and the diffusion of new ideas. Focusing solely on English, she argues, we are diminishing the importance of other languages and the importance of  contributions other cultures have to offer.




Who’s ‘They’?- by Amanda Hess

Language is continuously changing and evolving. In the following article, the author discusses the use of  the pronoun “they” as an inclusive gender pronoun for the transgender and LGBT community.   The “they” or “we” as gender pronouns give more ambiguity and a more gender neutral quality to speech that results in a more inclusive and accepting reference.  It also avoids a static role to the person that otherwise does not or cannot relate to their gender identity. On this vein, the author refers to  a study that has  found that when there is a distinction between “he” and “she”,  behavioral patterns change even among children when referred to  as “boys”and “girls” reinforcing  the behavioral  stereotypes that both these pronouns have. Clearly when there was no distinction and a more inclusive reference was made, people were free to make their own. Although “they” is becoming the more accepted form of speech as a gender neutral pronoun,  it is  ultimately up to the person to tell you how they want to be addressed.

Continue reading Awesome Tips About Language and Translation From 8 Unlikely Sources

Benefits of Bilingualism

There have been  several  studies done lately on the benefits of bilingualism. What  was once was an opposed idea of raising bilingual children,  it is now  said to be found beneficial. I have found three articles ” The Benefits of Bilingualism” and   “The Benefits of Being Bilingual”    and finally  a study  done in 2004 Being Bilingual Boosts Brain Power whereby they actually study the brains of bilingual patients and researched the density of the brain.  Per the result of the study, depending on the age that the person became bilingual,  the denser the gray matter. The earlier you became bilingual, the more  matter and hence more function. In all three articles and studies the results have been quite equal; that in effect bilinguals do have more cognitive power.   Being brought up bilingual and trilingual, I would have guessed otherwise. From a personal standpoint, I tended to (and still do on occasion) to “code switch” which prevented me from sticking to one idea , thought or expression.  Yet, it is precisely that according to the studies, that boosts your brain because since both languages are always active, they need to keep them separate and focus on just one. This in turn, keeps your brain stimulated and always active forcing to focus on a task. This is particularly important in my line of work now. Given that I did tend  to ‘ switch”  from one language to another , you are more conscious of it and therefore aware of how to verbalize it in one. You are always with the “thinking cap” on.

There are of course the obvious benefits of better communication and understanding of cultures and in an increased globalized world your opportunities just increase and expand. Personally  this has been the case. Long before I became a translator and long before the requirement of being bilingual(because if you are not bilingual in Miami, your chances of employment decrease dramatically), I always had the upper-hand because I had the three languages under my belt. Given that I always had lived in Latin-America and had command of the cultural aspect as well, most of my positions were secured because of that fact. So there was always an added plus to that because you were able to conduct business and be the mediator in a transaction. And in  this highly globalized world, where although most still conduct transactions in English it is not now the only language of business.

Finally, being brought up bilingual  and living abroad most of my life has given me a broader outlook and experiences that has led me to my current profession. I don’t believe I could do it as well as I do, had I above all , not experienced the cultural aspect. As we all agree with , translation is not only about just being bilingual.

Crowdsourcing: Who Truly Benefits?

It seems that I follow quite the same path as other bloggers about the same issues tackling our industry. Yet, this one to me is the  most troubling simply because out of  MT, TM, and other advances affecting the industry the simple fact of supplying our expertise and ability on a volunteer basis, drives me a little crazy. What drives me crazier still is that here no one questions it. I have researched and read extensively on crowd sourcing, and all I could find was how it benefited the business community by saving them time and money; yet in all the articles I have read they did not mention  how it benefited the  translator . Surely the experience, but what these companies recruit are at some level (not all) specialists in their field , or end users of a product or service (mainly in software and computer applications) that know particularly well on the subject. For this reason, I find that the true winners here are the companies recruiting such volunteers. Yet, the idea behind crowd sourcing is the effort of collaboration and the know how these volunteers have on the subject. There have been two sides to this, because it can have wonderful results or less than average ones too. I found this video on YouTube and found it interesting on the pitfalls of crowd sourcing.

The reasoning behind it is completely understandable. The internet  has  grown at such a rapid rate that the demand for immediate information is key. Part of the reason why most of these machine translation services sprung up as well.  With the number of websites , social media sites, software applications and cellphone apps, there is such a demand for quick information that not even half  of the demand could be translated manually  much less the  information that is passing through our fingertips without us being aware of.  However, because of this as professionals we  should be at an advantage point and we are not.  As businesses  become more global, they  have found a short cut by implementing this idea to cut costs with higher output and immediacy. What was once done by one employee and possibly took  days to complete, they gather a group of people  (through an open call) many of these  volunteers or through a highly reduced rate to translate this information. Since translation is group based, many different ideas are discussed within the group to bring out the best output.  This is where most of these companies benefit from crowd sourcing. Software applications and programs are the first to benefit as  does the end user. There is  something to be noted here, that although crowd sourcing can be beneficial in one area it also depends on the level of collaboration and the level of expertise of the volunteer. (Maybe that is a good business defense).  Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Linked in are all using crowd sourcing to translate their sites for free and by many accounts with many disastrous results. Yet, the incentive to reduce costs is the most enticing factor here.

Like MT sites like Google Translate and Yahoo Babel Fish, there are crowd sourcing sites as well.  Sites like  #Translate Answers , Cucumis and  Lang8 are for those who seek a a quick translation to an answer they seek or to perfect a translation they already have. Duolingo  like Lang8 is another site that sells the crowd sourcing idea  in that premise -by using it as a language learning website.

I understand that not everything in life is money but if you ( (as a large corporation) are recruiting your group for the best output of your service or product, then it should be compensated. I do believe in volunteerism but to me I would do that for particular social causes , organizations, and  non-profits  who ultimately are working for a “greater good” and that output is so much better than any other compensation. Organizations like Translators Without Borders is a great example of this. I have actually applied with them to help NGO’s around the world . Yet other organizations such as Global Voices Online and UN Volunteering Service   have used crowd sourcing as well for the same principle.

In conclusion, crowd sourcing as we know it will only continue to grow. As the demand grows, so will the necessity and the immediacy of its information. This idea is only a feasible when there is large collaboration, and someone willingness to help translate . In my opinion, without any incentive  why would any one continue?