Translation as a career
English teachers may, from time to time, be asked to translate text or conversations for clients. Good translations are a lot more difficult to do than you might imagine and, unless you are confident of your abilities, you should treat such requests with caution.
Furthermore, unless you are truly and fully bilingual, you should avoid translating into a tongue which is not your own.
Other aspects that you need take into account include your writing abilities, how fast you type, your experience in proofreading, and of course, the subject matter. Even if you are relatively knowledgeable in the field of, say, computer engineering, would you be able to translate the 300-page user's manual for your client's new hypertext software? And the accompanying service contract? So you like food? Are you sure you could do a better job of translating your client's menu than the folk who introduce all those bloopers we've all come across when travelling abroad?
Most clients are totally unrealistic as to the time needed for a translation, expecting instant service. Make sure you get a definite deadline to work to, not just some vague "as soon as possible"...
A number of companies provide products which assist with the translation process in some way. The following utilities are freely available on the web:
For those who really have to translate something then you should check out the google translator toolkit as it has an impressive range of free tools. If you use a browser such as Firefox you should be able to set the spellchecker to the target language and edit the auto-translated text within your browser. For smaller documents or sections check out google translate.
Real-time voice translation
Those using smartphones running under the google android operating system have the option of installing the "Google translate" application gratis. This is an integrated application which:
- Records spoken phrases.
- Converts the spoken words into text.
- Translates that text into text in the target language.
- Converts that text into speech.
If a user selects the "conversation" option then the process alternates between the two languages. Although a long way from having a natural conversation it is very suggestive of a future trend.