Most translators/interpreters learn their craft by working in translation units or services in the public sector or in translation companies or agencies in the private sector. This will provide you with a solid foundation to underpin your career. By producing translations, discussing them with your colleagues and learning from your mistakes, you’ll get a grounding in the fundamentals of good translation.
A trainee translator will usually work under the daily supervision of an experienced senior translator or editor responsible for overseeing the trainee’s development. As a trainee translator, you’ll probably develop a variety of skills such as revising, refining and proofreading translations as well as developing your own areas of specialist knowledge.
The bread-and-butter work of most translators in both sectors is the translation of documents. And because all kinds of work usually flow in and out with hardly a break, it’s important that you’re able to work accurately and quickly to deadlines and that you always respect the confidentiality of both the text and of the customer.
The nature of work being so variable, it’s also important to have a good understanding of a whole variety of subjects and to be particularly interested in current affairs. Often, you may have little idea of the subject of the next piece you’ll be asked to translate.
It will also be essential for you to have robust IT skills and be ready to develop them further as you learn more and more about the whole field of translation technology.