People Innovation Excellence

Translation 101: How Does It Work? (part 2)

In part 1, we addressed the ‘what’ in translation work; we defined the work and categories. This time, we discuss the ‘how’ to answer these FAQs: How do I start? What do I need? When do I work?

How do I start?

After you’re ready, the first thing you need to do is to create your market: find your clients. Use any means possible; advertise your service on social media or to your classmates. These days, we can also find many websites offering translators’ platform to find jobs, such as,, and others. If you don’t like freelance works, you can apply to companies and be hired. Yes! A translator can also work as a permanent employee in a company.

If you just begin your career as a translator, do not set your price too high but don’t do low as well. Do some research and find the information about the service-price standard of a beginner translator in your country. After you have the experience, you can always sell your service for a decent amount of money; expertise is expensive after all.

What do I need?

Translators ‘weapons’ are PC, notes, dictionaries (yep, you need more than one), and perseverance! Translation work often makes us sit in front of our PC for quite a long time; it might get boring from time to time, so this is why we need perseverance. To spice things up, we can work anywhere we want a café, a library, even a beach! As long as you have an internet connection, you are good to go.

Aside from the tools, it would be best if you also spent time reading. Reading many texts from various sources will help you enrich your knowledge of context and possibly new terms. Language is an ever-evolving subject, so we can’t resort to our vocabulary-bank from 10 years ago!

When do I work?

As soon as possible! Machines are getting good at helping humans translate foreign language, but they are not perfect! Human-translators are still crucial in the process, so don’t postpone getting your hands on the job. Do not hesitate just because you’re new to the field and considered at the entry-level. All experts always start from bottom to top; it needs a long process and hard work. Can you begin during school or college? Yes, you most certainly can! The sooner, the better.

To conclude, translation is not an exclusive work. It does not require talent; it just needs hard work and perseverance. It can be a main job or a side job; in fact, I still work on translation while being a full-time lecturer and officer at BINUS University. So, what are you waiting for?

Published at :
Written By
Asih Zunaidah
Language Center Officer | BINUS Malang
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