Definition: Translator Interpreter Job Description

What are the translator’s missions? What training to follow to exercise this profession? What are his outlets and his salary? The answers are provided to you by this translator job description.

Translator profession

A profession in strong evolution thanks to new technologies, translator interpreter is a language professional responsible for transcribing texts or conversations from a foreign language into his mother tongue.

What is a translator?

Thanks to the translator-interpreter, language barriers are easily removed, which is essential in our globalized society where international exchanges are increasing.

To put it simply, his role is to translate as faithfully as possible a text or an oral conversation so that everyone can understand it. In one language, as in the other, this professional must handle all the linguistic subtleties that only a bilingual person can do effectively.

Although they are often confused, translation and interpretation are two different activities. While the first is responsible for the written transcription, the second is primarily devoted to the translation of oral speeches.

There are different types of translators:

  • The technical translator who is a professional from a particular industrial sector and who translates documents relating to his sphere of activity.
  • The literary translator who works for a publisher and who translates specific works. Like an author, he receives rights to the sales of the work thus translated.
  • The sworn translator whose translations have legal value and who is the only one authorized to translate certain documents (identity documents, civil status documents, judgments, etc.) since it has received the approval of the judicial authorities.
  • L‘interpreter of conferences which performs verbal translations, simultaneous or consecutive, of speeches held (international conferences, commercial meetings, court hearings, etc.).
  • The audiovisual translator which carries out the dubbing and subtitling of programs, films, series or documentaries and which also collects royalties.

Where does the translator work?

Most translators are freelance and work from home.

Many professionals use translators:

  • The specialized agencies in translation constitute the first outlet but mainly call upon freelance translators;
  • The International organisations and some ministries;
  • From large multinational groups ;
  • The publishing houses and production companies.

Trends in the profession

With the internationalization of trade, opportunities are numerous but recruitments weak. The profession is therefore rather made up of self-employed people.

The profession of translator-interpreter more and more often requires a specialty (medical, law, etc.), as well as the mastery of at least 2 languages ​​in addition to one’s own in order to establish itself on the market.

Qualifications required to become a translator

Be multilingual

It may seem obvious, but we want to make it clear. Excellent foreign language skills are essential, as well as a perfect mastery of one’s mother tongue to reproduce as faithfully as possible all the nuances and subtleties of a text and to demonstrate real writing skills.

Knowing how to be patient

For certain assignments such as the translation of theses, novels or reports, the documents to be translated are sometimes long and complex and may require several weeks or even months of work.

Precision and thoroughness

A translator must be as precise and rigorous as possible to respect the original spirit of a text. A single word misinterpreted and the meaning of the message can become totally different.

Training to become a translator

In France, the profession of translator can be practiced without a diploma and without qualification. Nonetheless, without solid skills to satisfy future clients, you won’t make old bones in this profession. Many avenues are therefore possible to claim the title of translator-interpreter, with a large preference for language training.

Initial training

The most requested course is the possession of a doctorate and a perfect command of several foreign languages.


  • Professional master’s degree in editorial, economic and technical translation in 2 years or research master’s in translation studies in 1 year or DU translator – judicial interpreter are offered by ESIT, one of the 2 reference schools in the field. The selection is high since it requires the mastery of 3 modern languages, including French, at the entrance.
  • ISIT programs and specialties, the other royal route to becoming a translator and which offers its own diploma. Very selective admission takes place in the 1st year after the baccalaureate, in the 2nd year with a validated L1, in the 3rd year with validated L2, in the 4th year with validated L3.
  • Master in translation-interpretation, language industries and specialized translation
  • Master in translation-interpretation, specialized English translation
  • Master in applied foreign languages, specialization in legal and financial translation
  • Masters in language sciences related to translation, specialized master in translation, writing and mediation multilingual or professional master’s degree in linguistic engineering offered by INALCO or Languages ​​O ‘

Continuing education

It is above all your language skills and your ability to transcribe a text as faithfully as possible that will allow you to hold a job as a translator, whether as a freelance or as an employee in a company. If this is your case, you can try the adventure of retraining without necessarily going back to university. Numerous professional training courses can help you.

Possible evolutions of the translator

The majority of translators working on their own account, changes remain limited.

For salaried translators, with a great deal of experience, progress is possible towards positions of coordination, translation project manager, translation department manager or reviser.

He can also choose to specialize as in forensic translation.

Finally, he can turn to language teaching.

Salary of a translator

Like all professions exercised as a self-employed person, the remuneration is very variable and depends on his experience, his specialization and his notoriety.

The average net monthly salary of a salaried translator is around 1900 $ for a man or a woman (around 4000 employees in France).

The average net monthly remuneration of a freelance translator varies between 500 and 1000 dolars gross per day worked.

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