Career as a translator, which languages? (UK)?

Hey there, I am currently completing an undergraduate degree in Classics (mostly ancient greek), but following my passion for languages I am aiming for a career as a translator. Ambitious I know, but I am determined to do it. Of course, many languages are needed but I am having trouble deciding which ones to go for. I have read much advice along the lines of 'do the culture that you are most interested in', and I thinks that's a good way to go about it.

I am British, but I speak fluent Polish as I have had several Polish boyfriends and picked up the language fairly quickly and I plan to teach English there when I graduate just to improve. I am absolutely in love with Poland, esp. Krakow, plus I think this would be a good language to learn. It's an EU country, with a growing economy, large diaspora community, increasing business links so I think it would be a good one from what I've researched. Also, translators are required (in europe at least) to translate into their mother tongue only, which would give me a huge advantage since although the Poles are falling over themselves desperately learning English, I have never met any native English speakers with fluent Polish.

Can anyone give any hints as to some other languages that would be useful is addition to Polish. I do not want to go for Chinese, Arabic, Spanish etc. as these don't interest me and/or are not practical to learn alongside Polish. I am a fan of unusual eastern european languages really, so I was thinking maybe Lithuanian/Lativian/Hunagrian/Modern Greek? It would certainly add to the rarity value among these languages, but would I be specialising too much? I know reasonable French and German from school, but everyone offers these languages and there is naturally fierce competition for jobs. If I had to pick another language I was crazy about it would be Finnish, but I can't imagine there is much call for Finnish translators. Though I imagine there would be few Brits with fluent Finnish... Obviously it is important to go for the languages that grab you but I want to be pragmatic as well and not limit myself unnecessarily.

Could anybody with experience in this industry or with specific links offer me anything by way of advice? I have done my research and scoured the internet but could do with some pointers from people in the know about the industry.


2 Answers

  • PRM
    Lv 6
    8 years ago
    Best Answer

    Even though China, India, Brazil, maybe Mexico, are the main emerging countries, I would go for what you want to learn, ie. north central European languages. Indeed, my guess is, if the Euro ends up only for Germany and France, or collapses, the other countries will join together.

    I suggest research which of those nations the Polish most trade with. Then learn one or two of them. If you are based in Poland and could translate for the Poles, including natural English, I think you'll be in good demand.

    Source(s): Life experience. Unfortunately no expert knowledge about translation services.
  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    There is a major market out there for chinese translators as the country is one of the world's leading economies so to be honest I would try to rethink that chioce but now on to the other languages: Russian it's a huge country and like it being scarce to find native english speaker that is fluent in Russian (Polish people had to learn Russian in a similar way that native English speakers had to learn Latin). Romanian, Czech Slovakian are some ideas. Hope this helped.

    Source(s): Father (ex translator) and polish friends.
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