Anyone can be a Spanish translator.
If you are interested in becoming one, then you’re in luck because anyone that has desire, a willingness to work, and a decent handle on Spanish and another language can dominate the industry.
Translators like to think that they are unique and that nobody else can do the job that they do.
I know because I used to believe that.
I thought that as a Spanish/English translator, I was the absolute best and nobody else could even come close to what I did.
Even though it was true, what I didn’t realize at the time was that translation is an industry where there are not that high of entry barriers.
Sure, you need to know your source language.
And you need to know your target language.
Without knowing two or more languages, there’s no way you’re going to be a professional translator.
But if you have a good handle on two languages, you can become a translator.
And if you know Spanish and another language, you have a whole world of translation opportunities opened up to you.
That’s because Spanish is a widely-translated language meaning that there are plenty of opportunities for Spanish translators.
Types of Spanish Translation Jobs
OK, so let’s say you know some Spanish and are interested in becoming a professional Spanish translator.
If you want to be a professional translator, you have to find a client.
But before you find a client, you have to figure out what kind of client you want to target.
And for that you need an area of specialization so that you can show your clients that you can help them with their language and translation needs.
So what is your area of translation expertise?
The number of different specializations for translators is almost as numerous as the number of languages translators can translate.
There are a lot.
So, first find a specialization.
Some popular ones that are in demand by translation clients include:
- medical fields
- the legal sector
These are general areas, sure, but they are more specialized that a translator just saying:
“I can translate everything.”
If you’ve got some knowledge in any of these areas, you’ve got a good start to being specialized.
You don’t need to have a Ph.D. in the topic.
You just need to know more than most translators.
Which is not very much when you think about it.
And of course, each of these areas can be broken down further into very specialized fields.
For example, I read a fellow translator/blogger sometimes that translates patents.
(He’s got some good posts, btw, for anyone interested.)
OK, so now that you have your specialization and know what kind of clients you want to target (if you’re a freelancer), or what kind of company you want to work for (if you’re looking for an in-house gig), it’s time to start looking for translation jobs.
Where to Find Spanish Translation Jobs
All right, so once you’ve got your language (Spanish) down and your specialization, it’s time to go where the jobs are.
You’ve got two options.
You can find direct clients either offline or online.
Offline direct clients are those that you can meet with face-to-face, or over the phone.
You have a way to conduct business without using email/the Internet/LinkedIn.
A lot of translators (especially those just starting out) should first tap the local market in looking for direct clients.
- calling prospective clients
- sending them letters
- scheduling lunch/coffee visits with leaders
- showing up at the potential client’s company
- and basically not hiding behind your online persona
OK, now some people don’t like to do offline marketing. In fact, some translators claim that they became translators so that they didn’t ever have to worry about real-life interactions with people.Well, those people are losers.
If you became a translator because you thought you’d never have to speak to someone, get ready to be a poor translator.
But direct clients can also be found online such as through you contacting businesses directly, or by them finding you through your awesome online translation portfolio known as your translator website. (If you don’t have one, Bluehost is where it’s at.)
The other option for finding translator jobs is to use translation agencies.
This can also be called the Indirect Client Method.
So instead of contacting and working with clients directly, you contact and work through a middleman (or agency).
At worst, the agency is just a mere broker providing a client with a translator without the two every meeting or discussing the work.
Any discussions/questions/comments are always done through the middleman.
At best, the translation agency is an advocate for both the client and the translator ensuring that the client gets the best results while also providing the translator with the best renumeration for his work.
You’re not going to find translation agencies offline unless you happen to live in the same town as one and you play racketball with the agency CEO every Tuesday’s at 3:30.
If not, you’ll be contacting agencies online.
And you’ll either send them an email with your information, or you’ll fill out an online application at the agency’s website.
Either way, you’ll wait to hear back from them (if you do at all).
(For more information on how to take advantage of translation agencies, buy my Ultimate Guide to Translation Agencies.)
The Third Method
I initially forgot about this third way to find translation jobs.
Then I remembered but I didn’t want to include it.
But then I realized that translators looking for translation jobs should have access to everything they can in order to find the right job.
And you just might be able to use this method to find the job that’s right for you.
And that would be to use online job boards.
First of all, though, a disclaimer.
Nobody I know has ever gotten a translation job from an online job board.
I’m not saying that doesn’t happen.
(In fact, it has to happen to some degree because the jobs don’t fill themselves.)
Just that it’s not the most common way that translators I know find translation jobs.
Hopefully, though, you can be the exception.
Here’s an example of one of the most popular job boards around: Indeed.com
As you can see, there are a ton of jobs available in the U.S. for Spanish translators.
You'll have to scroll through a few of the jobs in order to find ones that fit with what you're looking for, but if you can find the right one, it could lead to just what you're looking for.
Let me know if this works for you.
Until next time.