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Translator: Employers and vacancy sources

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The number of translation agencies and companies is increasing, but the majority of translators are self-employed, securing work through agencies, by advertising their services directly to clients or by networking.

There are limited opportunities to work in international organisations as they are increasingly out-sourcing translation to agencies and freelancers. The United Nations (UN)  and its specialised agencies employ British translators, based mostly in New York and Geneva. They translate into English from French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Arabic (the six official languages) and, occasionally, from Italian, German and Scandinavian and Eastern European languages.

The institutions of the European Union (EU) , including the European Commission , recruit their translation staff through 'open competition' only. The need for translators is rapidly growing, especially as more countries join the EU. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of translators of less common languages employed by government departments and large commercial organisations.

There are occasional openings for translators in other international organisations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)  or the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) .

The Civil Service also recruit translators. Success depends on the languages you can offer, your qualifications and experience, and time spent overseas. Civil Service departments such as Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)  and the Security Service (MI5)  are now advertising more freely on their websites. Since October 2011, Capita Translation and Interpreting (Capita TI)  (formerly Applied Language Solutions) provides translators and interpreters for Ministry of Justice work. The new Ministry of Justice (Legal Interpreting & Translation) register is compiled by Capita TI via their site, Capita Linguist Portal .

Digital subtitling (for DVDs and computer games) and website translation and 'localisation' (i.e. adapting websites to local cultural contexts) are also growth areas. Audio-visual translation is expanding in response to disability legislation.

Sources of vacancies

Freelance translators can advertise their services in Yellow Pages  or on databases held by professional bodies and translator networks, such as:

General recruitment agencies rarely handle vacancies but an internet search will reveal numerous translation agencies such as Lingo24  and SDL . Most, but not all, are registered with the ATC.

Get more tips on how to find a job, create a successful CV and cover letter, and prepare for interviews.

Written by AGCAS editors
August 2013

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