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Translator: Employers and vacancy sources

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 opportunities to work in international organisations but they may be limited as work is often out-sourced to translation agencies and freelancers. Organisations include:

  • The United Nations (UN) and its specialised agencies: employing British translators mainly working with the six official languages of Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
  • The institutions of the European Union (EU), including the European Commission: covering 24 official EU languages.
  • Other international organisations: such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) or the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which have occasional opportunities.

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.

Capita Translation and Interpreting (Capita TI) provides translators and interpreters for Ministry of Justice work.

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 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:

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.

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Written by AGCAS editors
September 2015

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