Monday, November 22, 2021

Tips On How To Start a Career In Translation by Angelo Castelda

Becoming a language professional is a good career choice because language is universal. Everyone uses language every day of their lives, which means there are always careers in language. One viable career in this field is translation, which is very popular.

Translation professionals can work in-house or freelance in both the public and private sectors. They are trained to translate one language into another professionally. Typically, translators work with written languages while interpreters work with spoken languages, although both jobs involve working between at least two languages.

Speaking more than one language will get you one step closer to being a professional translator. However, there are different routes you can take with this job. Here are some useful tips to help you get started.

Hone your skills in your source language

Your target language is your native language; the one you’ve been speaking since birth. So the first thing you should do is to study and train in your source language extensively.

If your target language is a common one, then you’re likely to find more translation jobs. However, with a common language, expect more competition from other translators.

For example, professional English to Filipino language translation in the Philippines is common because English is their second language. That’s why translators have to study and train to be better than their peers to land more jobs.

Getting advanced degrees in your source language will also set you apart from your peers. You can choose to study in a school or earn a degree from an online university and then take language exams to measure your fluency.

Consider specializing in an industry

You can work in different industries as a translator. Specializing in one will help you to work in specific sectors. You have to know the jargon and terminology to work in specific fields.

You can look for a tutor or online learning resources to help you specialise. For example, you could study Spanish medical terms to learn how to translate them into your target language.

Get accredited or certified

Much like language teachers, translators can also get certified or accredited. Being certified by a credible certification provider in language translation will boost your chances of landing a job in both the public and private sectors.

If you plan to work in an industry, there are also industry-specific certifications you can get offered to interpreters. Although it’s not for translators, getting an industry-specific certification for interpreters still shows you know and can translate language in a specific field. Thus, it’ll still help in landing you a job.

Learn translation-related computer skills

Many translation jobs require a good knowledge of computer programs. Computer programs can help translators to work faster and more efficiently. You will find many job opportunities that require knowledge of those programs, so learn how to use them.

Some language translation programs commonly required by agencies include:

  • memoQ
  • SDL Trados Studio
  • Memsource
  • Wordfast

Some translation software is free, while others are available with one-off payments or paid subscriptions. These tools help improve translation in different ways and can help with spelling and grammar corrections and analyzing points where text has been mistranslated.

Gain experience

The sad reality is that you need experience to land a job also applies to becoming a professional translator. Before you begin searching and applying for job openings, you should first gain experience.

You can do so by working as a freelance translator. This is a good way to gain experience that you can add to your resume. Once you get contracted for more freelance work, you’ll gain more experience and be able to earn more.

You may get your first translation gig from an acquaintance or business connection and many companies accept freelance translators for online work.

Let's Round-Up

There are various options for linguists looking to work as translators. But before you apply for any job, you have to do your due diligence. Make sure that you're a translator that companies will seek to hire.

Angelo Castelda is a freelance writer from Asia. Besides writing, he also spends his time traveling and learning about diverse cultures and languages, which opened his heart more to learning and imparting knowledge about language translation.

Monday, October 12, 2020

How to Deliver Better Healthcare by Using Medical Translation Services by Ofer Tirosh

Productive and efficient communication is one of the main factors in delivering better healthcare. With strong communication, patients can learn how to take their treatments, can ask questions about conditions that are bothering them, and can discuss how they are being cared for. One of the hardest barriers to overcome in healthcare communication is the language barrier. As such, we’ve taken a look at how medical translation services can help you deliver better healthcare.

Why is Medical Translation Important?

If you work in healthcare, medical translation is a service you simply can’t ignore. The importance of medical interpreters was displayed when they played a decisive role in the creation and implementation of government policies regarding health and disaster response and mitigation

According to Medicare and Medicaid Services, a 2017 survey asked healthcare providers to estimate how many of their patients spoke a language other than English at home. 23% of respondents estimated that 21-40% of their patients spoke a language other than English at home. 9% estimated that 41-60% spoke a language other than English, 5% estimated that it was 61-80% of their patients who did so, while 3% of respondents estimated that 81%-100% of their patients spoke an alternative language to English at home.

The wider societal figures help to put this in context. Between 2009 and 2013, about 25 million people in the US spoke English less than very well, according to the US Census Bureau.

Cleary, people who speak another language make up a large portion of patients. And healthcare providers must communicate well with those patients if they wish to deliver the best possible care.

The report from Medicare and Medicaid Services also asked how providers meet the needs of patients who speak another language:

  • Just under 24% said they are contracted with interpreter services.
  • Only 10% said they track language preferences in medical records.
  • Around 16% said they did not know what strategies were used to address language needs.

Large parts of the medical industry have a long way to go in meeting the language needs of its patients, according to this survey.  

Being sick can already be a harrowing experience. When the healthcare providers are difficult to communicate with because of language barriers, it can be downright frightening, as you struggle to understand what is wrong with you and how to treat it. On the provider’s end, it can be stressful not to know if the patient is understanding vital treatment instructions.  

Medical translation can deliver a more comforting experience for patients and a smoother, faster process for healthcare providers.

What Is Medical Translation?  

 An important distinction to start with is the difference between medical translation and interpretation.

Interpretation covers any type of service that converts spoken language as it’s being said. In healthcare, interpreters are often present in the examination room with the patient and the doctor. More recently, due to quarantining and the increased convenience of portable devices, video remote interpretation is becoming more popular in the medical field. The interpreter simply works over a video call instead of in person.

What does translation mean in medical terms? And what is a translation service? Medical translation handles converting written text into another language (or perhaps verbal commentary in the case of audio or video translation). Medical translation may handle documents such as medical bulletins, drug data sheets, training materials, and plenty more. It can include functions within healthcare as well, such as medical device manufacturing, medical marketing, or documentation for clinical, regulatory, or technical needs.

Accuracy is paramount. A mistranslation in the medical industry could have disastrous consequences. It could mean a drug is misrepresented, instructions for using a medical device could be wrong or someone could administer a treatment improperly. As such, decent medical translation services work in several steps to ensure quality:

· Initial communication between the client and translator establishes any medical terminology or meanings that should stay intact in the text.

  • The text is extracted from the original document.
  • That text is then line-by-line translated into the new language.

· An editor typically checks to make sure the translator followed certain medical terminology, overall meaning, and standards within the industry.

  • The translation is put back into its original format.
  • A proofreader looks over the document, checking for larger issues like layout problems.
  • After these steps, the document gets sent back to the client.

This is an example of what medical translation tends to look like. The stages can vary slightly. For instance, larger translation agencies might have multiple people at different stages of the process, whereas a single translator could handle different stages themselves.

The important point to take away is that a good medical translator or agency will have multiple stages of review. They will check the document against approved medical terminology and industry standards.  

How to Find Top Medical Translation Services

Because medical translation is so important, you need to make sure you are sourcing and vetting your medical translation service well.  

A top way people find translation services is to ask around their professional network. If people have had a good experience with a translation service, they may be inclined to recommend it. You might also search online. Either way, make sure a medical translation agency is at the top of its game by checking that: 

  • The website is professional and modern.
  • The agency or translator has some way to prove they are experienced through portfolios of past work, client testimonials, or references.
  • Your point of contact is timely and detailed in their communication; they should be able to outline quickly their whole process for assuring quality reviews, for instance.
  • The agency or translator is knowledgeable about industry standards and medical terminology for their type of translation work. For example, certain ISO types for medical device manufacturing.
  • The translator has some type of professional development, such as a degree in translation, volunteer work, internships, or agency work, and that they belong to a professional organization for translators and/or are certified.  

By properly vetting your medical translator, you can better assure that the translation you get back will be accurate and comply with industry standards. This is key to driving up standards for non-English speaking patients across your healthcare provision.

Ofer Tirosh is the CEO of Tomedes. He is an author who focuses on linguistics and the importance of foreign language in globalization and localization.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Why You Shouldn’t Rely On Machine Translation by Emma Collins

Faster and cheaper – these are the two key advantages of machine translation. Technology has enabled us to rely on machines to translate heaps of information all at once. However, there are still several downsides to the service. For one, accuracy isn’t always on point, which is where human translation comes in.

The Shortcomings of Machine Translation

However promising machine translation is, there are still several types of document that probably won't be translated perfectly. Here are some examples.

Medical Documents

Medical documents like dossiers, user guides, and research protocols require the utmost care when translating. After all, it could be a matter of life or death. Medical reports must be translated accurately. Unfortunately, machine translation can't guarantee that.

One of the pitfalls of machine translation is its over-literal translation. Since there can be a lot of medical jargon in documents, the context can be hugely important and you need to get every term right.

Speed is also an important factor. Although human translators translate at a slower rate, they can ensure that the proper meaning is retained.

Legal Documents

Legal documents are usually highly confidential so using free machine translation tools can be too risky. Free translation services like Google Translate or Bing Translator store the text you input to improve performance. Although this is a legitimate reason, this can pose a threat to your data privacy. Legally binding contracts, for example, should never be run through these tools.

Using free machine translators can seem cost-effective at first but the mistakes can be expensive. It’s better to put your trust in professional translators who can keep sensitive information safe.

Immigration Documents 

Machine translation is not consistent across different languages and immigration documents often contain specific content that may not be easily translatable to certain languages. Machine translation also does not offer any understanding of cultural references that can be integral to your immigration documents.

Moreover, birth certificate translation requires careful analysis of the different formats of birth certificates. For example, if you want to translate your birth certificate in the US, you need to adhere to the rules of the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS). They have a rigid set of rules that you need to consider if you want to have a smooth immigration process.

These nuances are considered by human translators as they always seek advice from professionals.

Marketing Materials

Translations should not only convey information but also emotion. Although machine translation could work with technical content, it cannot be used for marketing.

Advertising and other marketing strategies are directed towards humans. Effective marketing aims to persuade and this is usually done by evoking emotional responses to change people’s behavior. Machine translation fails to convey nuance.

If marketing content is produced by machine translation, the editorial touch could be lost and it won’t be effective. Being too literal in your approach rarely succeeds and slogans and taglines work because it creates an effective call-to-action that's aimed at humans. As such, you have to leave it to marketers and human translators.

Financial Documents

Financial documents like financial statements, SEC filings, and business correspondence, follow a certain format to comply with different regulations. Outside the format, these documents also require an extensive understanding of the specialized language of global trade and financial reporting.

Financial documents contain several figures that machine translation can’t comprehend. Hence, you need to find people who can grasp the relevance of these figures. What does it mean to have "x amount of sales"?  Financial documents are often written with insights that machine translation can’t capture.

Lastly, you also need to consider the readability of your documents. Even if you were successful in translating your financial documents, you also need to ensure that it can be understood by your readers.

Machine Translation Efficiency

Machine translation has gained popularity because of its efficiency. However, efficiency doesn't always translate to accuracy.

In any document, accuracy is always a priority and is paramount to almost any type of service. A single translation error can lead to serious consequences. Although still imperfect, human translators could offer context and understanding that can produce a more reliable translation.

Emma Collins is a creative thinking content creator who specializes in blogging and copywriting. You can find her on Twitter.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Linguistics and Learning in the Digital Age by Ofer Tirosh

The recent COVID-19 global pandemic has forced even many traditional educational institutions to move to online learning environments. An exceedingly large number of people seem to be moving online in order to pursue language studies. In fact, this practice of online learning has become so common that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has devoted an entire web page to provide a comprehensive resource for online learning options.

Before starting your journey to learning languages online, it is important to know what your particular challenges will be, what the benefits of online learning are, and perhaps most importantly of all, determining which languages are best to learn and what you have in mind to do with your new language skills.

On that note, language skills, whether from online learning courses or from a more traditional educational institution, can also offer you a great many benefits, both mentally and financially. Thus, you need to first determine which languages you want to learn online and how that will offer you a real and tangible benefit.

1.1 Selecting Which Languages for Online Learning

The coronavirus crisis has pushed online learning to new levels of popularity stemming from necessity. It should be noted, however, that the global Covid-19 pandemic will not last forever. Online learning, however, is revolutionizing learning norms, but should also provide a direct and tangible benefit. This means that the time spent learning languages online should focus on language skills that can be used in practical application at the same time.  Revolutionizing learning norms only becomes a good thing when online learning has real-world uses, ideally in the post-COVID-19 pandemic world.

One of the best ways to determine which languages are best to study, are those languages which you have an actual occasion to use from time to time. In the Canadian province of Quebec, it may be ideal to learn both English and French. In parts of the US, there are many large cities with large ethnic minorities and locations where Spanish, Chinese (or Putonghua) may be beneficial and a language skill that you can use in real-life scenarios.

In parts of Europe, it is fairly common for some people to grow up speaking numerous languages based on the proximity of their neighbours and the European border policies. Unfortunately, the coronavirus crisis, self-isolating, social distancing and even full quarantine measures in some places around the world make learning within those communities virtually impossible.

Without the ability to translate those lessons into common practice, even a comprehensive language vocabulary may not help you to actually learn to speak in a manner that people will understand. Fortunately, it is very possible to find a great many online communities where you can practice your new language skills online, in the form of reading and writing and in terms of verbal communications.

This will be important as virtually every language in existence has been localized to some degree. Localization is the means by which you can communicate to the local people on a local level with a better understanding of what is being discussed. Not many people will ever talk to you about translating English to English or translating Portuguese to Portuguese but the fact remains that the need to interpret the local language variations is an important part of language learning online or anywhere else.

1.2 Localization and Language Online Learning

Local vernacular, colloquialisms and expressions are going to be different even among common speakers of the same language within a single nation. When languages cross physical borders, they tend to go through a process known as localization, even when they are largely isolated and not subject to the integration of words from other languages.

If you are from the United States, you may drink a soda or a cola, or you may even drink a pop, though such a suggestion would raise a fuss in some locations as there, a pop may be the father of someone rather than a refreshing beverage. Likewise in the United States, the ground floor and first floor of a building are interchangeable terms. In other areas where English is still the native language, the first floor is the one above the ground floor.

Imagine translating a document for a friend or worse still perhaps, a paying client, and you send all of their friends or customers to the wrong location? It would not take long before you developed a bad reputation with such mistakes. If however, you want to build up your reputation as a professional translator or interpreter, you need to focus on localization strategies for language learning.

It will be necessary for you to place an emphasis on your reason for learning new language skills. Are you learning so that you can communicate better when you travel? Will you need to be more able to effectively communicate with co-workers or others within the local community? Are you hoping to become a translator or even a certified interpreter?

Thus, you can focus on the different avenues of approach for mastering your language skills. Should you focus on learning more industry-specific language or should you focus more on language skills that will help you to get around in a new location?

Determining which language skills you will need first determines how much you will use the language skills, and how much you ultimately benefit from learning a new language online. Once these determinations have been made, it is necessary for you to begin focusing on exactly how to get started on your linguistic journey.

1.3 Online Learning – Language Basics Online

Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? These are the basic questions that any author must address in their writing because they are the basic structure of any and all conversation. Conversations, with some social exceptions, are little more than an exchange of information regarding at least one of these matters.

Learning these basic forms of speech will help you to better understand and interpret what is being said, without having to have an extensive vocabulary from day one. Who do you need to speak with? What are you going to learn? When will you begin your journey? Where will your language studies lead you? Why should you start with the basics? How do you find people to help you?

Add to this most basic form of conversational language studies by beginning to learn more common conversational forms of the language. Where is the bus station? Where can I find an interpreter? Coming and going are common habits?

Fill in these basic conversations with additional nouns and verbs as you go along, learning first, just the basic language skills that you need to get by and adding to them at a more natural and comfortable pace. You can also begin actively chatting with other people in the new language.

You will probably find some people who are more than willing to assist you to interpret and learn more about what is being said. This is especially true if you already have something in common with them to begin with.

There are all sorts of chat rooms with audio chat where you can engage in active conversation with your new language skills, though that may not always be the best option. While it may be open to debate, you may even be able to find sponsors online who can help you not only to learn a new language but who may even be persuaded to sponsor your online language studies at the same time.

Live streaming is common on YouTube for the video influencer market, and very popular on many gaming platforms. However, live streaming is now used by a great many people online in order to attract followers, like-minded people and compatriots in all sorts of online activities.

Not only is it possible to find people to help you translate all of your language studies into more of a mastery of that language, but most of these live streaming websites also have the option for people to financially support your studies via Patreon or other similar donation platforms.

Does that mean you are going to get rich learning languages online? Probably not, but there are people getting sponsored for far more bizarre and unlikely endeavours besides education, so in theory at least, it does remain a distinct possibility. Even if you do not get rich, however, there are a great many personal benefits to language learning online.

1.4 Translating the Benefits of Language into Real World Success

There are a great many added benefits of learning a second language that can also translate into very real-world success stories. These benefits run the full spectrum from mental benefits to financial success. Penn State University has put together a more comprehensive list of the benefits in regards to cognitive abilities and mental benefits, though there are other benefits to language learning as well.

People who are bilingual, multilingual or even panlingual are more likely to stand out when it comes to job applications and successfully getting that dream job. This will be especially true if you have done your homework regarding the best languages to learn and worked on learning a language that you can use within the local community.

People who have learned two or more languages tend to have a better cultural understanding and emotional connection with those around them, again making them easier to work with, live with and to be around in general. These are all attributes that are not only beneficial in a work environment, but also in social settings as well.

People who are bilingual or multilingual tend to have better reasoning skills as well. The constant mental practice in the early stages of learning a language generally involves a great many mental translations, forcing people to think about everything before they actually speak their mind. The end result seems to be a better sense of reasoning, at least according to the experts at Penn State among many others.

People who learn two or more languages tend to show an increased capacity for memory retention. Again, these studies have been conducted by numerous universities in addition to some private institutions. An enhanced memory tends to improve virtually every aspect of your life, no matter what you are doing.

All that is left, is figuring out how to put the finishing touches on your multilingual mastery and maybe even increase your income working as a professional language service provider.

1.5 Translating Language Learning into Linguistic Mastery

As you grow more comfortable with your new language skills you may be tempted to start spreading your wings (metaphorically speaking of course) and you should. The secret is to know your personal limitations and to not put yourself into any position that will cause you to develop a bad reputation.

On the other hand, there are also tools out there that can help to ensure your success and allow you to embark on a potentially profitable adventure. Starting with basic skills, it may be necessary to utilize some of these machine translation apps or even computer-assisted translations or CAT tools.

However, rest assured that these will certainly not do all of the work for you, but they should help you to recognize more about grammar and what is right and wrong with those machine translations. To date, there is not a single machine translation tool or other language assistance device that can pass the Turing test. This means that you will still earn your paycheck, but you can also earn while you learn.

The Turing Test goes back to WWII and the work of Alan Turing, who questioned whether machines would ever be able to match the intellect and the more subtle and nuanced nature of humanity. There are some chatbots that have come close, but none have ever yet passed the Turing test, fooling people into believing that a machine was in fact human.

Even the great Google Translate has a spot for humans to intervene and improve translations, which is a good place to begin, but your work there will be free. If you prefer starting your work as a language service provider in paid venues, video and audio transcription are a good place to start.

However, it is important to review the material before applying for the job, and ensure that there is not too much there that you have no idea about. So why start with audio and video transcription services instead of doing what seem to be simpler document translations?

If all you really want to learn is how to read and write, document translation services may be a better place for you to begin mastering a new language. If however, you are seeking to have a better understanding of localization in regards to dialects and speech, the transcription services will force you to listen carefully to fully understand everything that is being said.

Once you have mastered the art of language transcription, it should be easy to add document translation services to your Curricula Vitae as well. While it may take you a while to become proficient enough to become a certified interpreter, at least you will have the option to earn while you learn and master your new found language skills.

Ofer Tirosh is the CEO of Tomedes. He is an author who focuses on linguistics and the importance of foreign language in globalization and localization.

Monday, April 13, 2020

3 Easy Foreign Languages to Learn by Finnegan Pierson

The easiest languages to learn are the ones you'll get to use the most. If your partner, roommates, friends, co-workers or family speak a certain foreign language, it'll be easier to learn.

Similarly, having a job where you communicate regularly in a foreign language will help, too. So does studying with a group of language learners who are hoping to travel to another country as they'll make great people to practice with. Generally, the most important thing is that you have a lot of opportunities to practise your new languages.

If that isn't the case, here are three languages on the easier side of things.

Easy Languages to Learn

Spanish, Portuguese and French are three languages that regularly appear in studies as the easiest for English speakers to learn.

Spanish, for example, uses the same alphabet English alphabet (barring a few accented letters) and it has only a few grammatical irregularities.

Portuguese, which shares many similarities with Spanish, also has a lot of common ground with English.

The English vocabulary includes tonnes of French words, words of French origin, or words that found their way to us from other languages via French. Furthermore, it uses the same alphabet and, as a Romance language, shares a lot of similarities with Spanish and Portuguese.


Spanish is spoken by 14 million people in the United States. If you live in the US, then you will probably know someone who speaks perfect Spanish. After all, a large percentage of the Spanish-speaking community speaks both Spanish and English fluently.

You can also find a lot of resources for learning Spanish as well as apps and games like Duolingo to get you started.

How Similar to English is Spanish?

Compare these English words: Liberty, dentist, artist, famous, democracy, and photo to the Spanish words: libertad, dentista, artista, famosa, democracia, and foto.

See how similar they are in sound and spelling?

While this is just a small exmaple,  many words could be included in examples like this.

Comparing English to Portuguese

To learn a language like Portuguese, you'll be happy to know that it is one of the most spoken languages in the world. Portuguese is the ninth most spoken language in the world.

Where is Portuguese Spoken?

Portuguese, as you could probably guess, was originally spoken in just Portugal. When Portuguese explorers went to South America in the 16th century, they brought their language with them.

In Brazil, Portuguese is spoken as the native language. It is also spoken in as a secondary language in parts of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The Portuguese also colonised West Africa in the 16th century. African countries that also speak Portuguese include Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé, and Equatorial Guinea.

There are parts of India and East Asia that were also introduced to Portuguese through colonisation. East Timor also has a tiny Portuguese-speaking community.

It won't be too hard to find someone else who wants to study and practise speaking Portuguese.

Learning French

Many English speakers are technically already familiar with a lot of French vocabulary. Under Norman rule, a lot of French vocabulary made their way into the English language.

Here are some French words already used in the English language:

  • Fiancé
  • Déjà-Vu
  • Mirage
  • Façade
  • Pot-pourri
  • Hors d’œuvre
  • Cul-de-Sac
  • Matinée
  • Coup-de-Grâce
  • Encore
  • Souvenir
  • Avant-Garde
  • Touché
  • Risqué

French and Spanish are quite similar, so if you grasp Spanish, you'll be able to learn French.

For example, uno, dos, tres in Spanish is un, deux, trois in French. Of course, the main problem will be confusing the two. Make the most of French culture, go to French restaurants and practice ordering the food or find someone from practice with a French-speaking person from France, Belgium, Switzerland, or Canada, for example.

Learning a language is a great experience and can help you to see new cultures, meet new people, and provide a boost to your career. Anybody who has learned a second language will tell you; you won't regret it.

Finnegan Pierson loves languages and has a passion for different cultures, and writing. As a freelance writer, Finn hopes to influence others to enjoy cultures and be inspired to learn other languages. He is fluent in English and Spanish.

Monday, April 6, 2020

The Positive Effects Learning a Second Language Can Have On Your Mind by Luke Smith

Learning a second language is a challenge at any age, but it can be especially difficult for adults. Being bilingual means that you have to think and process multiple languages simultaneously, and that kind of cognitive agility and plasticity gets tougher as you get older — ask anyone over the age of 40!

But the fact is that learning a second language brings with it a range of benefits that make the effort worthwhile. These benefits range from delaying cognitive decline and decreasing the risk of dementia to using that second language to up an array of professional and personal opportunities.

A Change of Mind

One of the most significant and exciting benefits of learning a second language is the vast and often life-long benefits to your brain. Studies show that bilingual people tend to be more cognitively adaptable. They can easily and quickly switch between tasks or tackle multiple tasks at once.

This is because becoming bilingual, by definition, requires you to move deftly between multiple languages to understand and to make yourself understood. That kind of cognitive agility helps you not only when you are a child or young adult, either, as studies show that people who speak more than one language tend to retain their mental sharpness well into old age. Bilingual people with Alzheimer's show their first symptoms an average of five years later than patients who speak only one language.

Multiple Benefits

When you're learning a second language, you're not just honing your ability to move seamlessly between two languages. You're also developing skills that can come in handy in other areas of your life, both at work and home. For one thing, studying a second language requires you to become a master of details. You have to refine your powers of observation, noticing those little nuances that make the language work.

Not only that, but you're also going to get quite good at problem-solving. Because, as anyone who has ever learned a second language knows, becoming bilingual is about more than substituting words in one language for words in another. It's about figuring out how to use not only the vocabulary of the second language but also its systems of grammar and syntax, to both make meaning and express it. And that requires a strong ability to problem-solve.

As you're learning the nuances of a second language, as strange as it may seem, you're also going to be learning about your mother tongue. For many of us, our native language is second nature. We learn it primarily through exposure, habit, and mimicry.

But, outside of our language arts classes in school, we rarely have an opportunity to study our native language or think about how it works. That also means that we're often reproducing errors that we've heard all our lives but never realized were incorrect until exposure to the second language required us to develop a deeper and better understanding of our first.

Expanding Horizons

There's no doubt about it, we live in an increasingly globalized world. Learning a second language is going to help you participate in that world. For instance, if you are one of the rapidly growing numbers of remote workers worldwide, you're no longer limited by geographic boundaries or physical distance. Your clients and partners can be located anywhere in the world. Speaking multiple languages allows you to vastly expand the possibilities of the remote work you do, the people you partner with, and the clients you serve.

But it's not just remote workers who can benefit professionally from speaking a second language. If English isn't your first language, for example, studying it as a second language can open up the world of business, no matter where you might be located because, increasingly, English is being chosen as the lingua franca of international business. 

Best of all, if you can speak more than one language, that simply increases your chances for new adventures. You'll be able to travel more widely and do it with more skill, confidence, and enjoyment. It'll also open up more opportunities to meet new and different people, experience different cultures, and more — and increased socialization, in any form, is known to have health benefits, too.

The Takeaway

Being bilingual is more than an impressive party trick to perform in front of your monolingual friends. Learning a second language provides important cognitive benefits that will extend throughout your whole life.

You will become more mentally agile and adaptable. You'll hone your multitasking and problem-solving skills. You'll develop your observational skills and become a master of fine details. And you'll even get better at speaking and writing in your mother tongue. Learning a second language can also help you ward off the effects of dementia and Alzheimer's. You'll retain your mental acuity longer.

Bilingualism can also open up an entire world of personal and professional opportunities. Whether you dream of jetting off on new adventures by traveling internationally, or you are looking to grow your business by going global, speaking multiple languages opens the world to you, your family, and your business.

Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but linguistics topics are his favorite. When he isn't writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.

Monday, March 30, 2020

5 Alternative Careers to Professional Translation during the COVID-19 Pandemic by Ofer Tirosh

The global language services industry has grown from a value of US$23.5 billion in 2009 to $46.9 billion in 2019. Statista projects that it will reach a value of $56.18 billion by 2021. As such, there are plenty of opportunities to make money based on speaking more than one language. That doesn’t necessarily mean providing professional translation services; a wide range of jobs exist that allow you to use your language skills every day. Here are five examples to get you thinking. 

Medical translator and interpreter 

Medical translator jobs and medical interpreter jobs are another excellent choice for those looking to work with languages but in an alternative career to translation. And with the world currently in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, there is an unprecedented need for medical facts and discoveries to be shared between countries swiftly and accurately. This is important both for monitoring COVID-19 and in the race to find a vaccine. 

A medical translator converts documents of a medical nature from one language to another. These could be anything from research papers to individual medical histories. 

A medical interpreter interprets between medical professionals and their patients. A medical interpreter could also interpret

between one healthcare professional and another, for example as a means of sharing medical best practice between countries. 

Medical interpretation is a highly skilled job, requiring the interpreter to have an in-depth knowledge of a huge range of medical terminology. It’s a role that can be incredibly emotionally demanding as well. Could you face delivering the news to a patient that they have a life-limiting illness? 

On the flip side, working as a medical interpreter can also be immensely rewarding, as your work can contribute both to individual patients’ experience of the healthcare system and to the ‘greater good.’

Video game tester

A video game tester career is an interesting choice for those who speak multiple languages. What does a video game tester do? Tests video games! Beta testing allows game developers to identify bugs and to ensure that games are appropriately localized for all of the countries/regions at which they are aimed. 

Let’s say you work as a Spanish translator. If you already undertake Spanish to English translation or English to Spanish translation, then you’re well-positioned to work with game developers who are looking to publish their game in both of these languages. Of course, a natural aptitude for and enjoyment of video games will also be a major plus point if you’re aiming for this kind of work! 

Multilingual content writer

If you’re looking for something less emotionally taxing than medical interpretation, then working as a multilingual content writer could be the role for you. You’ll need top-notch writing skills, of course, as well as the flexibility to turn your hand to everything from social media campaigns and blog posts to websites and white papers. 

Content marketing is big business. Statista reports that 12% of industry professionals publish six or more items of marketing content every week, while a further 24% published two to three pieces of content each week. Finding reliable clients with long-term content marketing strategies, therefore, presents a wealth of opportunities. 


How good are your typing skills? If you have an eye for detail and can work efficiently, then transcription is an excellent alternative career to professional translation. You can transcribe in your native language or your second language. 

One of the key benefits of working as a transcriptionist is that the setup costs are fairly minimal. Once you have a foot pedal and a laptop set up, you’re ready to start marketing your services – simple! 


If you speak two or more languages and want to share your passion for them as part of your career, then becoming a language teacher makes sense. You can teach online or offline, to children or adults, part-time or fulltime. This makes teaching a particularly flexible career choice, as you can fit it around any other commitments that you already have. 

If you’re planning to teach in schools, then you will need to undertake appropriate training. In many countries seeking to drive up teaching standards or struggling to deal with an understaffed education system, a ‘golden handshake’ means that you can receive payment for training, as well as learning the skills you need for your future career. 

Final thought: don’t forget about translation!

Many of the careers above can be considered either instead of working for a translation company or alongside such work. If you decide to stick with translation as well as adding an alternative career path to your CV, then go for a specialism. These vary enormously – as the examples below show. 

Legal translator

A legal translator converts legal documents from one language to another. Accuracy is of paramount importance. 

Literary translator

Literary translators spend their time converting novels, poetry, plays and the suchlike into other languages. 

Both of these translation disciplines include working with language but in quite different ways. As such, if you’re already working in translation and considering alternatives, remember to think about different kinds of translation too. Finding out how to become a certified Spanish translator, for example, could provide just the kind of new focus that you need, without a complete change of career. Just a thought! 

Ofer Tirosh is the CEO of Tomedes. He is an author who focuses on linguistics and the importance of foreign language in globalization and localization.