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8 Unique Careers for Translators and Interpreters

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Over the course of their training and work experience, language professionals amass an almost superhuman array of skills. Translators and interpreters, in particular, learn to apply their bilingual knowledge in a way that makes them invaluable to the healthcare, legal, and government sectors. They serve as translators, simultaneous and consecutive interpreters, document reviewers, localization specialists, and in other more-or-less familiar roles. And yet, the scope of jobs open to language service providers is actually far wider than that. If you are searching for a new way to put your love of language to work, here are 8 creative, off-the-beaten-path career options to explore.

Video Game Tester

At first glance, it might seem too good to be true, but there are jobs that require testing (i.e. playing) video games for quality assurance purposes. Bilingual Video Game Testers assess new games in order to identify content and functionality issues before going to market. They also work with localization experts to resolve those issues with an eye for cultural and regional differences specific to each market. This position demands strong communication and analytical skills, working knowledge of databases and queries, and of course, a passion for video games.

Social Media Analyst

How does a meme, viral video, or contest retain its spark when translated into another language? It takes the help of culture-savvy translators who get both the original language and the nuances and colloquialisms of the target one. Social media prowess is a vital component of successful marketing, which means that businesses around the world enlist the expertise of bilingual Social Media Analysts to create engaging content and measure its impact in foreign markets. This position requires a high level of proficiency in two or more languages, strong writing skills, and knowledge of SEO and data analysis methods.

Tour Guide

Does leading a group of Mandarin-speaking tourists around Bordeaux’s finest vineyards sound appealing? How about helping Spanish visitors explore the Acropolis in Athens? One of the most picturesque ways to put language skills to use is by working as a Tour Guide. This position is a great fit for outgoing people who speak two or more languages, and in particular for those who have in-depth knowledge of cultural landmarks and points of interest.

Event Coordinator

Most of today’s large organizations and corporations have a global reach, and when foreign clients, partners, and investors pay a visit to headquarters they expect a comfortable and welcoming experience. Bilingual Event Coordinators are responsible for planning, organizing, promoting, and executing these important meetings. They supervise activities related to each event and oversee the budget, catering services, facilities, entertainment, and all of the other components that go into running a successful event. This position is perfect for detail-oriented language professionals who enjoy working on multiple projects simultaneously and who feel comfortable speaking in front of a group.

Cultural Advisor

A bilingual consulting career pairs linguistic and cultural understanding with business acumen. Cultural Advisors perform a wide range of tasks, including corporate training sessions, business negotiations, the development of international marketing strategies, and plenty of translation and interpretation. Their goal is to build and strengthen the relationship between an institution and its international clients, partners, or employees. Linguistic and cultural knowledge are must-haves for this position, but managerial skills, subject matter expertise, and sociability are key as well.

Creative Copywriter

Working primarily with marketing and ad copy, bilingual Copywriters utilize a process known as transcreation. Slogans, catchphrases, and brand-specific language can easily be mangled by literal translation or due to a lack of knowledge about the target culture. It’s the job of bilingual Copywriters to recreate a brand’s look and feel in a foreign market, not only translating text but making sure that it conveys brand identity appropriately. This position involves excellent communication skills, a high degree of creativity, and familiarity with advertising best practices and methods.

Staffing and Recruitment Specialist

Recruiters and staffing personnel are responsible for finding the best and brightest talents for an organization. Whether it’s communicating with prospective students of an ESL program, working with Hiring Managers to recruit new multilingual employees, or interviewing target-language applicants, bilingual Recruitment Specialists typically take part in the full life-cycle of the hiring process. This position calls for strong communication skills in both languages, attention to customer service, and intermediate-advanced computer skills.

Foreign Service Officer

Serving as an FSO provides another opportunity for multilingual professionals to work abroad. Under the aegis of the State Department, officers work in embassies and consulates around the world, where they represent their nations on diplomatic missions. In addition to foreign language proficiency, this position requires applicants to undergo a highly competitive process that involves a written exam, oral assessment, medical review, and security clearance.

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