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Earn a living from translating or interpreting

Becoming a translator or an interpreter is something that people may not have put into consideration but it brings in a lot of money depending on how wide your base of clientele is.

Being a translator is a diverse field that has someone play with many languages as long as they are fluent and can understand what the two parties in need of the services are communicating.

An illustration of a word translated to several languages

What is required?

Kate Akello, an interpreter, translator and human resource officer is good at sign language something she learnt when she was in the same school as the deaf. That earned her first job and salary when she was asked to help translate to some foreigners who needed the service.

“Being an interpreter or translator is something anyone can do because it does not require any capital but you as a human being with your brains. The only time you need money is when you want to learn the languages,” says Akello.

She makes it clear that at the start, someone does not need to incur more expenses like taxes or even bank deductions since the money is given direct to them but with time when you advance to the professional level then you may need to pay the legal dues.

Kawungezi, says they do not really pay taxes but sometimes it depends on the company offering them they contract.

“This happens when a company taxes all the money that goes out of its company which does not exempt that given to the one a translator,” says Kawungezi.

For one to be good in that field, in most cases the translators undergo training but she says one may opt to go through mentorship although for this you cannot but for one to handle a contract single alone, they need to be approved by their mentors.

At the moment, most translators are free lancers because they are not registered and have no association but they hope to get registered with time.

How to get clients

Kawungezi says a person markets him/herself by how good they are at a language, how many languages they know, their ability to travel to places and being friendly to the customers they are working for.

“Usually when a person is a translator, they get their work through referrals made by their previous clients and an individual should be willing to travel to where the client is going so that they can offer their services,” says Akello.

She further says people need to put themselves out there so that people get to know them and this you can do by making good use of your start up platforms, social media platforms and other Medias.

Kawungezi, says much as it may take time for one to get clients since the business is seasonal, they should make use of their available ones which in most cases they get them through contracts, personal contacts, organisations and subcontracts.

How to better yourself

Emmanuel Kakuba, a translator and teacher at Nyakasura School says translators do not really get that much money but they have good seasons when they get enough so one has to be patient and works with passion rather look out for the money.

“For one to be a good translator, they need to give it time and their all because that is when they will be able to become good and avoid making mistakes in the translations,” advises Kakuba.

Reading widely is an aspect he says people should adopt since it will help them learn more and also perfect their skills.

Although he says for one to perfectly translate a language, they should be well conversant with it that is the reason as why one should start with his or her language before advancing to the others.

Akello says if one is to become a translator or even an interpreter, they should do away with laziness because much as this field may seem plain, there is a lot added to it which requires a lot of continued research and also taking up short courses so as to keep up.

How earning is it?

Kawungezi says it is seasonal so you may get a contract after a long period of time it may be good paying or even not but this depends on the season and period of the year.

“In most cases an individual is paid per work or page but the standard payment one can be given for a page is shs 50,000 regardless of the language they are translating to,” says Kawungezi.

Kakuba says the beauty of being a translator is that you determine your pay depending on the company or individual you are working for.

Kawungezi encourages the youths to consider venturing into such activities because it is paying and not taxable although she says their major hindrance may be themselves because they hate reading and researching which is the main thing that makes translating more credible.

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