A Degree That Maps To Many Careers
Today’s hyperconnected world is a multilingual one. New York State alone is home to over 800 languages spoken by 30% of its residents. In 2020, a CSA market survey of 29 countries finds 76% of e-commerce consumers choosing to complete transactions in a language other than English. According to Slator.com, Verizon Media is said to have translated-localized an average 500,000 words monthly, reaching 56 locations in the US and around the world.
Professional translators work with written texts and multimedia content often utilizing proprietary software and platforms. Those specializing in critical languages may take on full-time or long-term contract positions with government and international organizations working as Area-, Diplomatic-, or Language-Specialist, or simply Linguist. In the private sectors, translators will find diverse in-house jobs with desk titles that refer to their language and/or scope of work, as in: Spanish Public Relations, Chinese Outreach Manager, Russian Marketing Strategist, Arts and Culture Researcher, Product Compliance Reviewer, etc. More experienced translators may develop field specialization to work in legal or financial translation, medical/pharmaceutical terminology, video game design, transcreation and so on.
Professional interpreters work orally to render both written and audio communication between two languages. Interpreters may work in-person or remotely over-the-phone or via video conferencing. In the US (particularly in the dense urban areas), consecutive interpreters especially are in high demand in the key public sectors — healthcare, education, immigration affairs, civil and criminal justice and national security. Increasingly, social service agencies often set a specific preference for trained community interpreters to fill full-time liaison and counseling positions. In the private sectors both simultaneous and escort interpreters are variously needed in arts and entertainment, international conferences, tourism and hospitality and employee training for the healthcare and airline industry.
As we find our lives increasingly touched by translators and interpreters, the language services industry has grown by leaps and bounds, estimated at US $49.6 billion dollars in 2019. Besides working freelance in the voluminous global market, many translators/interpreters also opt to work within the industry taking on managerial, administrative or creative roles in localization, subtitling and captioning, software development, post-editing or quality assurance.