It's not the field that nourishes, but its cultivation - Russian proverb
A European Commission study conducted by Eurobarometer indicates that the Russian language is a second language to 5% of the population. Granted, that a far cry from the percentage of people who speak English; still, Russian is a language actively taught in schools across the continent.
Many students of Russian learn the language as a way to advance their career prospects. If you are such a one, have you considered working as a Russian translator?
Let Superprof show you a few avenues you could explore to find the work best suited to you.
Become a Russian Translator in a Translation Agency
The profession of translator attracts many people who are passionate about foreign languages. And what could be better than spending time working on foreign texts while continuing to progress in modern language studies?
One of the best possible options for working as a translator - of Russian or other languages (English, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, etc.), is working in a translation agency.
Translation agencies are companies specializing in the translation of documents written in other languages.
You may position yourself as a translator of a specific language, such as Russian, or specialize in the translation of documents in specific fields such as technical documents, health documents, legal matters, political papers and even literary translations.
Many companies now outsource their translation needs to translation agencies, making work in those firms particularly accessible.
Every agency has its specific requirements for hire. It is therefore important to be well informed before applying to the translation agency that is right for you.
Working with an agency may be on a freelance basis or as a salaried employee. The second option - a standard hire, entails recruitment done via regular processes: send in your CV, along with a cover letter and then, an interview. Should all of that go according to plan, you will become an integral part of that agency's team of translators.
Agencies can also contract with you as a freelance Russian translator to have you work on just a few assignments.
In this case, you will be asked to take a test to assess your abilities and your level of Russian and as a translator. If you do well on that test, the agency will keep you on file and perhaps offer you regular translation assignments. Beware, though, that, as a freelancer, every contract may be a one-shot deal with no further work to be had.
If you find a salaried position in a translation agency, your salary will be regular but you may need to be geographically flexible to find a job. If you choose the freelance option, you can work from anywhere you want.
On the other hand, the rates offered by translation agencies are often lower than what a freelance translator might charge directly from their clients since the agency acts as an intermediary.
If you prefer employment through a translation agency, it may be ideal to contact several offices to increase your chances of obtaining assignments.
Russian Translators Needed in Firms
Businesses may hire a freelance translator or recruit one or more translators to work within their organization. The work may involve translating technical documents and commercial contracts or communicating internationally.
Most of these companies are foreign-oriented, whether they are located in the UK or headquartered elsewhere.
As a Russian translator, you may apply to these companies' job adverts. You would certainly receive preference if you specialise in particular fields such as legal, scientific or business communications. Your skills would not only be greatly appreciated, but they would also likely be in high demand.
Now, for the downside: such positions are still quite rare. You should not expect all businesses to have an urgent need for your services as a Russian translator but, if a business seems particularly attractive, you should apply for another position with them just to get your foot in the door.
And then, keep your ear to the ground for any translation opportunities that may come up.
To optimize your chances of being recruited, consider looking at companies across the UK, not just locally. Also, why not look at companies in Russia that need to translate documents into English? Of course, this option would be ideal if you are planning to move abroad.
Whether at home or abroad, it is best to have a little experience before applying to large companies as a translator. Also, you should build your professional experiences and have an academic background consistent with your application.
Do you know where to take Russian lessons in London?
Work as a Freelance Russian Translator
As mentioned before, Russian translators can set themselves up as freelancers. Freelancing is another term to describe independent translators.
Such a translator creates their own business structure, often a sole trader company, and offers their services to a variety of clients: translation agencies, communication agencies, businesses, individuals, etc.
There is a multitude of fields and specialities a freelance Russian translator might find work in:
- The literary translator works in the publishing world and translates published works such as novels, DIY manuals, tourist guides, cookbooks and so on. A Russian literary translator may also translate articles, interviews and other print media in the field of communication or journalism.
- The technical translator works with different clients but in a specific field, according to their skills. This translator may specialize in pharmacology, mechanics, medicine, science and so on. The greatest difficulty is that the translator must have a perfect knowledge of the vocabulary used in that field or activity.
- The audiovisual translator works in cinema, television and everything related to audiovisual productions. They translate the contents by adding subtitles or by proposing a script for dubbing.
- The judicial or sworn translator translates official legal documents such as identity documents, civil status documents, judgments and more. These are official translations; the translator receives the approval for this work from judicial authorities by submitting an application to the competent authorities. This type of translator cannot carry out the work without first having been approved; otherwise, they operate under penalty of legal proceedings.
- The localizer translator works in the web and video games industry, or more broadly in the IT industry. They are responsible for translating website interfaces and video games for foreign countries; in this case, for the Russian market.
- The translator reviser: More and more generalized, the translator reviser ensures the correction of an already translated text. They reread and modify certain passages as needed, perhaps if the translation does not seem coherent. These proofreaders may have to correct machine translations (Internet translation type) or translations made by professional translators.
- The terminologist translator joins the technical translator by working specifically on the precise terms of a domain or discipline. Their quest is to find the equivalent specialised term in the foreign language. It could be the name of a mechanical part or a specific medical term. They must therefore have specialized knowledge of the subject matter.
Other Ways to Find Russian Translator Work
It is not uncommon for a translator to diversify their income by taking on other language-related work. Russian translators have language skills that can be adapted very well to other jobs, for example as a tutor of Russian.
Why not offer language courses to people who want to advance their Russian language skills? You can offer Conversational Russian lessons, linguistic theory lessons, Russian culture lessons, and so on. Some establishments, such as adult education centres and schools also recruit people who are fluent in Russian as teachers.
Another possible way to capitalise on your Russian language skills: become an English teacher for Russian speakers.
If you choose that path, it becomes a question of teaching the world's lingua franca to Russian speakers in private or group lessons. ESOL courses can be successful whether done in person or remotely, via webcam. You will be able to teach English to Russians from your living room.
Also, why not try your language skills as an interpreter?
Beware that, just as for a translator or a teacher, the profession of interpreter requires specific skills and abilities that are best gained through experience. However, as you already know Russian, wanting to learn interpreting doesn't have to remain just wishful thinking.
As an interpreter, you will be tasked with ensuring live translation at conferences, in meetings, personal and professional appointments - anytime real-time interpretation of Russian is needed.
Becoming a copywriter is another alternative for Russian translators who can write for websites and blogs. Here, the key is being up on modern vernacular and slang commonly used in the informal writing so prevalent online.
Also, have you thought about giving lessons in Russian?
Where to Find Job Offers for Russian Translator Work
When you're new to translation, the first step is knowing where to look for work.
Sometimes Russian-speaking students are hired by the company that took them on for an internship at the end of their academic course, but this is not the case for everyone. If you didn't have the chance to benefit from such an internship, once you've landed your diploma, you will have to embark on a job search.
You can, of course, turn to well-known platforms like Indeed or Glassdoor. However, adverts on these platforms are often slow to publish; it is not uncommon for job seekers to submit applications toward the end of the companies' recruitment process because of that delay.
A better bet would be to go through Linkedin, where you can build your profile and post your CV while already communicating with professionals in the linguistics and translation sectors. That way, your professional network will function as it was meant to. On LinkedIn, it is also possible to set an alert to be notified of interesting and suitable positions that match your knowledge, skills and abilities.
If you prefer to freelance, you will need to learn how to canvass clients by sending emails to translation agencies or professionals with whom you would like to work and offer your services. You may also establish a profile on Upwork, a web-based freelancer marketplace, where clients can contact you.