Make us your home page
Instagram

Language services are skills are in demand

Dale Eggett, who will soon finish a master's degree, will go right to work, having had no problem landing a job. • "I did have multiple, multiple job offers," said Eggett, whose Spanish and computer skills put him in the forefront of a burgeoning field. The global marketplace for interpreting, translating and other language services was estimated at $26.3 billion in 2010 and is projected to reach $38.1 billion by 2013.

Most people are familiar with translators, who deal with the written word. Interpreters handle oral communication in government agencies, courtrooms, doctors' offices and businesses.

But Eggett, 28, of California, who will graduate from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, will be paid $50,000 a year to work in a relatively new discipline: localization management, which provides one of the best chances for steady employment in language services.

Localization combines language expertise with computer savvy. "I'm kind of behind the scenes, making the job easier for translators," Eggett said. When a website needs to be translated, it's Eggett's job to strip out the coding and send the translator only what needs to be translated.

Like many other sectors, language services face unique challenges, said Jiri Stejskal, president of Cetra Language Solutions in Elkins Park, Pa., a company that supplies translators, interpreters and localization experts to a range of clients.

One issue is machine translation. "It's not quite there yet," Stejskal said. He pulled out a screen grab of a Philadelphia government website that used the journalism term "lead story" on its home page. In Spanish, it morphed into a "story about metal."

But a more fundamental and ongoing struggle is to educate employers about the difference between being simply bilingual and truly qualified.

Top interpreters need to hear what is said and speak it in another language simultaneously. That's the U.N. gold standard, and high proficiency can merit a six-figure income.

"Knowing how to cook doesn't make you a chef," Stejskal said.

Translators typically get paid by the word. Anne Connor, president of the Delaware Valley Translators Association, loves if the client pays by the Spanish word. Spanish uses more words than English to convey the same idea. Freelance translators can earn $60,000 a year, according to the latest available survey, taken in 2006.

Interpreters can earn considerably less, mainly because they are paid by the hour and jobs may come infrequently. The best chance to earn the most is to work in a highly technical field, or to be certified in a language in demand, such as Arabic.

Language services

Responsibilities: Translators convert written documents. Interpreters handle the spoken word. Localization specialists use computer and linguistic skills to translate websites and handle coding.

Education: At least a college degree, often in a language, plus professional credentials.

Background: Many people have bilingual backgrounds, then study languages extensively.

Pay: Most interpreters and translators work on a freelance basis, finding work through agencies. Translators, paid by the word, can earn $60,000 a year. Interpreters, paid by the hour, average $35,000, but some earn more than $100,000.

Source: Cetra Language Solutions

Language services are skills are in demand 06/14/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Philadelphia Inquirer.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa is 15th-most popular city to move to with U-Haul

    Markets

    TAMPA —Tampa is undoubtedly a destination point, at least according to U-Haul.

    Tampa is the No. 15 destination for people moving with U-Haul trucks. | Times file photo
  2. Florida's economy growing faster than other big states and far better than U.S. overall

    Business

    When it comes to economic growth, Florida's running alongside the leading states and well ahead of the United States as a whole.

  3. Westshore Marina District project takes shape with another acquisition

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — One of Tampa Bay's prime waterfront areas took another major step toward redevelopment Friday as WCI Communities bought 2.35 acres in Westshore Marina District.

    WCI Communities, Lennar's high-end subsidiary,has paid $2.5 million for 2.35 acres in the Westshore Marina District for 35 townhomes. WCI is under contract  to buy an additional 9.5 acres.
[BTI Partners]
  4. Posh Guy Harvey RV park to open in Tampa Bay with $250,000 cottages

    Business

    HOLIDAY — Love those Guy Harvey T-shirts with the soaring marlins? In the not too distant future, you might be able to kick back in your own Guy Harvey cottage in the first-ever Guy Harvey RV park.

    Renderings of the clubhouse and an RV cottage site of the planned Guy Harvey Outpost Club & Resort Tarpon Springs.
[Guy Harvey Outpost Collection]
  5. Port Tampa Bay secures $9 million grant to deepen Big Bend Channel

    Business

    Port Tampa Bay has secured a $9 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the widening and deepening of the Big Bend Channel in southern Hillsborough County.