How do I Become a Spanish Translator?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2018
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A translator can refer to a software application or online program that translates words or phrases from one language to another. More often, it refers to a person who has mastered two or more languages and is capable, at minimum, of rendering translations in one direction, or possibly in both. A Spanish translator is an expert in rendering Spanish or one of the dialects of Spanish into at least one other language and/or at least one other language into a dialect of Spanish. To become a Spanish translator requires both language skill and other qualities, depending on the context of translation.

It is usually considered that translation is best performed by a native speaker, so a person who decides to become a Spanish translator is often a native speaker of Spanish or a native speaker of the other language that will be the focus of the translation efforts. Whether you plan to focus on translating from spoken Spanish or to spoken Spanish, you may need to know more than one dialect of Spanish, for example, Castilian Spanish as well as one or more varieties of Latin American Spanish.


If you want to become a Spanish translator of documents, there is less concern with dialects if you are translating formal Spanish, which has the same standard everywhere. If, however, your work involves a subject area specialty, such as business translation, legal translation, literary translation, medical translation, scholarly translation, or technical translation, such as software or software documentation, special training in the vocabulary, style, and forms of the particular field would likely be necessary. On the other hand, with less specialized documents, such as newspapers, correspondence, advertisements, and magazine articles, more dialect knowledge might be required. This is also true when translating multimedia, such as preparing subtitles.

If you want to become a Spanish translator of live language, either to Spanish or from Spanish, you might find work in a healthcare setting, a legal setting, a diplomatic setting, or in business settings. Some of these could have international or multinational personnel. Live language translation in these settings can bring up issues of culture, manners, decorum, and expectations. A translator must be able to think quickly and understand the impact of his or her choices.



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