First-time posters: please review the site's moderation policy

I am 22 years old and am still undecided with what I want to do in life. I know that I want a family, that is the biggest wish I have. I've come across websites and have been discouraged by how it seems like translating pays by scraps. I realize that the demand is increasing, but I was still troubled not knowing if it would be sustainable enough for a FAMILY until I saw the above post saying that it does pay a descent wage. So I have decided to come and ask for my own situation. So please forgive the “simple enough to Google” questions because you guys seem to be the only ones with the straight answers.

My interests in language are Japanese (currently taking as a GE requirement), Spanish, German, and English.

Is there a language-specific field that can pay a sustainable salary that can provide for a family? If it helps, I plan on being a Minimalist and a Frugalist, but I want to have enough money that I can live in a good neighborhood and actually be able to go through situations like Medical "Emergencies" and maybe spoil each other occasionally).

Can learning multiple languages really pay off to provide for a family if in a combination with Veterinary work, Graphic Design, or a career working with children?

Could I work in this type of field while still having enough time to spend quality time with my child and my wife?

I don't mind hard work as long as the hard work will pay off. I don't want to go on a "conquest" if in the end, I could never be a "Dad". Thank you for your time, I really do appreciate it.

asked 11 Feb '14, 18:06

Darksummers's gravatar image

Darksummers
11112

edited 11 Feb '14, 20:40

Nacho's gravatar image

Nacho ♦
73381532


Darksummers,

The majority of translators and interpreters are freelance. Hence, there is no salary and the income varies a lot, depending on skills, languages, professional competence in general (quality of work, marketing, networking,...).

The masters degree is a mix of blood, toil, tears and sweat. Many students drop out. Many of those who do get their diploma struggle launching their career. They're not officially unemployed, since they are freelance, but they're not getting any contracts to pay their bills either. Eventually, they accept some random job where languages are needed, just to pay rent: Bilingual secretary or PA, receptionist, teacher in a private language school, etc. A minority manages to kick it off and make a good living. But good thinks always come to an end, and the demand on the market is likely to change during the time of a career.

At the beginning, during your studies as well as when trying to launch your career, you need passion to be able to fight against doubts (yours and others), a wide range of talents to succeed and the luck of the few who have the right skills at the right time to meet the demand of the market to start their career. And the energy to hang in there to meet changes in demand. It's not a nine to five job, and having to keep up to meet the demand puts you under constant pressure. It can be handled if your love your job, but it's a burden if you don't.

There will always be jobs for people who speak languages and have some additional skills. The question is whether these jobs will make you happy. No matter how important family is to you, don't forget that being unhappy at work will reflect on your family time and quality of life.

If you want a stable income, job security, predictable working hours ; If you don't want to spend sleepless nights wondering how to find clients, pay bills, meet deadlines ; it's probably not for you.

To conclude: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTJ7AzBIJoI

permanent link

answered 13 Feb '14, 10:17

G%C3%A1sp%C3%A1r's gravatar image

Gáspár ♦
6.6k141829

2

Hi Myra,

I think you may be very wrong when you say "it's nowhere near as hard as engineering or life sciences". How many engineers are there in the world? Millions. How many conference interpreters. Thousands.

There is a big difference between the jobs you quote and conference interpreting too. Interpreting is a skill (like playing tennis or making pottery), rather than the use and application of acquired knowledge.

The following filters get applied to the pool people wanting to be conference interpreters. With each "filter" more and more people drop out.

  • be articulate in your own language
  • know at least one foreign language to educated native-speaker level
  • have excellent general knowledge (and the curiosity to develop it)
  • be able to interpret (getting on a course means you may have the potential to interpret. It doesn't mean you can!) And this includes being pretty intelligent, quick-thinking and having excellent and rapid analytical skills from spoken input. NB... a disproportionately high number of EN interpreters I have ever come across went to Oxford or Cambridge universities.

  • cope with, and enjoy, the stress of being seriously challenged as you move up through the levels: admission to interpreting school, 1st year, 2nd year, final exams, accreditation tests, real work & real world, first technical meetings, first high-level meetings etc

The drop-out rate at school is, in my experience (and not statistically proven), something like 70%. The EU institutions accreditation test pass-rate was only around 35% in 2012. The private market is very competitive and it can take years to get established. And there a very few full-time staff jobs, certainly not for beginners.

These are some of the reasons for the high drop-out rate during and after interpreting school.

(14 Feb '14, 05:07) Andy

Hi Myra, your comment deserves several long answers to explain further why the profession and the studies are so unique. Comments are unfortunately limited to only 2000 or so characters. Maybe you could convert your comment into a question (by clicking on the left hand round arrow near your comment). That'd allow the ii community to answer fully to your questions. :-)

(14 Feb '14, 05:57) Gáspár ♦

Hi Myra,

I think you may be very wrong when you say "it's nowhere near as hard as engineering or life sciences". How many engineers are there in the world? Millions. How many conference interpreters. Thousands.

There is a big difference between the jobs you quote and conference interpreting too. Interpreting is a skill (like playing tennis or making pottery), rather than the use and application of acquired knowledge.

The following filters get applied to the pool people wanting to be conference interpreters. With each "filter" more and more people drop out.

  • be articulate in your own language
  • know at least one foreign language to educated native-speaker level
  • have excellent general knowledge (and the curiosity to develop it)
  • be able to interpret (getting on a course means you may have the potential to interpret. It doesn't mean you can!) And this includes being pretty intelligent, quick-thinking and having excellent and rapid analytical skills from spoken input. NB... a disproportionately high number of EN interpreters I have ever come across went to Oxford or Cambridge universities.

  • cope with, and enjoy, the stress of being seriously challenged as you move up through the levels: admission to interpreting school, 1st year, 2nd year, final exams, accreditation tests, real work & real world, first technical meetings, first high-level meetings etc

The drop-out rate at school is, in my experience (and not statistically proven), something like 70%. The EU institutions accreditation test pass-rate was only around 35% in 2012. The private market is very competitive and it can take years to get established. And there a very few full-time staff jobs, certainly not for beginners.

These are some of the reasons for the high drop-out rate during and after interpreting school.

permanent link

answered 14 Feb '14, 05:33

Andy's gravatar image

Andy
6.7k212739

Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here

By RSS:

Answers

Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text](http://url.com/ "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:

×86
×25
×9
×8
×5

question asked: 11 Feb '14, 18:06

question was seen: 2,143 times

last updated: 14 Feb '14, 06:55

interpreting.info is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

about | faq | terms of use | privacy policy | content policy | disclaimer | contact us

This collaborative website is sponsored and hosted by AIIC, the International Association of Conference Interpreters.