So You Want To Work In The Language Industry?

Panel and Roundtable at New York University

On March 11, 2014 The New York Circle of Translators hosted a panel and roundtable discussion at New York University about career opportunities in translation and interpreting and best practices in training for a career in the language industry.

The panelists included Dr. Milena Savova, Director of New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies Department of Foreign Languages, Translation, and Interpreting; Alta Price, German and Italian to English translator, who heads an editorial and translation business specialized in literature and critical texts on art, architecture, design, and culture; and the Co-President of Translingua Associates, Inc., Nicole Michel who holds a B.A. in translation from the Zurich School of Translation and Interpretation and has been in the language instruction and translation business since 1990.

The audience was an interesting mix of established language professionals, members of the New York Circle of Translators, as well as translation students attending Dr. Savova’s program at NYU.

The three panelists gave interesting insights about their backgrounds and about how they got into the translation business. Dr. Savova started as a Bulgarian translator and language program director in Sofia, Bulgaria, and then made her way to New York where she now heads a renowned translation program at NYU. Ms. Price started out working in the publishing industry and transitioned into a career as a literary translator and editor. Ms. Michel got her diploma as a translator in Switzerland and got introduced to the translation industry when she applied for a project manager position upon her arrival in New York. Today she co-owns a successful translation agency.

Coming from these very diverse backgrounds, the three panelists were able to offer unique perspectives about the translation industry and how it has developed over the past 20 years. Obviously, technology has been the number one catalyst for change, like in many other industries. Machine translation (MT) and online translation tools and applications, as well as crowdsourcing, may have changed the industry forever. However, while these tools may be useful for quick reference, the three panelists agreed that they cannot replace a top-quality human translation. Global communication and translation needs are ever-expanding, and therefore the panelists were very optimistic about the future of the translation industry.

In addition to excellent language skills, the panelists also dispensed valuable advice to young linguists on what it takes to have a successful career. The most important assets that were pointed out included accuracy, responsiveness, responsibility, flexibility, on-time delivery, and quality control.

View all of the panel discussion videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLH8ad43dvHuwEe9pAIKNi0zg037qtSz7g.