The translation industry is all about “bridging the gap” and ensuring that speakers of different languages can communicate. So it makes sense for prospective employees to understand just what they might be getting into when reading a job ad. For any given posting, they should grasp the terms used to describe the role, the work, and the ideal candidate.
While these terms might popularly be associated with perks offered by major tech companies, culture goes beyond hammocks in the office and gourmet cafeterias. Job-seekers should consider how employers describe their company culture (and observe the application process itself), and reflect on how that aligns with their personal preferences. Culture covers company structure and operations (e.g. structured and bureaucratic versus lax and not-so-organized) as well as attitudes toward work-life balance.
Don’t worry — most companies (that we know of) don’t expect recruiters and sales account managers to code. Depending on the position and possible paths for career development, employers might look not for experts, but for candidates who know the basics of role-adjacent tools and can accomplish simple tasks on their own, perhaps researching solutions and techniques as needed. Once on the job, the company might even encourage workers to pursue related professional development.
Translation companies have two speeds: fast and faster. Almost everyone working in the translation industry juggles multiple projects simultaneously, but a “fast-paced environment” could have different implications depending on the company. It might mean projects have quick turnaround times; a good number of clients might change project specs on a dime; newcomers might face a steep learning curve in terms of tech, procedures, and culture (see above).
Whenever possible, identify your direct experience with the duties listed in the job description, and then quantify your accomplishments. If you’re in business development, this might mean winning a certain number of sales per month or improving the conversion rate. Vendor managers might have recruited a whole slew of linguists under a tight deadline. New grads might look outside their coursework to their experience volunteering or participating in student associations, as work soliciting donations or planning and running events can all be relevant.