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Past Experience as a Stepping Stone to the Translation Industry

Past Experience as a Stepping Stone to the Translation Industry

For many professionals, work in the translation industry is actually the second (or even third) act of their career, following a pivot from another field. The most successful draw on past experience to shine in their new roles. 

Customer Service

Patience, politesse, and people skills? Yes, please. While the content of their calls and conversations may vary by employer, the best customer service reps can answer FAQs backward and forward, walk clients through processes step-by-step, and problem-solve on the fly. These skills are especially helpful for project managers (PMs), business development managers (BDMs), and vendor managers (VMs). 


A bachelor degree is a prerequisite for most positions in the translation industry. Those professionals with graduate degrees and even PhDs earned them through persistence, creativity, and a commitment to expanding their expertise — all marks of great operations managers, PMs, and linguists (with the right degree, of course).  


As the industry has turned its focus to back-end solutions, including translation management systems and machine translation engines, opportunities for the tech-minded have grown significantly. Pros may be able to continue their highly technical work with a SaaS company, or use their expertise to speak with specialized clients as a knowledgeable PM on behalf of a language service provider (LSP).

Freelancers, Consultants, et al.

It takes all types to make the translation world go round. Entrepreneurs who have experience hustling on their own have a unique vantage point that can benefit operations managers (to help the LSP run smoothly) and BDMs (to identify and target potential clients’ needs). The drive and passion they’ve poured into their own businesses can inspire LSPs’ owners and employees, too.