Interpreter

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Subtitler [Film & TV Drama]
Translator

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Organising ClericalHelping or AdvisingSkill Level 1Skill Level 2Skill Level 3
Level 4Level 5

Interpreters use their knowledge of languages and cultures to convert a spoken or signed language into another spoken or signed language, usually within a limited time frame and in the presence of the participants who need to communicate. FutureGrowthModerate

Interpreters convert the spoken word from one language to another. They assist people or groups who do not speak the same language to understand each other. They work as an intermediary, either over the phone or in person, between people from diverse linguistic backgrounds. They may also convert the spoken word into sign language for the deaf community, or vice versa.

Interpreters may also convert written documents or audio/visual materials into a different spoken language or sign language. They may also travel with tourist guides to interpret cultural or historical information for foreign tourists.


ANZSCO ID & description: 272412: Transfers a spoken or signed language into another spoken or signed language, usually within a limited time frame in the presence of the participants requiring the translation.
  
Alternative names: Language Interpreter, Linguist Interpreter
   
Specialisations: Court/Legal Interpreter, Medical Interpreter, Sign language interpreter, Tourism interpreter.

Interpreters usually specialise in a particular language combination (French and English, for example) and may also specialise in a particular subject area, such as commerce, law, health, science, technology or welfare.

  
Knowledge, skills and attributes

Interpreters need:

  • excellent command of English
  • fluency in two or more foreign languages
  • excellent communication and public speaking skills
  • the ability to liaise with people from a range of backgrounds
  • understanding and acceptance of different cultures
  • to demonstrate flexibility and adaptability
  • a good memory and concentration
  • able to interpret accuracy and objectivity
  • initiative and research skills
  • broad general knowledge
  • the ability to interpret sensitive material in a responsible manner
  • able to maintain confidentiality

 

Interpreter
(Source: Your Career)

Duties and Tasks

Interpreters may perform the following tasks:

  • interpret verbal or signed communications between two parties
  • provide simultaneous or consecutive interpretations of conversations or speeches
  • express the meaning and feeling of what is said or signed in another language in the appropriate tone and style within a range of settings
  • verbally translate written texts.
Did You Know?

Linguists estimate that there are approximately 6,500 languages spoken in the world today. However, about 2,000 of these languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers.

The most popular language in the world is Mandarin Chinese with over one billion speakers.

About half of the world’s languages are no longer spoken by children.

The five main Romance languages (there are many more) are Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese and Romanian. Although we all know French is the language of love, the term Romance actually comes from the Latin expression “romanice loqui”, which means to speak Roman.

Language books

Of all the Romance languages, Italian is the closest to Latin. Dante Alighieri was the one to formalize the Italian language by combining dialects from the south with his refined Italian from Tuscany.

Castilian Spanish is not the only language spoken in Spain. There are at least 3 other major languages spoken in addition to other variations and dialects. The other major languages are Galician, Basque and Catalan.

From the 17th–19th centuries French was pre-eminent as an international language. It was eclipsed by English in the 20th Century. Nowadays more than 75 million people speak French and it is the official language of France, Luxembourg, Haiti and over fifteen African countries. It is also one of the official languages of Belgium, Switzerland and Canada.

Portuguese is spoken by over 230 million people worldwide and is the sixth most popular language in the world.
(Source: Allied Interpreter Service)

Working conditions

Interpreters work in a variety of locations and situations including courts, medical and welfare facilities, international conferences, and cultural and tourist attractions. They may also work for a range of federal, state or territory government departments that are concerned with immigration, legal issues and law enforcement.

Work hours are often irregular, and this type of work is usually part-time. Interpreters may be required to be on call. Many interpreters freelance. Interpreters may also travel around the State with tourist or business groups

Tools and technologies

Intepreters may use a pen and notepad or a laptop computer for portable note taking. When they work at conferences they may work in a booth and use audio equipment such as headphones and a microphone.
 
Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a professional interpreter you need to be fluent in the languages and cultures you wish to work in. In Australia, this is usually English and another language. Government agencies are a major contractor for these services. To work with government you will require a qualification, typically a Diploma or Advanced Diploma in Interpreting or National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) accreditation to be competitive. You can work as an interpreter without any formal qualifications. However, you are more likely to improve your employment prospects if you have formal qualifications in interpreting or languages other than English.

The NAATI run workshops to assist candidates to prepare for accreditation. You do not need to be accredited by NAATI to work as an interpreter, however, employers, such as government agencies, prefer to employ interpreters who can demonstrate they meet these standards.

Translator


Office and Administration


Organising ClericalHelping or AdvisingSkill Level 1Skill Level 2Skill Level 3
Level 4Level 5

Translators convert written documents from one language to another. They study the original document to understand the intended meaning and translate it into the target language in such a FutureGrowthModerate way as to maintain the meaning, spirit and feeling of the text. Translators may work on a large assortment of written material, including novels, business letters, legal documents, technical manuals and scientific articles, some of which may be personal or confidential. Some translators may also supply subtitles for films and television programs.


ANZSCO ID & description: 272413: Transfers a source text from one language into another, usually within an extended time frame to allow for corrections and modifications and without the presence of the participants requiring the translation.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A translator needs:

  • an excellent command of English and at least one other language
  • the ability to work accurately and objectively
  • research skills
  • to be able to keep information confidential
  • to be organised with time-management skills


    Translator
    (Source: BetterTeam)

    Duties and Tasks

    Translators predominantly work with business, technical, legal and scientific written materials. These include letters, reports, articles and books. However, translators can also translate fiction books. The work incorporates:

    • reading documents
    • writing and editing copy
    • using software and bespoke applications to upload content, if required by a client
    • preparing summaries
    • consulting with experts in a specialist field, if required
    • developing contacts and building relationships with clients.


    Some translators may specialise in a particular type of work or in a particular industry sector: for example, specialising in translating technical, legal or financial documents.

    Depending on your employer, career progression can come from taking on a project management or team coordination role.

    Working conditions

    Translators may work in a variety of settings, including offices, hospitals, courts, libraries, universities and in their own homes. Professional translators usually follow an industry code of conduct to translate accurately, objectively and to maintain confidentiality. They generally work standard business hours, however, evening and weekend work may be required to meet deadlines. Many translators work part-time or on a freelance basis.

    Tools and technologies

    Translators commonly use computers and word processing programs to write-up their translations. In some cases they may also use specialist computer-aided translation software. They also use foreign language and specialist subject dictionaries to look-up terms they may be unfamiliar with. If translating subtitles for a film or television program they may use dictaphones or video recorders.


    Education and training/entrance requirements

    To become a translator you need to be able to read and write in the languages and cultures you wish to work in. In Australia, this is usually English and another language. Government agencies are a major contractor for these services.

    To work with government you will require a qualification, typically a Diploma or Advanced Diploma in Interpreting or a National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) accreditation to be competitive. You can work as a translator without any formal qualifications. However, you are more likely to improve your employment prospects if you have formal qualifications in translating or languages other than English.


    Did You Know?

    Let’s talk about English:

    Wordle

    No word in the English language rhymes with silver, orange, month and purple.

    King George I of England did not speak English. He only wrote and spoke German.

    Allied Interpreter Service Inc
    (Source: Allied Interpreter Service)

     

    Subtitler
    Office and Administration

    Service or PersuadingPractical or MechanicalClerical or OrganisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 5

    In a freelance subtitling job, you are contracted to type out the subtitles or captions for TV shows, movies, or video games. Subtitlers make it possible for films to be enjoyed by audiences all over the world and by the deaf and hard of hearing. They translate all the dialogue, music and sound effects of a film into two-line written captions that appear on the screen, either in the language in which the film is made or in a foreign language.

    After carefully watching and listening to the whole film, they write captions with accurate time codes that describe music and sound effects as well as the dialogue and voice-overs. The captions have to be punctuated and spelt correctly and should be on the screen long enough to be read easily. Translating subtitlers translate the dialogue and write subtitles in the language for a particular audience.

    Once they’ve done that and checked that all spelling is correct and that captions don’t obscure characters’ faces, the files are sent to the mastering house (transferring the final soundtrack onto the film in all the various formats). It can then be distributed to cinemas offering subtitled screenings or to cinemas around the world.

    Subtitlers are usually employed by specialist post-production companies but sometimes work on a freelance basis.

    ANZSCO ID: N/A
      

    Knowledge, skills and attributes

    • Grammar: spell, punctuate and use grammar accurately

    • Languages: translate the dialogue into the required language sensitively (for translator subtitlers)

    • Screen spatial awareness: understand how captions will appear on a screen and their impact on the viewing

    • Attention to detail: work precisely to tight deadlines with text and timing

    • Interest in deaf audiences: care about the experiences of the deaf and hard-of-hearing

    • Use of software: be adept in using the subtitling software


    Subtitler
    (Source: N/A)

     

    Duties and Tasks

    As a freelance subtitler, your duties and responsibilities may be to write subtitles in English for those who are deaf or hard of hearing or to translate and subtitle foreign language films or shows into English or vice versa.

    In addition to writing subtitles, some freelance subtitling jobs entail editing and proofreading to ensure that the viewer gets the proper translation.


    Working conditions

    In this role, you may work at a production studio or work from home.


    Tools and technologies

    You will need to know how to work with *.srt files

    Top Ten Subtitle Maker Tools in 2022

    Subtitle Edit
    VisualSubSync
    Subtitle Workshop
    SubtitleCreator
    Aegisub Advanced Subtitle Editor
    DivXLand Media Subtitler
    WinSubMux
    Subtitle Editor
    AHD Subtitles Maker
    SubEdit Player

    Did You Know?

    Some of the questions a subtitler must ask when working on the subtitles are: Is it better to present the subtitles…

    with this particular number of CPL (characters per line) or with that number of CPL?
    on one line or two lines?
    joined together as one subtitle, left as they are, or split into two or more?
    at this particular time, slightly before, or slightly after?
    for this amount of seconds or for that amount of seconds?
    flashing in and flashing out, or floating in and floating out?


    in a sans-serif font or another?
    using bold, italics and/or underlined or not?
    in a smaller or a larger font size?
    in a colour instead of another?
    with or without a background, and in what colour?


    identifying speakers using a particular colour or using a special marker?
    identifying music using musical instruments, the song and the singer/band, or by giving a description of the melody?
    reduced to fit the time and space constraints, leave them as they are, or even possibly fit more information if the time and space allow it?
    for some even more extra seconds to enhance readability or will that hinder coherence with the audio-visual elements?
    (Source: Silent World Malta)


    Education and training/entrance requirements

    Study in school drama and theatre, English, modern foreign languages, music, art and design, photography, graphic design, graphic communication and media studies are useful.

    The qualifications to get a freelance subtitling job vary depending on the type of work you do. If you are subtitling only in English, you may only need a high school certificate. To translate movies from one language to another, you need to have demonstrated fluency in a second language. Because your duties focus on creating accurate subtitles, you must have excellent attention to detail and knowledge of grammar and punctuation in your language(s). You must know how to use relevant subtitling software, which requires the ability to quickly condense information and time subtitles properly. There are online subtitling courses that provide this training. In general, you need excellent listening, reading, and writing skills as well as the ability to market yourself online to secure jobs.

    Many post-production companies that offer subtitling services train the subtitlers themselves. Or you could do an MA in subtitling.


    Employment Opportunities

    Subtitling is an interesting line of work to be in and you might find that it is hard to find work. You should start off by using the free resources that are available to you, especially social media. Setting up LinkedIn and Twitter profiles and starting to connect to other subtitlers will give you a huge advantage, especially when it comes to interlingual subtitling. The reason for this is that a connection of yours may specialize in translating French to English and you might be a German to English translator. Then, if your connection’s company or one that they know of needs a German to English subtitler, they can refer you without worrying about competition.

    Social media is also useful to find actual vacancies. LinkedIn is a huge database. It’s free, reliable and constantly update with real, good quality vacancies.

     

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    Materials sourced from
    Jobs & Skills WA [Interpreter; Translator]
    Target Jobs UK [Translator; ]
    ScreenSkills [Subtitler; ]
    ZipRecruiter [Subtitler; ]
    Translater Thoughts [Subtitler; ]
    Silent World Malta [Subtitler; ]
    Video Converter [Subtitle Maker; ]

    Your Career
    [Interpreter; Translator; ]

     

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