Professional Translators Have the 'Write' Stuff

Published on Nov 26, 2019

by Marcos Dinnerstein

You speak two languages fluently. Does this mean you are ready to be a professional translator? What skills and experience do you need to earn money and make a career as a professional translator?

Creating quality translations requires more than spoken language skills in two languages. 

What does the US Department of State, Division of Language Services expect? To pass their LS Translation test they recommend you have active translation experience. Below are their recommendations:

  • Five years of translation experience is the minimum to pass their position, even if you have academic training in translation.

  • Work experience has been mentored or professionally reviewed. Without an independent set of eyes, it’s easy to fall into bad habits.

  • For their exacting work, they want to see experience translating high-level correspondence, court records, laws, and other government-related writings.

  • Know in what direction you are best equipped to translate. They recommend that the target language be your native language.

  • Keep informed of foreign affairs terminology in both the source and target languages you’ll be working in.

So while a US State Department Language Services contract is not a certification, credential or resumé line item, it is a strong indicator that you have achieved a legitimate standard in your translation career.

Read: Guidance On: Preparing For the LS Translation Test

The list of errors to guard against will give beginning translators - and perhaps all translators - a solid list of mistakes to watch out for in one’s translations. These include mistranslations, additions (if it’s not in the source, don’t include it), omissions, too literal, ambiguity, grammar, punctuation, spelling, terminology, sentence structure, plus many more. 

Another government standard is the Defense Language Proficiency Test, used by the Department of Defense.

MotaWord maintains rigorous standards and helps translators improve their skills and advance in the translation field. Our translators achieve their competence from academic programs, professional experience that spans years. And working on the MotaWord platform guarantees they get continuous feedback that enriches their skills and, when necessary, keeps them on their toes.

But this is the minimum and only a starting point for a MotaWord translator. We want them to become a part of a culture that values them, supports them and makes each of them a better translator. This allows MotaWord to leverage the collective knowledge of our translators and give our clients the very best translation quickly and at competitive prices.

MotaWord is always looking for qualified, professional translators to join our ranks so please consider applying to work with MotaWord. You can apply to translate on the MotaWord platform here. And one of the many ways we look to improve your work life is via our mobile app. Please read about it here: MotaWord’s Translation App Is Here.

And while our translators value how we help them improve professionally, our ongoing dialogue works to improve MotaWord too. We check in with translators and proofreaders to get your informed feedback on how we can improve our platform. Watch a recent session with Evren Ay, co-founder of MotaWord.


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