Career outlook for translator

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would convert the written word from one language into another without changing the meaning or tone.

You could work on a number of subjects, or specialise in a particular area, such as:

  • Scientific, technical or commercial material like reports, manuals and brochures
  • Legal documents, such as contracts
  • Literary work, such as novels, plays and poetry
  • Media work, such as film scripts and subtitles for films
  • Educational resources, such as textbooks, e-books and apps
  • Online content, such as e-commerce, interactive platforms, business to business websites and blogs

You would:

  • Reproduce the text clearly, accurately and in the original style
  • Use specialist knowledge, such as technical terms
  • Research legal, technical or scientific terms and consult with experts to check accuracy
  • Match the culture of the target audience

In large companies you may edit rough translations created using computers. You may also use other types of translation software.

Working conditions


As a translator employed by a company, you would work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. As a self-employed translator your hours would vary depending on how much work you have.


Your work would normally be office-based and you may work alone a lot of the time. Occasionally you may need to visit clients, experts or specialist organisations, but most contact would be by email, phone or post.


Some jobs are based abroad, such as those with the United Nations (UN) or the European Union (EU). Some international organisations also outsource their translation work to agencies and freelancers.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Developing a plan
  • Attention to detail
  • Recalling
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Researching
  • Observation
  • Problem solving

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


You do not always need a Higher in each language, as long as you can show good language ability.

Entry to a postgraduate diploma, PgDip, (SCQF level 11) in Translating requires a relevant degree.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by many courses)
  • Maths (required by many courses)
  • Modern languages (required by many courses)
  • Science
  • Business
  • Social studies

You will also need

 To enter this career you must be fluent in at least one other language but some roles require fluency in two or more languages. 

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that demonstrate the application of linguistic skills such as SQA Modern Language for Life and Work Award (SCQF Level 3/4).

The Chartered Institute of Linguists' Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) is valued within the industry.

Once qualified membership of The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL) or the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) may be helpful.