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Translator

Translators convert written text from one language to another, conveying meaning as faithfully as possible.

Also Known As

Language Specialist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Translators (5125.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters (F025) 
  • 2011 NOC: Translators, terminologists and interpreters (5125) 
  • 2016 NOC: Translators, terminologists and interpreters (5125) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Translators

2006 NOC: 5125.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
METHODICAL

Interest in transcribing text in formats such as memoranda, reports and letters using knowledge of grammar and terms employed in business, professional, technical and trade organizations

INNOVATIVE

Interest in analyzing information to produce translated documents that help readers understand the contents of original material; and in localizing software and accompanying technical documents to adapt them to another language and culture

directive

Interest in consulting with clients to determine the most appropriate adaptation of content from one language to another; may train and supervise other translators

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Most translators translate into their mother tongue. To meet tight deadlines, they sometimes work in teams, each person translating a different part of the same text. They need to ensure consistent use of terminology and similar style through all revisions.

Freelance translators may work on various documents such as:

  • International trade publications
  • News articles
  • Books
  • Industry manuals
  • Educational textbooks
  • Legal documents
  • Technical or scientific reports or articles
  • Radio and television scripts
  • Information related to entertainment, banking, or medicine

The process of translating from one language to another often includes:

  • Researching the topic before beginning the translation
  • Compiling terminology information
  • Revising, editing, and proofreading translated material

Translators may use reference materials such as:

  • Dictionaries, lexicons, and glossaries
  • Internet search engines
  • Computerized terminology banks and encyclopedias
  • General correspondence and reports
  • Documents such as parallel texts
  • Technical specifications
  • Manuals and educational textbooks
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Translators may work long hours to meet deadlines or complete rush jobs.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Translators need:

  • Inquisitiveness
  • Attention to detail
  • Adaptability
  • Interpersonal and research skills

They should enjoy transcribing and analyzing text and determining the most appropriate adaptation from one language to another.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Translators, terminologists and interpreters

2011 NOC: 5125

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 27 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Jan 18, 2022 and Oct 03, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Experience: Will train
Train and supervise staff
Personal Suitability: Accurate
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Personal Suitability: Excellent written communication
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Personal Suitability: Organized
Personal Suitability: Judgement
Personal Suitability: Initiative
Translation Specialization: Technology
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

Translators need mastery of both source and target languages. They must also be proficient in writing skills such as syntax, writing mechanics, and lexicon. Awareness of different cultures is a definite asset.

They need the following knowledge and skills:

  • Training in translation practice and theory
  • Excellent linguistic capabilities and writing skills
  • Knowledge of current affairs
  • An understanding of the fundamentals of business, technology, and law
  • Knowledge of word processing, desktop publishing, and spreadsheet programs
  • Knowledge of the latest electronic resources for translators

The recommended educational route is to earn an undergraduate degree in one or more languages, then complete a specialized program in translation. The best practical training for translators is to spend a length of time living in a culture where the targeted language is spoken.

European standards require that translators speak at least 2 languages as well as their first language. Studying or living in Europe is excellent preparation for employment with international organizations.

Bilingualism or fluency in one or more languages other than English is a prerequisite for training programs in translation.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

In Canada, the following universities offer translation programs:

Some international programs in translation are offered by distance education.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Certification Not Regulated

Certification through the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) is recommended. Candidates for ATIA membership must pass an exam administered by the Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council (CTTIC). Exams are held yearly in Edmonton and Calgary.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Translators may work as freelancers or work full time or part time for:

  • Private translation firms and corporations
  • Schools
  • Federal and provincial governments
  • Not-for-profit organizations

Translators also may work as terminologists or revisers. Some freelance translators work for clients in other parts of the world via electronic communications. Advancement generally takes the form of building a more extensive clientele.

Translators are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 5125: Translators, terminologists and interpreters. In Alberta, 78% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • The translator’s combination of languages
  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the industries listed above
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 5125: Translators, terminologists and interpreters occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.8% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 39 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Freelance translators work on a contract basis on specific projects. They may be paid by the word, the page, or the project. Annual incomes therefore vary from one translator to another and year to year.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Translators, terminologists and interpreters

2016 NOC: 5125
Average Wage
$43.78
Per Hour
Average Salary
$68,225.00
Per Year
Average Hours
30.2
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 5125 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $33.81 $45.00 $43.59 $45.00
Overall $33.81 $45.00 $43.78 $45.00
Top $33.81 $45.00 $43.81 $45.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

ALL INDUSTRIES
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
N/A
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
N/A
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
N/A
Vacancy Rate
N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Humanities and Languages
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) website: www.atia.ab.ca

Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council (CTTIC) website: www.cttic.org

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2020. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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