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

  • Avg. Salary $35,127.00
  • Avg. Wage $39.63
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand High
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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Translator is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

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


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


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

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 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 More

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

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

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
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.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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.

Athabasca University

Concordia University of Edmonton

University of Alberta

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

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 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.

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

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.

Translators, terminologists and interpreters

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $18.00 $45.00 $38.67 $45.00
Overall $18.45 $45.00 $39.63 $45.00
Top $23.94 $45.00 $40.82 $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.

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.

Industry Information
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

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:

Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council (CTTIC) website:

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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