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Profession of Translator: pros and cons

Translator's occupation has been believed to be one of the most prestigious and needed professions since ancient times. The first translators appeared in ancient Egypt and were reckoned among the honored members of its society. In ancient Greece, which had close connections with Eastern countries, experts on foreign languages played a special role. But for interpreters, our cultural legacy possibly would lack many parts of the Bible: it's known that the Old Testament was mainly preserved in Greek variant. In ancient Rus, monks-interpreters were very educated men, and Napoleon Bonaparte said that a soldier who knows two languages is worth two. Today, demand for translators and interpreters has reached its highest point.


Nowadays, knowledge of a foreign language without doubt guarantees higher salary and faster promotion track. But, like everything else, translator's job has its own weak points which, unfortunately, become more important every day. So, let's take a look at pros and cons of this respectable profession.

Of course, let's start with positive aspects. Today the statement that to know a foreign language is vital is undoubtedly true. It's true for everyone and everywhere. Vacancies demanding a person with at least basic knowledge of English make up 70% of all the vacancies, thus more-or-less fluently speaking applicant is ensured with job placement. Let alone translators: a certified linguist-translator must speak fluently at least two foreign languages. According to Yuri Aleksandrovitch Razzhivin, dean of the faculty of translation at Moscow State Linguistic University (MSLU) PhD of History and associate professor, 95% of all the graduates of his faculty are employed and work in completely different spheres. Many of them make good careers in prestigious governmental services (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russian embassies and missions in foreign countries, etc.), others work for private companies. The rest 5% of the graduates are women on maternity leave, postgraduates and graduates who decided to continue their education abroad. Unfortunately, we failed to get the same rates from Moscow State University (MSU), because they don't collect such statistics. Though, no doubt that they're not unemployed.

Generally, today there are heaps of spheres for the professional translators to work at: they can work either as translators, or, for instance, in spheres of advertising, PR, journalism, or in travel business. They are needed in all the major publishing houses. No wonder, because during the five-year study translators receive not only linguistic education, but also philological. They have fantastic prospects in business sphere. A manager with knowledge of several foreign languages is much more valued than an ordinary one even with greater work experience. To be employed at a foreign company one is required to know perfectly at least English. Salaries in such companies are appropriate: no less than 700$ plus substantial social package and the opportunity of having free medical care in one of the best Moscow clinics.

However, to get access to all these benefits, first of all one has to get linguistic education which is a difficult task. Nowadays, competition for admission to translation faculties sometimes comes up to 30 applicants per place. Besides, admission and further education require substantial expenses. It's clear that secondary school can't provide a student with the necessary high level of foreign language knowledge, thus parents have to employ a private tutor for their children since eighth or ninth grade. A common teacher's lesson of two academic hours costs 10-15$. To employ a lecturer from a major Moscow university cost 20-30$ depending on qualification and teaching experience, and professors or experienced lecturers of the same universities get 50$ per lesson. To be well-prepared for entrance examinations, one have to take two-academic-hours lessons twice a week for at least two years. Not all the parents can afford such an expensive treat.



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