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€22k > 42
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(thousands per year)*
€22 - 42
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Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Translates text and written documents from one language to another.

Videos & Interviews header image

1Total Records:2

Breda Ni Mhaoláin
Translator / Interpreter

Breda is currently employed as an Editor in the translation section of the Houses of the Oireachtas. Breda was raised in Connemara and grew up speaking Irish, she loves that even though she is now in Dublin her job still enables her to speak the language on a daily basis. 

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Aistriúchan don Eoraip
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The Work header image

Translation means producing a text in a different language, ensuring that the original meaning is retained, usually for a specific audience and purpose. Interpretation is slightly different, in that it is based on verbal rather than written communication.

Most opportunities in translation are in technical, scientific and commercial translation such as textbooks, instruction manuals, research papers and advertising brochures. This work generally requires knowledge of a specialised field such as law, finance, engineering or technology.  
Translators also need to know technical terminology and jargon. Technical translation is not about creating literature, but trying to convey a meaning in terms that the reader can understand. For example, a commercial letter needs to be translated to put across ideas for a reader who thinks in commercial terms. 
In the literary translation of a foreign book, poem or play, the translator needs to convey the spirit of the work. They need flair for the appropriate turn of phrase and an understanding of the author's style and period. Much of this work is carried out on a part-time basis by university lecturers or by people who are creative writers in English. Sometimes, literary translators work from a rough translation prepared by another person, which they refine into a more acceptable form.  
Translators can also specialise in a particular area or subject. These specialist translators may work for law firms, technical industries or medical researchers. Their specialist knowledge helps them to translate the documents in this area.  
Translators research a wide range of terminology and language specific phrases. They read through original documents and produce a summary. Translators may check words using dictionaries, thesauruses and proofread documents.  
Few people make a living from literary translation as it can take many years to build a reputation. So it is usual to combine literary translation with other work.

Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Follow ethical codes that protect the confidentiality of information.


Translate messages simultaneously or consecutively into specified languages, orally or by using hand signs, maintaining message content, context, and style as much as possible.


Listen to speakers' statements to determine meanings and to prepare translations, using electronic listening systems as necessary.


Compile terminology and information to be used in translations, including technical terms such as those for legal or medical material.


Read written materials, such as legal documents, scientific works, or news reports, and rewrite material into specified languages.


Identify and resolve conflicts related to the meanings of words, concepts, practices, or behaviors.


Check translations of technical terms and terminology to ensure that they are accurate and remain consistent throughout translation revisions.


Refer to reference materials, such as dictionaries, lexicons, encyclopedias, and computerized terminology banks, as needed to ensure translation accuracy.


Train and supervise other translators or interpreters.


Educate students, parents, staff, and teachers about the roles and functions of educational interpreters.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships: Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.


Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others: Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.


Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.


Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates: Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.


Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work: Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.


Performing for or Working Directly with the Public: Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.


Getting Information: Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.


Communicating with Persons Outside Organization: Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.


Processing Information: Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.


Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Foreign Language: Knowledge of the structure and content of a foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.


English Language: Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


Customer and Personal Service: Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


Law and Government: Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.


Communications and Media: Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.


Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.


Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Learning Strategies: Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.


Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

As a translator, you must be prepared to work mainly on your own. Therefore you need to be self-disciplined and self motivated.  
You must also have patience and persistence because the work is detailed. A good standard of written English is essential as well as an ability to handle complex information.  
The workload can be intense and you may be under pressure and have to work long hours when deadlines are approaching.

Entry Routesheader image

The usual route to a career in translation is to first complete a degree course in Modern Languages. Some courses place emphasis on language rather than literature and may include the practice of translation within the course. Other suitable degree courses may combine a technical subject with language study and technical translation. Relevant courses are available at a number of ITs and universities throughout the country.
With few exceptions (i.e. minority languages) a degree is essential, although your degree does not necessarily have to be in languages.

Most translators can work from at least two languages and usually specialise in a subject such as business, medicine, computing, science or law. Many translators have work experience in a professional area.

It can be an advantage to have good knowledge of a third language, i.e. Irish, or others of the lesser-used languages in the European Union.

The qualifications required vary depending on the type of work.

Certified, Professional translators typically have Irish Translators and Interpreters Association (ITIA) membership and recognition. Dedicated Translation companies such as WordPerfect only recruit people who are Certified in Translation. Well-developed written communication skills in your mother tongue, including a thorough knowledge of grammar and spelling is also required. Material for translation may be of a sensitive and confidential nature, calling for discretion and confidentiality.

To become a Professional Member of the Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association (ITIA) you are required to pass the Professional Membership Examination, in addition to having between two and five years’ documented translation experience and/or a qualification as a translator/interpreter.

Foras na Gaeilge holds an annual exam as part of their accreditation system – Séala Creidiúnaithe d’Aistritheoirí Gaeilge. Those who pass this exam are included on the Foras na Gaeilge panel of accredited translators. These translators must pass the exam every five years in order to remain on the panel.

Irish in the EU Institutions

The Irish Translators The Official Languages Act (2003) and the recognition of Irish as an official working language of the European Union has resulted in increased opportunities in the area of translation and interpreting.

Technical Writing

Qualifications in technical writing are also valuable for translation careers. A degree in an area such as science, law, business, engineering together with fluency/proficiency in two other languages is usually sufficient.

Last Updated: October, 2015

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Languages in Action - from: European Commission [pdf]
Go..Teangacha in úsáid - from: An Coimisún Eorpach [pdf]
Go..Translator - from: N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Translator - from: GradIreland
Go..Translator / Interpreter - from: European Union [pdf]

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: European Commission (Ireland)
Address: European Union House, 18 Dawson Street, Dublin 2
Tel: (01) 634 1111
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: The Irish Translators and Interpreters Association (ITIA)
Address: C/o Irish Writers' Centre, 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1
Tel: (01) 872 1302 / 087 673 8386
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

History, Culture & Languages
Media & Publishing
Government, Politics & EU
Law & Legal

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