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Becoming a Finnish translator typically starts with, at minimum, an undergraduate degree in Scandinavian languages, with an emphasis on Finnish. This degree can become even more valuable if you have pursued translation internships during your final two years of school. It is also wise to immerse yourself in Finnish culture and history as you become a Finnish translator. Your employment options upon graduation can range from working for embassies or government agencies, customer service jobs with Finnish companies, or with local companies that might do business in Finland.
Since there may be limited undergraduate programs in Finnish alone, a career in Finnish translation can start with a degree in Scandinavian languages. Most degree programs in Scandinavian languages allow for specialization in Norwegian, Swedish, or Finnish. Classes in Scandinavian history and culture can help you further understand the Finnish language. Your college experience might include study abroad experiences in Finland and participation in multicultural organizations.
A translation internship allows you to build your resume while gaining experience in conversational Finnish. You can work with your academic advisor to find regional companies with Finnish clients or to arrange for an internship with a government agency that deals with trade and commerce in Scandinavia. You might be able to find a retail outlet or office of a Finnish company in your area that needs a customer service translator.
Immersion in Finnish culture allows you to become a Finnish translator familiar with the country's latest culture and trends. You might also plan a post-graduation trip to Finland to test and expand your language skills. A budget-friendly immersion option is to travel to communities in your region established by Finnish immigrants. These communities might feature food, clothing, and celebrations associated with Finland. You can also look online for audio and video files and other practice materials from Finland to test your comprehension skills as you become a Finnish translator.
You might apply for public service positions as you become a Finnish translator. One source of translation jobs is Finland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which operates embassies around the world. You can apply for entry-level translation jobs answering tourist questions and translating for diplomatic staff. The national governments of Sweden, Norway, and other neighboring countries might hire Finnish translators to ensure clear communications.
Becoming a Finnish translator who works with a national or international company based in Finland could be another option. You might find work in Finland with a retailer that needs a translator to handle customer questions or screen job applicants who don't speak Finnish. Your services could also be used during shareholder meetings and presentations run by Finnish executives trying to communicate with foreign audiences. Given the global economy, it may also be possible to find a translator position with a company near you who does business in Finland or in Scandinavia generally.
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