Russian Translator: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Sep 18, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a Russian translator. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and experience to find out if this is the career for you.

Russian translators must be fluent in Russian and one other language. A bachelor's degree may be preferred by some employers, and translators need to have experience to work in this field.

Essential Information

Russian translators convert the written word from Russian into another language or from another language into Russian. Individuals interested in becoming a Russian translator must be fluent in Russian and at least one other language. A bachelor's degree is a common requirement, although it does not have to be in Russian. Some colleges offer translation studies programs and study abroad opportunities. Experience is also an essential requirement for gaining employment in this area. Experience can be obtained through internships and volunteer work.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Experience gained through internships and volunteer work
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 19% (for all interpreters and translators)*
Median Salary (2018) $49,930 annually (for all interpreters and translators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Duties

Russian translators analyze, identify and resolve variances in word meanings and ideas within a written document so that none of the original information is lost in translation. Cultural references including slang terms, idioms and other phrases that don't translate literally are explained to the target audience. The Russian translator keeps the voice, attitude and context of the original work intact during the translation process. If necessary, Russian translators modify translations to meet the reader's intellectual or reading grade level.

Due to the meticulous nature of translation work, it can take several drafts and revisions before a translation is complete. Russian translators ensure all technical terms and vocabulary are used properly, spelling and grammar are accurate and facts are correct. Russian translators may use several language resources like dictionaries, encyclopedias, lexicons, vocabulary lists and computer software programs to aid them. They may also compile their own list of terminology, phrases and colloquialisms for future translations.

Many Russian translators receive and return assignments via the Internet, making it possible to work from home or anyplace with Internet access. They may work together with authors to ensure they are keeping the translated text within the parameters of the original text.

Russian translators may specialize in a certain field. Those working in the medical field translate informational brochures and patient materials into Russian or from Russian into other languages. Judiciary translators have a thorough grasp of the Russian legal system, as well as the legal systems of other countries, so that they may convert court documents and other legal texts accurately from one language to the other while keeping important legal requirements in mind.


Education requirements for Russian translators depend on the employer, but fluency in Russian and at least one other language is required. A bachelor's degree is a common requirement for Russian translators, although it doesn't necessarily need to be in Russian. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) students can major in a subject that is specific to the field of translation they want to work in such as literature, medicine or legal studies.

Several colleges and universities offer translation studies programs that teach basic language and culture tools, translation theory and translation practice. Some programs may offer courses specific to Russian translation, as well as study abroad opportunities that allow students to interact with native speakers and increase their level of immersion in the culture.

The BLS stated that experience is essential for gaining employment. Entry-level Russian translators can gain practical experience by acquiring internships while in school or doing volunteer work. Hospitals, local clubs, Russian organizations and sporting event organizers may offer volunteer opportunities.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted much faster than average job growth for interpreters and translators, of 19%, through 2028. The BLS reported a median annual wage for these individuals of $49,930 in 2018.

A bachelor's degree may increase job prospects for those planning to become a Russian translator, and candidates can gain required experience through internships and volunteer work. Russian translators can specialize in certain areas, such as the medical or judiciary fields, and can often work from home. Job growth for interpreters and translators, at 19%, is predicted to be faster than average through the year 2028.

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