Well, we had happy words in a recent post, but what about happy jobs? A report commissioned by the UK government (the Cabinet Office, to be precise) lists 274 occupations in order of their “job satisfaction rating“. Some of the results I find a bit odd: farmers come in at number 8 and farm workers 23, while gardeners and landscape gardeners are down at 173. Why the gap, I wonder? Anyway, “Authors, writers and translators” are number 42 in the list, a result that I find gratifying for 3 reasons:

  1. Translators actually got a mention (I so often have to list my occupation as “other” in surveys and similar).
  2. 42 out of 274 is a none-too-shabby score.
  3. We’re grouped with authors and writers. This seems to me a pretty classy group to be in. And it makes sense, if you consider that translators need to have good writing skills if they’re to do their job properly.

And the UK’s top job is…

Another survey, from September 2013, ranks the Top 10 Best Jobs in the UK. The survey, conducted by Adzuna, a search engine for classified ads, ranks jobs on the basis of criteria such as earning potential, competitiveness, working conditions, unemployment rates and job security. Amazingly, this survey puts translators at Number 1. Now, I like my job and it gives me great satisfaction, and I know that lots of other translators feel the same way. But the top job in the UK? The survey also lists translation as one of the 5 least stressful jobs, stress level being calculated by ranking the inherent demands of the job against 15 different criteria, including deadlines, competitiveness, and physical and emotional risk. I’d have thought deadlines alone would be enough to take translation soaring off the stress chart…

Does money buy you happiness at work?

Both studies also list average income. According to The Economist, referring to the Cabinet Office study, “regression analysis on all the data suggests that pay and job satisfaction are pretty closely correlated“. That study put translators’ average pay at £26,207, while Adzuna’s gives an average salary of £39,900. So quite a discrepancy, although the two surveys are probably not comparing like with like. Adzuna’s use of “salary” suggests in-house positions, while the Cabinet Office grouping of “Authors, writers and translators” suggests that they’re looking at self-employment figures. I’ll be writing more posts on translator pay and job satisfaction in the next week or so but take a look at these surveys in the meantime – they provide plenty of food for thought.

Other posts you might like:

Translation as a career? It’s right up there!

Not love, not money. It’s translation that makes the world go round

The Gettysburg Address: lessons for writers (and translators!)

By Marian Dougan


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