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Language specialists’ career paths in Finland

Language specialists work in many different fields. They are no strangers to different forms of work. While many are salaried employees, there are many freelancers and entrepreneurs as well.


A translator’s most valuable tool is their own first language and a deep understanding of it. This is closely followed by comprehension of a second working language. Translators are professionals of writing, expression, style, society and critical thinking.

Often, translators specialize in a certain subject or genre, such as law, technology, literature or documents. In Finland, anyone can work as a translator and not all hold a degree in translation studies.

Professional translators ought to be aware of the legislation regarding their trade. Additionally, they follow applicable translation quality guidelines. For example, our organization has worked with industry players to create such guidelines for audio-visual translations.


People use interpreters in situations where different parties do not share a language. Interpreters are professionals of language and communication. Neutrality and impartiality are at the core of interpreting.

In Finland, interpreters work in many subfields from spoken to sign languages and from audio-visual to written forms of communication. Thus, different groups of use interpreters’ services. Interpretation between spoken languages is common in various service settings, in court and at conferences. The same applies to sign language users.

Audio descriptions can be used by blind people or those with visual impairments when they need to know what type of visual cues their surroundings have. Written interpretation can be used in situations where the client, typically with a hearing impairment, needs information but doesn’t need to communicate with the speaker themselves.

Many people with speech impairments, such as deafblind people, use interpreters as well. In those scenarios the interpreter helps their client to communicate with others and others to communicate with their client. The modes can vary from speech interpretation to body language, expressions, writing, signs and beyond.

Other language professionals

Language specialists come from diverse language study backgrounds. Our degrees are often varied, which our professional life reflects. The choice of minor subjects and additional qualifications greatly shape our career. Many language specialists work as technical writers and localizers, which are common professions among people with a background in translations.

Graduates of language degrees often gravitate towards various consulting, coordination and project management positions. Communications is another typical field. There is also a vibrant and lively community of linguistic scholars in Finland that strives towards new innovations and findings in many different areas. One could say that the options for language specialists are limitless.

Our freedom in studies often becomes a freedom in jobs. As is typical to other humanities graduates, we tend to change career paths quite flexibly. We are particularly proficient at acquiring new knowledge. Our knowledge of languages and cultures has been recognized in other fields as well. International marketing and sales could not thrive without language specialists.

The public sector needs us, too, as multilingual and multicultural communities continue to grow. Historically, Finland has long been bilingual and we have been well aware of needing other languages besides our own.