Writing, Translating and Public Relations Professionals

At Work

People in this group work for governments; advertising agencies; large corporations; private consulting firms; magazines, journals, newspapers and other publishers; radio and television networks and stations; social agencies; private translation and interpreting agencies; and international and other organizations. They may also be self-employed.

Writers research and write books, scripts, plays, essays, speeches, manuals, specifications and other non-journalistic articles. Editors review, evaluate and edit manuscripts, articles, news reports and other material for publication and broadcast, and co-ordinate the activities of staff. Journalists research, investigate, interpret and communicate news and public affairs through newspapers, television, radio and other media. Specialists in public relations and communications develop and implement communications strategies and information programs, publicize activities and events, and maintain media relations on behalf of clients. Translators adapt written material from one language to another. Interpreters translate oral communication from one language to another. Sign-language interpreters translate sign language to spoken language and vice versa.

Education, Training and Experience

People in this group usually require a college diploma or a university degree in their area of work. Many recent entrants have an undergraduate university degree. Translators and terminologists usually require an undergraduate university degree; interpreters usually need a postgraduate degree. They may require certificates and membership in their professional organization. Translators and interpreters working for international organizations usually require fluency in three languages.

In These Occupations ...

78,000 people were employed in 1998, an increase of 32.0% from 1988. After employment gains of 17.1% from 1988 to 1993, employment growth slowed to 12.7% from 1993 to 1998. In comparison, employment in all occupations grew 12.3% over the same ten years, and 8.2% over the last five. 35% work in public relations and communications; 24% are writers; 16% are journalists; 15% are translators, terminologists and interpreters; and 10% are editors. 19% work part-time, equal to the average for all occupations. The proportion of part-time workers in these occupations has increased significantly over the last ten years. 35% are self-employed, well above the average of 17% for all occupations. The proportion of self-employed workers in these occupations has increased significantly over the last ten years. 56% are women, well above the average of 45% for all occupations. The proportion of women in these occupations has increased significantly over the last ten years. the unemployment rate averaged 4.7% from 1996 to 1998, compared to the national average of 6.0%. This rate is among the highest for professional occupations. the average earnings are among the lowest for professional occupations but are comparable to those for other occupations in the art, culture, recreation and sport sectors.

National Outlook to 2004

Currently, chances of finding work in these occupations are rated "Fair", since employment opportunities and earnings are both at average levels. Over the next five years, this outlook is not expected to change, as the number of job openings is expected to be matched by the number of qualified job seekers. The continuing growth of niche publications and the development of Internet publishing will create opportunities in writing, journalism and editing occupations. The Canadian Translation Industry Sectoral Committee expects strong growth in employment opportunities in translation in the near future. Contracting-out of government work will increase opportunities in the private sector for translators. Translators between Spanish and English or French and between Asian languages and English or French are likely to have the best opportunities. Most of the increase in employment requirements through 2004 for these occupations is expected to occur in the business services and printing and publishing industries.

Where They Work

Other Service Industries 15.6%
Printing and Publishing 14.4%
Business Services 13.8%
Radio and TV Communications 7.9%
Federal Administration 7.4%
Advertising Services 4.9%
Provincial and Territorial Administration 3.4%

Type of Employment

This OccupationAll Occupations
Full-time 80.8% 81.1%
Part-time 19.2% 18.9%

Distribution by Age

This OccupationAll Occupations
15 - 29 20.7% 26.5%
30 - 39 29.9% 28.5%
40 - 54 38.1% 35.2%
55 & over 11.4% 9.8%

Work Prospects

Current 2004
Fair Fair


Age Groups 20 - 29 30 - 39 40 – 49
Highest 20% 38,500 47,600 54,700
Average 29,900 37,200 42,200
Lowest 20% 20,900 24,700 26,200

Unemployment Rate

This OccupationAll Occupations
1998 3.5% 5.5%
1997 4.9% 5.9%
1996 5.8% 6.5%
1995 4.5% 6.5%
1994 4.3% 7.0%
1993 5.7% 7.9%
1992 7.4% 8.5%
19915.1% 8.3%
1990 3.7% 6.7%
1989 3.6% 6.1%
1988 4.7% 6.2%
1987 5.1% 6.9%
1986 5.0% 7.4%
1985 6.0% 7.9%
1984 5.7% 8.4%