Becoming a Certified Translator
The translation industry is typically a project-based career path. These translation projects vary widely and can be in-depth about virtually any field, industry, service, or hobby. The value of a talented and trained translator is unmeasurable. Mistakes in translation can cause a misrepresentation of the materials that could reap serious consequences. Preparing appropriately for a career in the translation industry can help prospective clients place their trust and paying translation jobs in your hands. Many companies are now hiring only certified translators. Though certification credentials are not required for all translation jobs, they do expand the amount of job opportunities available to aspiring translators. For this reason courses that culminate in certification to become a translator are highly recommended.
Certification to become a translator usually consists of either courses or self-guided study and a test that proves language proficiency, as well as an understanding of communication skills, ethics, and best practices of the translation industry. The course can cost anywhere from thousands of dollars down to less than three hundred. The methods extend from fully on-campus programs to fully online program and some hybrid courses that combine the two formats. The more online and self-guided a program is, the more convenient and usually cost-effective it is for those individuals who are working full time or are already full-time students.
Once the course requirements are completed through self-study of required texts, video classes, or on-site courses, students typically take a timed course in the areas that are applicable to the translator career. Fluency in the two languages chosen is tested. Skills specific to the translation industry are also normally included in the exam. These can include ethics issues, applying for and acquiring a translation project, best practices in the industry, and communication skills, such as writing effectively. Passing the test with at least 80 percent accuracy is usually the standard for attaining certification to become a translator.
To qualify to take the certification exam, students must prove a certain amount of language study, immersion experience (such as being a part of an exchange program), or language education. Some certification programs also have a work experience requirement before taking the test for certification to become a translator. Once the test is passed and certification is awarded, the credential can be added to resumes, business cards, and advertising. Some excellent certification programs offer graduates of their programs access to a database of job opportunities or companies who hire translators. Building a portfolio of translation work and a list of satisfied clients is essential to a successful translation career.
-By Adriana Tassini
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