How to Prepare for a Career in Translation

How do I Earn a Translation Degree?
How to Prepare for a Career in Translation

If you want to build a career as a translator, you may ask, “How do I earn a translation degree?” The answer is not necessarily a simple one. There are a multitude of roads that people have taken to end up at successful translation career. Certainly, some of these pursued and completed highly structured language translation degree programs at a college or university. Others pursued university level degrees in the specific field in which they wished to do translation work. Still others gain fluency in their non-native focus language and then complete a translation certification program for credentials proving proficiency.

If a four-year, traditional university degree program is the route you wish to take, then there are several steps to consider when answering the “How do I earn a translation degree?” question. The first is to identify your two focus languages. When doing translations, the translator needs to be completely fluent in the source language and the translation language. They also need to be able to translate in either direction. For instance a Spanish-English translator should be able to translate from Spanish into English and also from English into Spanish. The next step is to locate a school with the specific program you want. For example, there are college programs that focus completely on medical translations within two language groups. You should also consider the format that the courses are offered in. If you are planning to work while attending school, online course formats can be very convenient.

If you don’t want a formal, translation-focused degree program, the question “How do I earn a translation degree?” becomes “How do I best prepare for the translation career I want?” Determine what kind of translator you want to become. Not just the languages but also the format should be considered. Do you want to translate medical journals, technical trade guides, industry website materials, advertising and marketing print media, or other industry specific materials? Translators typically specialize in a certain area because they need a good understanding of the material and not just the language to effectively translate.

From this point, completing training in that focus area and fluency in your two languages are the biggest goals. It is also helpful to test for certification as this can help you land your first clients. In time, your portfolio of work and history of satisfied clients will be the most influential factor in whether or not someone will hire you. How do I earn a translation degree? The answer is as unique as the individuals who become successful translators.

-By Adriana Tassini

The following Translator Q & A is part of our Translator FAQ Series.Question:Answer: Learn more:Tags: How do I Earn a Translation Degree? How to Prepare for a Career in Translation, Preparing for a Career as a Translator, Preparing for a Career in Translation, Earning a Translation Career, Earning a Degree in Translation.