What Education Do You Need to Become Translator?
As with virtually any career choice that relies on your experience and personal skills, you can certainly be a translator without an education. There are people all over the world who have grown up speaking more than one language and obtained positions as translators. However, the road to a successful translation career is far more difficult without an education of some sort. Most full-time employers in the United States, for example, require an education as well as previous work experience and language fluency. These employers do not always require an education. Nor do they require an education in a particular language, but they do prefer employees with post-secondary educations overall.
You can certainly become a translator without an education if you want to work as a freelance or project-based translator. Private clients tend to be more flexible in terms of qualifications because their projects are generally smaller and less sensitive. If you want an entry level position with lower pay or limited benefits, you might also find work as a translator without a post-secondary education or formalized translation training. You might even find employers or clients who require no training, certification, education, or even prior experience. However, most reputable companies with solid positions that lead to careers require some form of formalized education, preferably in your chosen language.
Educational requirements for employers vary, especially given the job responsibilities for the chosen position. Some may require only a diploma or associates degree in order to qualify for a translation position. Others may require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Still others, usually those in with sensitive documents to translate or an exceptionally high demand for accurate translations, may require more extensive education. Generally speaking, these translation positions involve international business, legal matters, or government. For example, many international companies who routinely have sensitive business or legal documents translated often require certification, prior experience, and a postgraduate degree.
While there is no doubt, you can certainly find work as a translator without an education, having training or a formal education provides more opportunity. This is true no matter what industry you choose. The more training and experience you can prove, the more likely you will be to find rewarding, well-paying work as a translator. Knowledge and formal training instill confidence in your abilities as a translator. The more confidence a potential client or employer has in your skills, the better your chances of landing the position you really want.
-By Adriana Tassini
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