Is it Hard to Become a Translator? - How to Become a Translator
Spend some time talking to professional translators and you will find that few started in exactly the same way. Some translators study for years before getting started in the field. Others land their first translation job by accident, discover they love translation, and make it their full-time career. Starting in translation can be very easy or very difficult depending on your career path. No matter how you get your start, however, you will need a passion for language and a good work ethic.
As mentioned above, there are several ways to get started. If you know early on that you want to become a translator, you should take college courses that complement your chosen career. Although few colleges offer a bachelor's degree in translation, you should major in the language of your choice. An alternative is to major in your native language, since you will be spending most of your time writing. Most translators work in a specific field, so deciding on a specialization will also help you. Consider majoring in a technical field with a double major or minor in your chosen language. Once you complete your bachelor's degree, you can then decide whether you want to continue your education. A bachelor's degree should be sufficient for entry-level work, but you might wish to get your master's if you want access to higher-paying jobs.
Many translators just happen to be in the right place at the right time when they get their first jobs. For example, if you are living in a foreign country, you might have the opportunity to translate at some point. If you find that you are not only good at translation, but are also passionate about this type of work, consider attending a training course or certification program to open doors and increase your credibility as a professional translator.
The hardest part of becoming a translator is mastering not only one, but two languages. You might need to study your source language for years before you are fluent enough to start translating. At the same time, you will need to have a thorough understanding of your own language. In many ways, you will need to understand both languages at a deeper level than that of a native speaker. Native speakers often know which words to say, but they do not always analyze their own language to understand why a particular phrase is correct. Becoming a translator will seem easy if you have a passion for language and a commitment to hard work, however.
-By Adriana Tassini
The following Translator Q & A is part of our Translator FAQ Series.Question:Answer: Learn more: