Professional translator degrees - How to Become a Professional Translator

Professional translator degrees - How to Become a Professional Translator

Professional language translators work in all different fields and areas of the world. As the world grows smaller and the global economy grows, colleges and universities are offering professional degree programs specific to language fluency and translator skills. Professional translator degrees do not guarantee success as a translator. Experienced and successful translators state that the ability to get new clients and win contracts for desirable projects is far more dependent upon your portfolio of work completed and list of previous clients than it is on a formal degree. However, most clients in modern times are looking for someone with experience. How are you going to get experience if no one will hire you to begin with? The opening in the door is often created by gaining certification credentials to prove to the client that you are proficient as a translator.

Certification programs most often require fluency in your two chosen languages prior to the program. Usually they require proof of at least one year of study in the non-native language or immersion in an area where the language is spoken natively, such as an exchange program. Some require proof of work experience within the language. The training for the certification involves skills specific to the translation industry. Professional translator degrees and certificate courses both offer training in areas like communication skills, ethics issues, best practices of the translation industry, and business skills specific to garnering clients and managing projects.

Professional translator degrees differ greatly from professional translator certification programs in length of program and cost. While degree programs usually take at least four years, certification programs can take less than a year. Some self-directed programs can be completed extremely quickly by ambitious students. Degrees from universities or colleges cost thousands of dollars. Certification programs can cost less than one course at a university. The certification course study is completed by taking a comprehensive, timed exam that qualifies the student for certification.

Though not professional translator degrees, translator certifications are valuable credentials appropriate for resumes, business cards, and advertising. They can set you apart from uncertified translators and help you garner those first jobs to establish a portfolio and roster of clients. After gaining certification, translators can join professional job posting databases to find translation projects and job openings. Some translators find work with translation agencies either based online or in person. Some work in both translating (written word) and interpretation (spoken conversation). Translator careers look different because each translator is unique.

-By Adriana Tassini

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