Studying to Be a Translator - What Do I Need to Study?
Ask any two translators how they got started in the industry and you will receive completely different answers. The truth is that there are many ways to start as a translator, each with its own benefits. The only common requirement is knowledge of two or more languages. There are several courses and degrees that can help you get started, however. If you are in college, start planning for your future career as soon as possible. Take as many language courses as you can, study abroad, and prepare for certification as soon as you can.
Before you choose your major, you will need to decide what your approach will be. Some translators prefer to major in a language, while others prefer to choose a specialization. Majoring in a language is the easiest and most cost-effective method, but you will need to decide on a specialization later. If you choose to major in a technical field, you will divide your time before language-learning and your major requirements. On the other hand, you will understand industry jargon, which will give you an edge if you decide to translate technical works.
You will not only need a high level of proficiency in the language of your choice, but also an intimate knowledge of the culture behind the language. Think about how hard it would be to translate English into another language if you did not know anything about our idioms, slang, pop culture references, or way of life. Similarly, translating from your target language into your native language will require a thorough understanding of another culture. Although you should take courses that reflect your interests while you are in college, your education will never truly be complete.
Translation also requires many other skills. You should be familiar with popular computer programs, industry standards, methods, and best practices. Translation also requires excellent word processing skills. Keep in mind that you will be writing on a daily basis. Taking writing or communication courses will help improve your understanding of your native language. Finally, taking a few business courses might benefit you if you plan on freelancing. You do not have to study these subjects while in college, however. You can study on your own after graduation, pursue your master's degree, or attend a translator certification or training program. Certification programs will teach you about the industry and give you the experience you need to be successful.
-By Adriana Tassini
The following Translator Q & A is part of our Translator FAQ Series.Question:Answer: Learn more: