What Courses or Degrees Should I Complete in School to Become a Translator? - Translator Overview
Becoming a translator requires more than just fluency in other languages. To become a translator, you will need to learn more about other cultures, industry practices, and translation guidelines. Although you do not need a master's degree to start working as a translator, you will need a bachelor's degree for most jobs. While in school, you should focus on courses that will help you in your career. Courses to consider include language, communication, writing, foreign literature, or courses that focus on other cultures.
Your job will be much easier if you major in your target language. By doing so, you can focus almost exclusively on the language of your choice. You will need to attain near-native fluency before you can consider translation. In fact, you will need to know both your own language and your target language even better than native speakers do. Basically, you will need to be able to analyze both languages so that you not only know which words to use, but why those words are the best choice for a given situation. Studying abroad will give you an advantage in this respect.
You can also benefit by majoring in a different field. Writing, communication, and English are very good choices because they will improve skills that you will use on a regular basis. Majoring in technical fields can also be very beneficial, because you will have access to jobs that focus on technical writing. No matter which major you choose, you should always focus on learning more about your chosen language and culture. Learning more about various cultures will allow you to understand more about the language itself. You will also need to keep up with current slang, jargon, and industry trends.
Finally, you will need to learn more about the translation industry itself. Most schools do not offer degrees in translation, but you can learn about industry standards and best practices on your own. You should also consider attending some sort of translator training or certification program after graduation. These programs will not only teach you about the industry, but will prepare you for the challenges you face in your new career. If you like, you can pursue your master's degree as well. This is not necessary, but will give you access to higher-paying jobs, improve your credentials, and teach you more about the industry. Above all, never stop studying! As a translator, education is a lifelong process.
-By Adriana Tassini
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