Translators convert written works from one language to another. This career can be highly demanding if you are not passionate about culture and language. You will also need to possess a good work ethic and maintain high professional standards at all times. This career can require years of study if you do not already have a working knowledge of two or more languages. If you are interested in pursuing a translation career, you are probably wondering how to get started, what to study, and whether you should get a translation certification.
Getting started in translation might be easier than you think, but will require a high level of commitment. You have two choices: you can study translation while in college, and then focus on a specific field later, or you can pursue a specialization first, and then acquire advanced language skills. Many translators get their start in the field due to fortunate circumstances, but you cannot plan on being lucky. No matter how you choose to start, you should pursue your bachelor's degree and study your chosen language at an advanced level.
Aside from your language studies, your major does not matter as much as you might think. Majoring in the language of your choice will save you time and money, but is not necessary. You can also choose to major in a specific field, such as engineering, and then take that knowledge with you when you start translating. If you have time, try taking courses in writing, communications, or business, depending on your plans for the future. Remember that you will be writing regularly, so being able to write well will prove beneficial to your career. You should also study abroad while in college. Immersing yourself in the target language and culture can be one of the best ways to advance your language skills.
After you get your bachelor's degree, you can decide to further your education, enroll in a certification program, or start translating right away. Each has advantages. While you do not need a master's degree, an advanced degree in translation can give you access to more jobs. Certification programs can enhance your credibility while teaching you more about the translation industry. Finally, getting started right away will teach you real-world skills, but you might have a tough time finding clients. Attending a training program is probably the best way to get the experience you need before you start your career.