While some jobs might not require a particular qualification a certification in the particular language, a degree in translation and a qualification pertaining to the type of translation you intend to do always helps while looking for a job.
A bachelor’s or master’s degree in a particular language and in translation or interpretation is highly recommended and often essential if you intend to make a successful career out of translation. Some universities offer tailor made courses for the particular type of translation that you intend to do, so for example you could opt for a degree in French Literature if you want to work as a French literary translator or for a degree in Spanish for Business if you intend to work as a Spanish business translator. Amongst the top ranked translation courses offer by American colleges are those offered by Kent State University, Gallaudet University, State University New York (SUNY), University of Texas at Dallas and the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
There are several universities, such as New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies that offer a Certificate in Translation to individuals who have studied or have extensive knowledge of a foreign language, but want to increase their knowledge of translation. These courses are usually online courses for a duration of 6 - 8 months. These are ideal for individuals who possess a background in a technical field, have good knowledge of a language and who want to pursue a career that uses these two skills to engage in translation services.
The American Translators Association offers a certification exam, which is widely accepted by many institutions as proof that an individual meets certain standards of translation competence. The exam is a 3 hour open-book type exam during which the candidate must translate 2 passages – 1 that is compulsory and the other that can be chosen from 1 of 2 options. One option consists of a technical, medical or scientific passage, while the other option consists of a political, financial or legal passage. It costs $300 to sit for the exam and certification is offered for over 10 languages.
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Offered online, the Certified Translation Professional certification, sponsored by the Global Translation Institute, is offered for 22 languages. Completely online, it is ideal for working individuals. Besides the certification, the institute provides access to several online resources such as audio files, online libraries etc. and networking with over 1000 translation agencies around the world.
How to choose a certification program
While choosing a certification program, opt for one that will be accepted in the particular field you wish to work in. Look up a few job postings in your particular field and see which certifications are preferred. Also review what services the certification provider offers, especially if it is an online course – such as online and phone support, access to resources like audio files, online libraries etc.