The translation industry is made up of talented translators that hail from a variety of backgrounds. While some translators have earned a translation degree or certification, many other translators haven’t pursued a formal translation education. This begs the question, why isn’t there a set education standard in the translation industry? And is it important for translators to have a translation degree or certification? Let’s investigate.
Global Standards Vary
The translation industry is a global industry and one of the reasons that translators can have differing educational experiences is because every country has their own unique set of academic standards. In some countries, you can attend a university and earn your translation degree after four or five years of study. In other countries, the universities may not offer an equivalent degree, but you may be able to take short translation courses focused on specific fields. Some countries only have translation associations that offer certifications like ATA. Point being, the education opportunities and therefore the hiring standards to become a translator, can vary greatly depending on where a translator lives.
Why Do Translation Degrees and Certifications Have Value?
A translation degree or certification illustrates that a translator has the knowledge necessary to do translation work and do it well. This is especially helpful for those who are new in their career without much work experience under their belt. While some translators learn the necessary skills to do this job on their own through a lot of practice, not having credentials to account for what they know can create a roadblock for them.
Pursuing a translation degree or certification plays an important role in learning how to work as a translator and how to create a linguistically and culturally accurate message. Some people believe being bilingual is enough to become a translator, but in reality, being bilingual does not ensure that you have the skills necessary to be an accurate translator who can tackle all the important aspects of communication in both languages.
The Benefits of Extending Education
Translators tend to be curious creatures, or at least in an ideal situation, they should be. A good translator must always be learning about new tools and reading about the latest developments in their fields of expertise. Some translators, after obtaining their degree in translation, go on to earn a degree in finance, the arts, history, or another subject relevant to their expertise. This desire to continue their education shows how committed a professional translator can be to delivering a top quality service.
What Employers and Clients Need to Know
To be on the safe side, always work with people who have become experts in translating specific language combinations through extensive studies. We know that literally everything can be solved, but not every translation has the same impact. Some fields are susceptible, such as those that have anything to do with health, security, and law. When it comes to the legal industry, some documents require a certified translation, and having credentials is a requirement, not an option. Specific industries allow no room for error, so working with a professional with vast linguistic and subject matter knowledge and experience is always your best bet. It’s worth noting that for some language combinations, there are no official certifications or academic programs available, so it’s essential to research before hiring to know what standards your candidate can realistically meet.