How do I Become a Certified Translator?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

A certified translator is a person who has passed a certification exam and fulfilled other requirements for demonstrating proficiency in translating a particular language. To become a certified translator, a person typically has to become proficient in two languages, seek related education, and gain some translating experience. The exact requirements for becoming a certified translator may vary, however, depending on the authority from which certification is sought. As such, a person hoping to secure certification may do well to contact certifying authorities in his area to learn exactly what he will need.

A translated book.
A translated book.

A person who wants to become a translator must be able to read and write two different languages. For example, translators are typically proficient in their native language as well as another language. Aspiring translators need not be able to speak both languages well, as translating involves the written word. An individual who can speak both well, however, may find additional opportunities as an interpreter.

A sample of Cantonese writing.
A sample of Cantonese writing.

In most cases, a person who wants to become a certified translator needs both education and experience in order to secure certification. For example, a person pursuing this career may earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a foreign language in preparation for certification. An individual may pursue an educational program that is specifically focused on translation, but that may not be a requirement for certification. In fact, a person may be certified with a non-language degree in some cases, as long as he meets the other requirements for certification. No matter what degree a person pursues, it may prove helpful for him to take composition courses in his native language in addition to classes in his second language; such courses may help him brush up on skills that may prove helpful when he works as a translator.

Often, a person who wants to become a certified translator has to gain experience before he will be eligible for certification. For example, he may be required to secure a year or more of translation work experience. In some cases, the amount of work experience a person needs is directly related to his level of education. A person who does not have a degree, for instance, may have to secure more translation work experience than a person who holds a degree. In fact, there are some translation certification organizations that require those without degrees to have five years of experience in order to be eligible for certification.

Once a person feels ready to become a certified translator, he may contact a certifying agency and begin the certification process. This may involve providing proof of eligibility and passing an exam. Typically, a person interested in certification must pay a fee as well.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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