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How Do I Choose the Best Translation Courses?

Tara Barnett
Tara Barnett

Choosing the best translation courses depends on your professional goals and the languages in which you wish to work. Certain types of translation courses, such as legal or medical translation, may be better at a certain school even when the overall program is ranked lower. It is also important to remember that, at least in part, your devotion to the program will determine your success, so if taking a more expensive course will cause you to lose focus on the program, it is likely a good idea to take the less expensive course. Location is also important, though many full programs are relatively long and therefore might justify a move away from your current city.

The first and most important quality to consider when choosing translation courses is whether the program is in the languages with which you desire to work. Different schools may be better suited to different languages, one important example being translation in sign language. A desire to specialize in a specific type of translation, such as legal translation, may also be important to think about when choosing courses.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Depending on the level of education you are seeking to achieve, different courses may be more appropriate. Some schools do not offer graduate degrees in translation at all. It is also sometimes possible to take a single course or a workshop in translation that is not related to a larger program. These courses are sometimes structured to be helpful for bilingual people who need to translate but not with the accuracy of a professional translator.

One of the most important considerations when choosing translation courses is whether the courses will prepare a student to work as a translator. In part, this is determined by getting an appropriate degree, but some schools do prepare students better than others. Looking at the success rates of other students is one way to gauge how well the school prepares its graduates, but it is important not to be misguided by inflated employment rates. Finding out not only how many students are employed but also what type of employment they have is important.

Looking at the curriculum is another great way to choose translation courses. The way a school presents its curriculum can reveal a lot about whether it is a good match for your individual interests. If the description provided by the school sounds interesting, the courses may be worth pursuing. On the other hand, if the focus of the program does not strike the potential student as interesting, then those courses may not be the best, even if they are the most prestigious.

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