Advice: getting established without an education?
Thread poster: Alex Hughes

Alex Hughes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 22, 2011

Good afternoon everyone,

Here is my situation, I did some college coursework during high school but I never got a degree. Since then, I have worked in two different marketing positions where my responsibilities included translation. Following this, I began working as a freelance interpreter for a local agency (medical, legal, social services). Many of the agencies clients would specifically request me because they liked the quality of my work. That agency then gave me some minimal translation training, and started using me for certificates and diplomas. Currently I do some freelance phone interpreting but my main source of work has been legal and marketing translations, although it has been very slow. So, my question is with a pair as common as Spanish to English, no education, and no certification, how can I get more established as a translator?

If you have been through a similar circumstance I would greatly appreciate your advice.


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Hazel Underwood  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:17
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Get a qualification Aug 23, 2011

I can't comment on what the situation is like in the US, but in the UK I'd recommend you gain some kind of formal qualification in translation and/or interpreting to be taken seriously (IOL, DPSI).

Maybe you should contact the ATA in the States to see if they have any advice?

http://www.atanet.org/


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Alex Hughes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for the advice Aug 23, 2011

My plan is to get the ATA certification after a while, I need to further refine my skille before attempting it though. I am also interested in getting the court certification provided through my state government. Since getting a bachelors degree would not be possible for me at this moment, I think these are my best options.

But what interests me is this, is there anyone out there who got established without a college education or certification? If so, how did you do it? Was on the job experience the biggest factor, or specializations, or simply being persistent?


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Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:17
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Requirements Aug 24, 2011

Most of my clients establish that a Bachelor's Degree is the minimum requirement. However, I know translators who don't have one.

Try getting qualifications that show your translating skills and/or language Certificates.

Good luck!


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Alex Hughes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Paula Aug 24, 2011

It helps to know that there are other successful translators who don't have a bachelors degree. Hopefully if I study hard enough, I will be able to get one of the certifications which I mentioned within the next year.

Maybe eventually certification together with a few more years of experience will instill as much confidence as a bachelor's degree. But if not I'm ok with that, there's more to life than career building.


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Mohammad Renaldi Diponegoro  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:17
Member (2010)
English to Indonesian
many ways to Rome Aug 24, 2011

AlexHughes wrote:

It helps to know that there are other successful translators who don't have a bachelors degree. Hopefully if I study hard enough, I will be able to get one of the certifications which I mentioned within the next year.


My wife's friend only graduated from junior high. However he is now running a local translation firm with mostly local clients. His parents, the firm's founders and sworn legal translators, did not encourage him to go to college, instead they put him in charge of daily activities, from translating to building client base until they feel that he is ready to take the helm of the firm.

I believe some translators do not have relevant degrees, or any degrees at all, but they make it up with their dedication, willingness to learn, building professional network and professional attitude. And yet, they manage to stand out from the crowd.

"There are many ways to Rome", I guess.


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Vladislav.

Local time: 09:17
English to Russian
+ ...
B.A. Degree Vs. Certification Sep 22, 2014

Hello Alex,

I am in a similar situation in which you were in 2011 and need to decide whether to pursue a B.A. degree or simply obtain a certification in translation. How did things work for you?


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Advice: getting established without an education?

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