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Should I apply for an association certification? Or should I go back to college?
Thread poster: Salithealbo
Sep 13, 2012

One thing I don't like about going to college is that besides the foreign languages and the other main courses that go with them (of course to be a translator/interpeter), you also have to take classes like: politics, biology, statistics, math etc. which I hate to study about and can't usually study because they are some subjects I never cared to know about.
I live in USA, where (in my opinion) it's not that hard to get a job as a translator or interpeter, especially for people like me that speak 3-4 languages, by which I mean a lot of times they even hire people that all they have is a license.


So, what is your advice that I should do


1. Get a license or certification by taking courses

2. Go back to college


Is there a big difference in between the diploma you get from a college and a certificate from an association?


Thanks in advance

p.s. sorry if this is not the right place to post this. I tried looking but I couldn't find the exact information that I need help with


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ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 10:08
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Which one do you like the best? Sep 14, 2012

It all depends upon what you would like doing the best. Would you like to get a license or certification by taking courses? Or, would you like to go back to college? Which one would you like doing the best? This is because you would definitely be more successful if you did what you enjoy doing the most. What does your heart tell you to do? Just go with that one. Best of luck and success to you.

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Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro
Germany
Local time: 08:08
Member (2011)
English to German
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Don't care? Sep 14, 2012

One thing I don't like about going to college is that besides the foreign languages and the other main courses that go with them (of course to be a translator/interpeter), you also have to take classes like: politics, biology, statistics, math etc. which I hate to study about and can't usually study because they are some subjects I never cared to know about.


As a translator you absolutely need to show interest in the topics you work in, and they can be manyfold. You might deal with safety valves in the morning and baby clothes in the evening. Now if you make clear from the very beginning that a huge part of human knowledge doesn't really matter to you, you will be rather limited as to what you can translate. Even for the more creative jobs in literary translation a translator that displays a general knowledge of culture, knowledge, science and politics might be the preferred choice of publishers and authors... I wouldn't give a job to someone that says "I don't want to know."

Besides, all aspects of life are interesting if we get to know them better!

As for an answer to your question: You don't have to go to college. But if you decide not to go, find your fields of interest and study them well - at home, on the beach, doesn't matter. Be curious!


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:08
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Go for certification, or study linguistics Sep 14, 2012

Salithealbo wrote:
One thing I don't like about going to college is that besides the foreign languages and the other main courses that go with them (of course to be a translator/interpeter), you also have to take classes like: politics, biology, statistics, math etc. which I hate to study about and can't usually study because they are some subjects I never cared to know about.


If you don't believe the argument that these classes give you insights into these fields, which you may translate in later, then my answer is: why not just study linguistics? Then most of your subjects will be language related or social related (plus some research subjects that you really can't get away from).

So, what is your advice that I should do
1. Get a license or certification by taking courses
2. Go back to college


Certification from a well-known translator association (e.g. ATA) will be worth more to potential clients than a college education, in my opinion. The big advantage of the college education is that it opens the door to further, more focused study.

Samuel


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:08
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
What is your age? Sep 14, 2012

Tell us about your age please.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:08
Member (2007)
English
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Think carefully before deciding Sep 14, 2012

Salithealbo wrote:
I live in USA, where (in my opinion) it's not that hard to get a job as a translator or interpeter, especially for people like me that speak 3-4 languages, by which I mean a lot of times they even hire people that all they have is a license.

I daresay that it's quite easy to get some translation work there. I don't believe you have to register etc. so anyone can freelance if they can find clients (as opposed to many other countries where you have to register and pay enormous social contributions even if you don't earn anything). But to become a respected, well-paid career translator, you need to be able to build a solid client base. For that, you need two things:

1. A knowledge of the techniques of translation

2. The ability not just to speak two languages, but to convert a message in the source language into the equivalent message in the target. This calls for above-average target language writing skills.


So, what is your advice that I should do


1. Get a license or certification by taking courses

2. Go back to college


To some extent (aside from what others have already said), it depends on your age and your current education.

If you're young and don't have a university education, it might be a good idea to get one now. A lot of clients see a degree as a minimum requirement for any intellectual profession, and you do need some maturity to set yourself up in business as a freelancer. You also need specialisations - subject areas where you have specialist knowledge of the terminology in both languages. Those other courses at uni could give you that start.

On the other hand, if you already have some life experience, you may prefer to study part-time for translator certification, whilst translating in subject areas where you already have experience.

Is there a big difference in between the diploma you get from a college and a certificate from an association?

Well, there's certainly an enormous range available, from pieces of paper that you can buy on the internet, through degree courses and private courses of all shapes and sizes, to the certification provided by translator associations. Apart from the worthless over-the-counter 'qualifications', they all have their merits.

On the other hand, operating from the USA means there is absolutely no requirement for any certification at all. I've certainly never had clients express any interest in the details of my qualification - they want to know about experience, skills, testimonials, etc. I only took a fairly basic course (I was 50 and so already had loads of life experience), but I did it for me, not to get more clients.


I agree with others that you've got to do what feels right to you. However, I wonder if you've seriously considered why you want to become a translator, and whether you might be better off using your language skills in another way - perhaps teaching or working in a bilingual environment. You should be aware that translators spend a good deal of their time researching terminology. For example, I specialise in tourism - one day that means researching extreme sports' holidays and equipment, then on to describing Gothic churches and the history of a region, a piece on eco-tourism, a contract, flora and fauna to look for on holiday, campsite safety instructions, inventories...

Can you see yourself as a researcher?


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Salithealbo
TOPIC STARTER
taking courses, but... Sep 15, 2012

ATIL KAYHAN wrote:

It all depends upon what you would like doing the best. Would you like to get a license or certification by taking courses? Or, would you like to go back to college? Which one would you like doing the best? This is because you would definitely be more successful if you did what you enjoy doing the most. What does your heart tell you to do? Just go with that one. Best of luck and success to you.


I would love to just keep learning more and more about the languages by just taking courses and not having to go back to college but I guess my main question is "Is an association certification as good as a college diploma?" because I won't go back to college, unless I have to. Thank you.


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Salithealbo
TOPIC STARTER
agree, but... Sep 15, 2012

Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro wrote:

One thing I don't like about going to college is that besides the foreign languages and the other main courses that go with them (of course to be a translator/interpeter), you also have to take classes like: politics, biology, statistics, math etc. which I hate to study about and can't usually study because they are some subjects I never cared to know about.


As a translator you absolutely need to show interest in the topics you work in, and they can be manyfold. You might deal with safety valves in the morning and baby clothes in the evening. Now if you make clear from the very beginning that a huge part of human knowledge doesn't really matter to you, you will be rather limited as to what you can translate. Even for the more creative jobs in literary translation a translator that displays a general knowledge of culture, knowledge, science and politics might be the preferred choice of publishers and authors... I wouldn't give a job to someone that says "I don't want to know."

Besides, all aspects of life are interesting if we get to know them better!

As for an answer to your question: You don't have to go to college. But if you decide not to go, find your fields of interest and study them well - at home, on the beach, doesn't matter. Be curious!

I agree with everything you said but I do want to add that when I said "I never cared to know about all of those classes(other than the languages)" I meant that I have a hard time studying about those subjects which gives me not a very good chance of even passing them in college, meaning that it's not fun learning about them, like it is learning more of my languages. Again, I do agree that you have to know at least about some of them topics. Thanks


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Salithealbo
TOPIC STARTER
I am thinking about them Sep 15, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:

Salithealbo wrote:
One thing I don't like about going to college is that besides the foreign languages and the other main courses that go with them (of course to be a translator/interpeter), you also have to take classes like: politics, biology, statistics, math etc. which I hate to study about and can't usually study because they are some subjects I never cared to know about.


If you don't believe the argument that these classes give you insights into these fields, which you may translate in later, then my answer is: why not just study linguistics? Then most of your subjects will be language related or social related (plus some research subjects that you really can't get away from).

So, what is your advice that I should do
1. Get a license or certification by taking courses
2. Go back to college


Certification from a well-known translator association (e.g. ATA) will be worth more to potential clients than a college education, in my opinion. The big advantage of the college education is that it opens the door to further, more focused study.

Samuel

I have thought about studying linguistics before and actually I have read a lot about the ATA too, which if I decide on getting a certification from an association, it will be ATA. I was just always worried that if all I have is a certification from ATA I might not get enough jobs. I do believe the argument that these classes give you insights into these fields, however I just don't find it fun to study on about them, it's something I will do only If I have to. I appreciate your advice, thank you


P.S. @ Tomas Cano, I am 25. I know I need to put more info for my profile.


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Salithealbo
TOPIC STARTER
yes because languages were my thing ever since I was little Sep 15, 2012

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Salithealbo wrote:
I live in USA, where (in my opinion) it's not that hard to get a job as a translator or interpeter, especially for people like me that speak 3-4 languages, by which I mean a lot of times they even hire people that all they have is a license.

I daresay that it's quite easy to get some translation work there. I don't believe you have to register etc. so anyone can freelance if they can find clients (as opposed to many other countries where you have to register and pay enormous social contributions even if you don't earn anything). But to become a respected, well-paid career translator, you need to be able to build a solid client base. For that, you need two things:

1. A knowledge of the techniques of translation

2. The ability not just to speak two languages, but to convert a message in the source language into the equivalent message in the target. This calls for above-average target language writing skills.


So, what is your advice that I should do


1. Get a license or certification by taking courses

2. Go back to college


To some extent (aside from what others have already said), it depends on your age and your current education.

If you're young and don't have a university education, it might be a good idea to get one now. A lot of clients see a degree as a minimum requirement for any intellectual profession, and you do need some maturity to set yourself up in business as a freelancer. You also need specialisations - subject areas where you have specialist knowledge of the terminology in both languages. Those other courses at uni could give you that start.

On the other hand, if you already have some life experience, you may prefer to study part-time for translator certification, whilst translating in subject areas where you already have experience.

Is there a big difference in between the diploma you get from a college and a certificate from an association?

Well, there's certainly an enormous range available, from pieces of paper that you can buy on the internet, through degree courses and private courses of all shapes and sizes, to the certification provided by translator associations. Apart from the worthless over-the-counter 'qualifications', they all have their merits.

On the other hand, operating from the USA means there is absolutely no requirement for any certification at all. I've certainly never had clients express any interest in the details of my qualification - they want to know about experience, skills, testimonials, etc. I only took a fairly basic course (I was 50 and so already had loads of life experience), but I did it for me, not to get more clients.


I agree with others that you've got to do what feels right to you. However, I wonder if you've seriously considered why you want to become a translator, and whether you might be better off using your language skills in another way - perhaps teaching or working in a bilingual environment. You should be aware that translators spend a good deal of their time researching terminology. For example, I specialise in tourism - one day that means researching extreme sports' holidays and equipment, then on to describing Gothic churches and the history of a region, a piece on eco-tourism, a contract, flora and fauna to look for on holiday, campsite safety instructions, inventories...

Can you see yourself as a researcher?

I have always studied harder since day 1 in 1st class of all foreign langages I have ever taken and I have always been the best student in all of them, here in USA and in Europe. I always knew I was going to do something with the languages, whether translating, interpreting, international banking or anything that gives you a job to help people with different languages(like airports, big hospitals etc.). It has been my dream to translate, pretty much since I was little, but I knew I wouldn't want to teach it.
Yes, I can see myself as a researcher.

Thanks for your reply, it was very nice.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:08
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Back to college Sep 15, 2012

Salithealbo wrote:
P.S. @ Tomas Cano, I am 25. I know I need to put more info for my profile.

Then go back to college if you can afford it.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:08
Russian to English
+ ...
If you want to translate things more complex, or interpret at events Sep 15, 2012

other than general medical appointments and parents' conferences in school, definitely go to college, and study whatever you find interesting, including a language, preferably as your major, and then you can go for various certifications, if you still want them. The college program choices and flexibility are great in the United States, and it is very interesting and world-viewpoint-broadening to study with other students in, an academic environment. Good luck. It is a lot of fun.

Not too many clients in the US will ask you about any certifications since there aren't any official certifications for translators in the US that are required. They will mostly ask you about your experience, references, writing samples and education.







[Edited at 2012-09-15 14:14 GMT]


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Salithealbo
TOPIC STARTER
Why do you think so? Sep 16, 2012

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Salithealbo wrote:
P.S. @ Tomas Cano, I am 25. I know I need to put more info for my profile.

Then go back to college if you can afford it.

Do you mind telling me why you think I should go back to college(since you are one of the very few that has told me to do so)?
75% I don't even want a certificate right now and the other 25% I do, because of all the information I have gathered from the internet so far, most people have told me a degree, a diploma or a certificate is not even necessary for this case(and I don't know if you read the reasons why I don't want to go back to college, which by the way is not because I can't afford it). Like I said I won't go back to college, unless I really really have to. This is a tough decision while I still have about two more months to decide.





Basically I need advices from everyone more of the kind that are like "What would you do if you were me"??

p.s. I love helping people and when it comes to them helping me, I appreciate it a little too much.


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Salithealbo
TOPIC STARTER
need more advices and ideas please Sep 22, 2012

However, I haven't decided yet and I'm still working on the process of this decision. I would appreciate it very very much for more people giving me advice on what to do, what's the best decision for my case or just simply tell me what you would do if you were me.

Thank you very much in advance!!


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Vladislav.

Local time: 10:08
English to Russian
+ ...
Certification Vs. College Education Sep 22, 2014

Hello,

It has been 2 years now since the last post. So how did things turn out for you? Did you go to college or obtain a certificate? I am in the very same situation now in which you were 2 years ago.


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