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Can anyone advise me on translation qualifications?
Thread poster: Vivien Green

Vivien Green  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2013)
French to English
Mar 16, 2013

I am looking into gaining some "credentials" and think that the IOL diploma in translation would suit me well given there is no compulsory course to attend and you can do the learning in your own time and at your own pace (although I realise all exams must be completed in a five year period). It also seems to be well respected internationally.

It may be a few years before I am able to take it though as they seem to recommend a lot of study, even for translators who are already quite experienced (which I am not), and I think I should take their advice seriously.

I was therefore wondering if there are any quick and less strenuous qualifications I could try to acquire in the meantime that are respected by agencies and by clients? Also, ProZ.com allows clients to seek only translators with "credentials" and I was just wondering what the minimum qualification that would count as such is? I'd be interested in hearing about anything that would give my CV a boost in the short term and allow me to bid on all projects while I am working towards a diploma.


 

David Hayes  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:49
Member (2009)
French to English
Apply to join the certified ProZ network Mar 16, 2013

Hi Vivien,

Having just consulted your Proz profile, I notice that your undergraduate degree includes a significant language component. I am not certain, but I think this may be enough to consider applying to join the certified ProZ network. This improved status will help boost your directory ranking if nothing else. I don't know the extent to which agencies focus on this, but anyone doing a search on Proz will find certified Pros listed first.

As a relatively junior professional translator myself, I can understand your desire to gain more qualifications (I am working towards the Dip Trans myself and can confirm that it is not easy at all!). But what really matters is acquiring experience by landing as many jobs as you can. This will help no end in actually passing qualifications that matter (Dip Trans or MITI to name the main UK ones). Gaining quick and easy certificates will be no use at all. If you have a spare 5,000 quid or so, you might also consider a Masters in Translation. This is not possible for me, so I'm sticking with the Dip Trans.

I see too that we both have experience of Lille!

Good luck,
David

[Edited at 2013-03-16 09:46 GMT]


 

XXXphxxx (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:49
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Membership Mar 16, 2013

You might qualify to join one of the professional associations (ITI or CIOL) as an associate. It will give you an excellent network and recognition. In time, having gained some experience you can then upgrade, sit the exam (in the case of the ITI) and become a full member.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:49
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
One to be going on with Mar 16, 2013

David Hayes wrote:
anyone doing a search on Proz will find certified Pros listed first.

I haven't actually checked this so I could be wrong, but I didn't think that the PRO members were selected above ordinary members (i.e. paying members). Certainly, paying are before non-paying, and certainly potential clients can choose to restrict their choice to PRO only, but the order is determined solely by KudoZ points, I believe.

Gaining quick and easy certificates will be no use at all.

I can only say that I did the WLS certificate, and found it to be really useful, as well as affordable in both cost and time. It gave me the basics of techniques that I really needed for my own self-confidence. I really don't know how it's viewed by agencies, but it does qualify as a ProZ.com credential - I checked that with staff.


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:49
Italian to English
Certified Pros and definition of credentials Mar 16, 2013

Sheila Wilson wrote:

I didn't think that the PRO members were selected above ordinary members (i.e. paying members). Certainly, paying are before non-paying, and certainly potential clients can choose to restrict their choice to PRO only, but the order is determined solely by KudoZ points, I believe.


Sheila is quite right about this.

The FAQ on credentials reads: Credentials at ProZ.com are degrees, certificates or diplomas issued by formal institutions upon completion of a translation or language course, or passing a language or translation-related test.
http://www.proz.com/faq/profiles.html#credentials

I imagine that your degree must have included a "language or translation-related test", so I suspect that it is sufficient to show that your credentials are what you say they are. You need to submit a Support Request to site staff for this and send an image of your certificate.

[Edited at 2013-03-16 19:33 GMT]


 

Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:49
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Translation Qualifications Mar 16, 2013

I am in the same situation as Vivien Green so would appreciate suggestions about training, preferably which is not costly. I thought I should start with the basics as well as with practice and help with choosing special fields. I would appreciate someone looking at my profile too. It is difficult during these times as the number of jobs has really dwindled down. Many thanks to all and happy weekend.

 

Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:49
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
WLS qualifications Mar 16, 2013

I had a look at the WLS site as suggested but found it quite costly and there are entry requirements and not many language options either. Any other translation courses you know of please? I take part in KudoZ to gain points but still do not land jobs; true there is a dearth of jobs at the moment. Many thanks.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:49
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
There are bound to be entry requirements Mar 16, 2013

Josephine Cassar wrote:
I had a look at the WLS site as suggested but found it quite costly and there are entry requirements and not many language options either.

Each individual has a different definition of costly, of course, but you do get change from €500. It's only for English, FIGS and Portuguese. But these were sufficient for the OP, and sufficient for you, I would have thought. The problem with providing all pairs is finding expert teachers in all pairs. WLS doesn't just produce the materials and let you work through it. You have a personal tutor who is very experienced in translating between the two languages. And of course there are entry requirements - no course tutor wants to waste his or her time trying to teach translation techniques to someone who doesn't speak both languages fluently. That would be as pointless as trying to teach a parrot to interpret.icon_smile.gif Any translation training company that doesn't have entry requirements is only interested in your money.

Of course, WLS is only one possibility, and maybe not the best for a lot of people (an MA is a very worthwhile qualification to possess), and nothing in the way of certification will guarantee you work.


 

David Hayes  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:49
Member (2009)
French to English
My defense is... Mar 17, 2013

a fairly major omission!

I meant to write: 'will have the option to find certified Proz listed first.'

The advanced search option includes a choice of limiting a search to members of this network. Some people do this because they know its members are likely to fulfil the minimum EN 15038 requirements. Of course, many non-members do too, but a ranking system based solely on Proz points is largely unsatisfactory and has been the subject of much debate on this very site.

I do not know anything about the WLS certificate. By all means do it if you like.



[Edited at 2013-03-17 08:58 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-03-17 08:58 GMT]


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
No advice, just a personal opinion Mar 17, 2013

Work maketh the (wo)man. Academic translation qualifications are often over-rated. Certificates and titles do not necessarily make someone a better translator.

[Edited at 2013-03-17 10:37 GMT]


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 22:49
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
So very true, but certificates and titles serve as bait... Mar 17, 2013

neilmac wrote:

Work maketh the (wo)man. Academic translation qualifications are often over-rated. Certificates and titles do not necessarily make someone a better translator.

[Edited at 2013-03-17 10:37 GMT]


While I entirely agree with neilmac, a few well-chosen letters after your name are sometimes useful as bait when fishing for clients.

By well-chosen, I mean that some courses of training are definitely worthwhile, and the letters do mean something when you qualify for them. My own diploma certainly heightened my awareness of things I knew subconsciously, 'oiled and sharpened my tools' and provided some useful short cuts.

Joining the CIoL and/or ITI shows you take a professional approach, and I do think it is important to mark out the professionals from the cowboys. Once you are established with clients who trust you, it will matter less, but in the meantime it is a a thing good clients look for, so best of luck!


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:49
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I couldn't agree more, neilmac Mar 17, 2013

neilmac wrote:
Work maketh the (wo)man. Academic translation qualifications are often over-rated. Certificates and titles do not necessarily make someone a better translator.

That's why I just took a very basic course when I started in this business. I needed that to reassure myself that I wasn't delivering c**p. But then, I was already 50, with a lifetime's experience in all sorts of other things and 8 years' residency in my source language country.

But I think it's a bit different for young people starting their professional careers as translators (which may or may not apply to the OP). Then, all you've really got to offer your first clients are qualifications. I think if I were starting out now as a youngster I'd get myself a bachelor degree and a master.

I get really annoyed when clients wanting tourism translations will accept quotes from new, totally inexperienced graduates in archaeology (or whatever) who speak some French, and yet won't accept them from me. University simply wasn't open to everyone in those days, and I'm certainly not going back there now! But then, "c'est la vie!"


 

XXXphxxx (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:49
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Agree with both neilmac and Sheila Mar 17, 2013

However, times are very different now. 1 in 3 people go to university these days compared to 1 in 7 when I went. I was the only person on my course to do an M.A., whereas an M.A. is now pretty standard. It's completely understandable, even desirable, to get further qualifications to set yourself apart. We all know this won't necessarily make you a better translator but it will make you stand out from the crowd.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:49
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Except... Mar 17, 2013

Lisa Simpson, MCIL wrote:
I was the only person on my course to do an M.A., whereas an M.A. is now pretty standard.

it will make you stand out from the crowd.

when everyone has an MA, nobody stands out, will they? Then, you have to get a Ph.D. to stand out. Then you'll be a good 10 years older than those who got in via the back door and started translating when they left school...

Frankly, I don't think there's any guaranteed way of earning a living nowadays. But, on the other hand, the range of possibilities for those willing to go out and grab themselves a piece of the action are pretty well limitless nowadays, unlike back in the "good old days" of a guaranteed job in your home town, with next to no chance of leaving.icon_frown.gif

You've just got to try everything to make your dream come true. And have a "Plan B" ready for if it doesn't!icon_wink.gif


 

XXXphxxx (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:49
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Should I do an M.A. in Translation? Mar 17, 2013

I was asked this question by a language undergraduate at a talk I gave the other day. My reply FWIW, was "Yes, but do it part-time. Get a job, get industry experience or go and live in your source language country and work there - do your M.A. by distance learning or part-time". There is so much more flexibility on courses these days and no reason why you can't do both. I did the Dip. Trans. course in evening classes and I reckon I hit the ground running quite quickly once I decided to become a full-time translator because: a) I had eight years of industry experience b) a relevant qualification c) membership of a professional association d) several years of part-time translation experience (mostly pro bono) under my belt and e) an extended period of residence in at least one of my source languages.

 
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