Translation qualifications, eg. DipTrans
Thread poster: Jessie LN

Jessie LN  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 15, 2007

Do you think it is essential to have a special translation qualification such as the IoL DipTrans to break into translation as a career?

I would love to have this type of qualification, but my bank balance is not too enamoured with the idea...


Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:53
Flemish to English
+ ...
Outside Britain... Aug 15, 2007

Translation and Interpreting education and other types of education is cheaper and sometimes of a higher standard outside Britain.
example : ESIT, top quality, costs 625 euro, not £4000 like it is habitual in the U.K.
Sometimes it is cheaper to take the Eurostar to France or to study in another country like Spain (In Salamanca, I found an add for a flat costing 165 euro for living, bathroom, kitchen and all costs included). That was an exception, but around 200-250 euros or £165-200 p.m. isn't.
Salamanca is the craddle of Spanish, Portugal is not too far from Salamanca...
Make a spreadsheet and compare your costs in different European countries. With the Bologna declaration, all types of degrees have the same value everywhere in Europe.
I have an Translation, but according to me, you are wasting your time investing in such a degree. You end up with a good knowledge of two foreign languages and the basics of say economics, marketing, ... but you are specialised in nothing and such a degree is no guarantee for a career in a company. Sometimes, "been there done that and became a freelancer" is a better way to become a specialised freelancer.

[Edited at 2007-08-15 18:54]


Bruno Scokaert  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:53
English to French
+ ...
I don't think it is essential. Aug 15, 2007

A qualification is better, but not mandatory. If you take the fact into account and try to compensate in another way (having another speciality field, starting with low rates, having good skills with languages, ...), it can be possible. I can say that because I work as a translator for one month only (as my main activity), having several jobs done and already a few satisfied customers, without having any qualification in translation (yet?).

So it depends on you and your situation, but it is possible...

Good luck!icon_wink.gif


Aurélie DANIEL  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:53
English to French
+ ...
Not essential Aug 15, 2007

I have been a freelance translator for four years and I have the DipTrans since last year. Businesswise I don't think it has changed anything. I wanted a specific qualification because I never formally studied translation, and I needed to feel "validated".

My first customer came through a friend's recommendation, and the majority of all my new customers come through word of mouth. Some do contact me because they found me on the Internet, and I guess it must reassure them to see an official qualification but nobody ever made any comment.

IMO what is essential is to get a first contact by the means Bruno describes, and then keep the customer satisfied!

Note on rates: I wouldn't recommend playing the low rates card. Of course a newbie can't ask for the same rates as an experienced translator, but if you are offering a good value, then get paid accordingly and set limits to what you will accept. It will project a better image, and it will scare away lousy customers who won't respect you. Believe me, it will on the other hand attract people who are looking for quality. Their jobs are far more interesting and rewarding.

[Edited at 2007-08-16 00:05]


gdesai  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:23
German to English
Heart warming to read these opinions! Aug 16, 2007

Reading all these opinions has been a heart warming experience for me.
I am an Indian national having studied mech. engg. in Germany. And since I have excellent command over German as well as English language, now I pursue DE>EN translation as full time engagement.
All this time I was wondering whether not having a translation qualification is a handicap.
But reading what all of you have stated, I feel I am on the right track.
And yet, somehow I feel my prospective clients do not quiet seem to be convinced of an Indian being able to translate German text of engineering nature.
Can anyone show me a way out of this?


Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:53
French to English
+ ...
DipTrans not all that expensive Aug 16, 2007

Hi Jessie,

If you think of it as investment in your career, the DipTrans is quite cheap - you can study for the DipTrans in your spare time (so go on earning), and I have found it a very useful qualification to have. Like Aurélie, I worked for a while as a translator before getting the DipTrans, but I find it has helped me find better clients.

I have certainly earned enough through translation to recoup the cost of my diploma many times over. Whether I would have found good enough clients to do this without the diploma, I couldn't say.

good luck!


Jessie LN  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thank you :) Aug 16, 2007

Thank you all for your advice and experiences.

Your comments have reassured me, Williamson! I was just always under the impression that a client would turn their nose up at me if I didn't have this type of specific qualification. I probably won't be going to back to university or anything like that, but I will definitely look into similar qualifications in Spain, now that you've given me the idea.

Yes, Aurélie, that´s exactly it - the DipTrans would make me feel "validated" as a translator, I suppose. However, looking at some of the past papers, the exam doesn't look any more difficult than the type of material I was translating at Honours level at university. I got an excellent mark in the translation component of my degree, and I'm hoping that that small portfolio will show potential clients what I'm capable of, even if it's merely coursework.

I suppose if I managed to get the ball rolling somehow and got the hang of working for myself I would consider investing in the DipTrans exam in the future. As Angela says, it could be worth it in the long term.

I'm glad to hear that it's not necessarily a necessity thoughicon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2007-08-16 14:52]

[Edited at 2007-08-16 14:57]


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Translation qualifications, eg. DipTrans

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