How much does a diploma in translation cost and how important is it?
Thread poster: Odile Stuart

Odile Stuart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:34
Member (2006)
English to French
+ ...
Jan 9, 2008

Hello, I have no formal translation diploma, I have a diploma in the litterature and civilisation of the language I translate from. I am sometimes musing over the fact that having a recognition (diploma) would help me even more (I could ask for better rates, have more credibility, feel even more proud). What always stops me is how expensive the whole affair is. Is there a way to have your talents recognized without being charged for it ?!

[Edited at 2008-01-09 15:45]


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:34
Flemish to English
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London, Bruxelles ou Paris? Jan 9, 2008

At the Institut pour Traducteurs et Interprètes de Bruxelles, it will cost you 750 euro per annum + living costs. About the same in Mons and at the catholic Leonardo Da Vinci-school (with a view on the EP). Target-language : French.
In Paris, I guess it will be more expensive, because Paris is an expensive city.


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xxxLatin_Hellas
United States
Local time: 22:34
Italian to English
+ ...
Not necessary Jan 9, 2008

There have been several threads on this question in the past several weeks and months.

It appears that the majority of professional translators on this forum do not have translation degrees (diplomas). Some have degrees in languages, some in other fields, some no degrees at all.

In my experience, in-depth knowledge in at least two languages in a specific field and work experience in that field are two of the most important factors, plus of course natural talent for writing and translating. Good business sense is also up there.

Speaking of which, if I may say so, you mention that you have a degree in the literature and civilization of a language. Fine. Now, your best bet, if you want customers who pay, is to develop knowledge in a modern field and start reading like crazy in something like information technology, engineering/patents, telecommunications, law, finance, etc., in your two languages. Better yet, score a job in such field, preferably in the country of your source language. Then demonstrate to people in both the industry itself and the translation business your knowledge and propose your translation services.

These may prove to be more cost-effective solutions than a translation diploma.

There are, of course, any number of routes, I have traced out a couple.

Good luck!

[Edited at 2008-01-09 16:20]

[Edited at 2008-01-09 17:15]


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Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 23:34
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
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Necessary, sufficient and desirable Jan 9, 2008

There are some things that are necessary, and some that are desirable.

Basically what any client ever cares of is the quality of translation. It doesn't matter whether the job has been done by a seasoned translator with upmteen years' experience and membership in all respected professional organizations or a recent high school - as long as the translation is up to the standards.

On the other hand, a formal diploma could be and is perceived by some clients as an indirect proof of one's credibility as a translator. A diploma itself would hardly be helpful in securing better rates; your quality will. But it is helpful in finding clients. As an example, a search in ProZ.com directories includes "Professional credential status" as one of the parameters - with no credentials to boast, you just won't be searchable.

So a formal diploma is helpful and desirable, but not necessary.

Cheers,
Oleg


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María Angélica Fernández  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 18:34
English to Spanish
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Obviously it is necessary Jan 9, 2008

Scribod wrote:

Hello, I have no formal translation diploma, I have a diploma in the litterature and civilisation of the language I translate from. I am sometimes musing over the fact that having a recognition (diploma) would help me even more (I could ask for better rates, have more credibility, feel even more proud). What always stops me is how expensive the whole affair is. Is there a way to have your talents recognized without being charged for it ?!

[Edited at 2008-01-09 15:45]

**********************************************************************

Having a degree in translation makes one feel proud of it. It is not only a matter of translating and earning money but for me it is more important the knowledge one gets. Knowing another language is like opening a window to the world. My mother tongue is Spanish and I can tell you that what I feel for the English language cannot be explained easily. "It is very much in my blood and it is my first love." When I make a translation I enjoy it.
Studying for a diploma will give you the necessary tools for becoming a professional translator. It is an investment for you future and not just another way of spending money.
I did some years ago a Postgraduate Certificate in Translation Skills at City University, London. It was a distance course and it was very fruitful as well as very expensive for me. But, it was worth it.

Regards,
Angélica


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italia  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:34
Italian to German
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Can only subscribe to Angelica's words Jan 9, 2008

Hi!
I can only suscribe to Angelica's words:))) Couldn't have put it better!!!
I am also proud of my two degrees and will go on studying to get further education especially in my C-language.
Studying requires a lot of discipline, a virtue indispensable for our businesses:))) as well.
Good luck for any of your future ventures!
Happy studying to everyone!!!!

[Edited at 2008-01-09 18:27]


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Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 23:34
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
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Diploma vs. education Jan 9, 2008

I might have misunderstood the question - did I?

I believe a formal diploma is not really needed - but profound education is very helpful and a great asset; a kind of foundation to biuld and improve your translating skills on.


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Suzette Martin-Johnson
Canada
Member (2007)
French to English
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Extremely helpful but not a must Jan 9, 2008

Scribod:

1. Some studies in translation can really help you. It doesn't have to be a full degree and so your idea of a diploma is a good compromise.

I am currently pursuing an online translation certificate with the University of Toronto which is forcing me to translate into French for practice and is very helpful in reawakening me to my primary source language. I had been getting a bit lazy in that area because of the constant translation into English. You can go at your own pace and the total for all four modules is about $2,600 CDN. U of T also offers translation certificates in other languages. the Spanish one has been recommended to me...

2. You can read a lot of books on translation from cover to cover without stepping into a university. Two good books to start with are: Becoming a Translator: An Accelerated Course
by Doug Robinson and Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and Applications by Jeremy Munday. The first one is really readable but yet high brow academic and will help you ground yourself in terms of your translation style. It's like a translation equivalent of the Myers-Briggs test. The other one is a little dull but will give you a good theoretical overview.

3. Try to spend some time every now and then in the country of your source language.

4. Someone suggested work experience in a spcialized area other than languages. I have to second this because my work experience has opened an unbelievable number of doors for me in translation. And vice versa, knowing foreign languages opened doors for me in government! Languages + something else has been a combination that has spared me from having to face unemployment. I'm so glad I was persistent with my languages at uni because my eclecticism wasn't always supported....
I have done a number of university modules in translation since 1995 but never felt the need to do a full translation degree. I studied international relations and government (first degree and Master's, respectively) with a number of free electives in translation and French, and now migration studies (ongoing postgrad studies) and this has served me well in getting in-house and freelancing jobs, and retaining repeat clients. I also feel intellectually satisfied, which is very important.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:34
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
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It would help Jan 10, 2008

It will certainly give you an added interest in life and in your work -- but you won't die without one. What really helps is know-how and experience, either in translation per se or in the field you want to specialise in. For instance, if you want to do business texts, do not have a translation degree but have an MBA, that's an asset many clients would go for. A translation diploma by itself is not a must: a certain maturity and seriousness about translation that is not at all easy to acquire on an undergraduate level certainly is (and that is why there are translation MAs -- some of which require basic translation experience to get in. I might add that this latter requirement has to do with the mortality rate that some learning institutions do not want to see happening in their courses).

To give you an added perspective on your question, translation diplomas are relatively new, and the "old guard" who were working in the field long before us usually came from other specialisations. Eventually, they perceived the need for specialised training and became some of the first teachers. Even now, if you asked the PhDs on this site what they specialised in, the closest you would come to translation would be linguistics or philology. (To be a translator at the European Court of Justice, for instance, you don't have to be translator with a diploma, but a lawyer).

Hope it helps


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The Misha
Local time: 16:34
Russian to English
+ ...
It mostly depends on where you live Jan 10, 2008

In the US, no one gives a damn - as long as you can adequately do the job. In Europe, I guess, you need a piece of paper for everything. Personally, I graduated with a BA in my source language, but at that time a translator (back then mother Russia was still a hopelessly communist country) was almost a 4-letter word. No one ever taught translation, if you were smart, you picked it up as you moved along.

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now I am almost sure I dont want to go back to college for it Sep 14, 2012

According to what I have been reading on this and a couple of other forums, one does not have to go to college to do translation work as long as the quality of the work that is done is good. Well I hope this is true because I really hate to go back to college to get a diploma for a translating/interpreting job.

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