Translation degree vs professional qualification
Thread poster: lotussko
lotussko
English to French
Jul 30, 2011

Hi everyone,

I am currently a teacher of French (mother tongue) and Spanish and I have decided to start a career in translation. At that stage, I am looking into getting a qualification and would like to get your opinion on what would carry more value in the UK: a university degree (Postgrad. diploma in translation) or preparing the IOL diploma in translation exam?

I have one degree in English and one in Spanish which both had some translation modules in them but I feel I need more to get more credibility in the translating world.

I would greatly appreciate your opinion on the matter.

Thanks a lot.




[Edited at 2011-07-30 19:55 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:42
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Difficult question Jul 31, 2011

You ask a difficult question, with no right or wrong answer, so here is my opinion:

A CIoL diploma will certainly be well regarded by translation companies. It indicates that you can translate to a professional standard.

On the other hand, a postgraduate degree provides a much wider range of training, notably the use of technology (CAT tools etc). But at much greater cost.

If you can afford to spend the money and time, I would recommend doing a postgraduate degree (I did). If not, CIoL.

On the other hand, what credibility does a degree or diploma have with potential French customers? I would therefore suggest some research – contact various translation agencies to ask them what difference a degree or diploma would make. Sometimes, marketing of your services can be more effective than qualifications.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:42
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Seconded Jul 31, 2011

Peter Linton wrote:
A CIoL diploma will certainly be well regarded by translation companies. It indicates that you can translate to a professional standard.
On the other hand, a postgraduate degree provides a much wider range of training, notably the use of technology (CAT tools etc). But at much greater cost.

I entirely agree.

May I just add that in the UK the IOL Diploma in Translation has a postgraduate level (level 7) in the National Qualifications Framework, as reported here.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:42
French to English
+ ...
Caution... Jul 31, 2011

If you already have two language degrees, I would probably concentrate on marketing the skills and qualifications that you already have and wait for the market to tell you that you need yet another qualification.

I think it's best to think of IoL certification as something that you could obtain a few years down the line on the basis of your experience, rather than as a means of getting into translation.

A masters in translation could be a good option if (a) you have the money/time, (b) just fancy doing the course for your own personal motivation, or (c) know that the course is led by people actually established in the translation industry who through their contacts will give you a foot in the door with getting actual work after the degree.

But on the other hand, many agencies will be happy with two language degrees as qualifications and will judge you on the basis of their own translation test, whether you have an additional translation degree or not. The translation degree won't be the thing that gets your foot through the agency's door: the basic language degrees that you already have plus some real-life translation experience will hold more weight.

So rather than spending a year or two doing a translation course, it may be more beneficial to spend that time trying to pick up "real-life" translation jobs for local companies, volunteer as a translator for international charities to get experience. In and amongst that, you'll implicitly be training yourself in any case: be it spending time looking at real-life translations (e.g. multilingual EU parliament transcripts are all available for free on line), learning to use on-line terminology databases etc.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 18:42
Chinese to English
Qualifications don't earn you money Aug 1, 2011

I would support what Neil said, and possibly put it even more strongly. I don't know about your language pairs, but my experience is that a qualifications are not regarded as anything like as important as experience (in the form of recommendations, years in the industry, disclosable projects, etc.).
You're talking about a large investment of time and potentially money as well, and I honestly don't think you will achieve the "credibility" you're aiming for. A qualification should be just one part of a much broader business plan; and within that plan, you would be unwise to imagine that a qualification alone will have much of an effect on your ability to win over clients.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:42
French to English
Cultural aspects? Aug 1, 2011

Phil Hand wrote:
I don't know about your language pairs, but my experience is that a qualifications are not regarded as anything like as important as experience


I suspect there could be cultural factors at play here. I don't think it would be unfair to say that the French, for example, in general, set greater store by formal qualifications than, say, the British.

Knowing this, thinking that many customers would be French (in my case) and not having a language degree, I actually decided to do the CIoL Dip Trans precisely as my way in, rather than as a consolidation exercise later. It seems to have worked, although who can know if it would have worked just as well without?

On the other hand, I also don't think it would be unfair to say that many people, including myself to an extent, see the collection of degrees and diplomas as showing something of an "ivory tower" mentality not always conducive to producing great translations in certain more hands-on fields.

In summary, I would be inclined to say, on the assumption the OP, as a French speaker, is likely to work a fair bit with French firms, the Dip Trans is not a bad idea, but I'm not sure a third 'theoretical' qualification would add much to the other two (marginal utility, and all that!).


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 18:42
Chinese to English
Point taken Aug 1, 2011

Thanks, Charlie.

All goes to show - know your market!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
lotussko
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Aug 3, 2011

Thank you all very much for your advice. Clearly there is no straight answer to my question and I think my first step is going to be to get in touch with a local translation agency to get some more advice.

Thanks again.

Lotus


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:42
French to English
+ ...
Why local? Aug 3, 2011

lotussko wrote:
Thank you all very much for your advice. Clearly there is no straight answer to my question and I think my first step is going to be to get in touch with a local translation agency to get some more advice.


Though you don't need to restrict yourself to local agencies.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
lotussko
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Aug 3, 2011

You are perfectly right Neil, no need to restrict myself, my lack of experience will do that for me I guess! But I am determined to get into translation so I am going to follow your advice and try to find real life translation work to build up some experience.

Thanks a lot again.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Krzysztof Kajetanowicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 12:42
English to Polish
+ ...
food for thought Aug 4, 2011

Have you considered getting a postgraduate degree in something else than translation/languages? Something you'd like to specialise in? For instance, I know a very good translator who is in postgraduate law studies, even though he does not want to be a lawyer. He just wants a competitive edge in legal translation. When he's done with his studies, he'll be killer. People educated in translation only often struggle to understand specialised texts, let alone know what vocabulary is typically used in the target language.

[Edited at 2011-08-04 15:09 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 


There is no moderator assigned specifically to this forum.
To report site rules violations or get help, please contact site staff »


Translation degree vs professional qualification

Advanced search






memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »
BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, ProZ.com integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search