Certified translators transfer written and spoken information from one language to another. They can work in different professional fields including legal, healthcare and education. The translation job is stressful since you have to work under deadlines, but you will enjoy the opportunity to work from home and travel frequently. However, many people who search for translation work are not certified.
Being bilingual is excellent, it only means that you can comprehend, speak, read, and write in another language. Fluency is the first step to becoming a professional interpreter. You need to practice, gain experience, and training. To help you get started here are four tips to becoming a certified translator in the US.
- Earn a College Degree. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), certified translators must earn a bachelor’s degree. You can study any language that you feel like but focus on translation. In additional to grammar, degree courses in these programs also focus on the use of the target language in business, legal, or commercial settings. To provide a deeper understanding of the language, the courses will supplement the student with the culture and history of the native speakers of the language they are studying.
- Get Certified. The American Translators Association (ATA) is one of the vital certification body that provides certification in 24 languages. To be eligible for the certification exam, translators must have acquired experience, education, or a combination of the two. The test requires you to translate two written passages. One passage is a requirement, and it is often a newspaper article or a non-fiction piece. The translator then chooses either a scientific document or a financial report for the second passage. The grade depends on the interpreter’s grammar, word choice, and the overall quality of the translation.
- Build Experience. Most employers look for people with 5 or more years of experience. In areas with few opportunities for professional translators, you can gain this experience through volunteer work. You can seek internships and mentorship opportunities from some of the notable agencies such as the Red Cross, Hospitals, and International Sporting Events. Make sure you keep a portfolio of translation work to help you find new opportunities.
- Keep Learning. As you progress as a translator, you can consider other areas. For instance, look for industries you can translate for, keep up with industry terms and trends, learn about computer translation memory software, and learn how to provide consecutive interpretations. If you are already successful at translating, you could diversify by becoming a certified court or medical translator. The aim here is to keep broadening your knowledge. Also, you can consider working with professional translators to reach greater heights.
After following these tips and becoming a certified translator, you need to market yourself to get hired. A great way to sell yourself is to create a website or blog. Make sure that your resume and rates are always ready. The first indicator that you are not a professional is when you do not know what the prices are in the industry.