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What are the Requirements to Become a Translator?
Translators are responsible for converting written and recorded materials from one language into another. Using teletypes, tape recorders, computers, and a broad range of audio/visual equipment, they literally translate the information, trying to preserve the original syntax, voicing, and emphasis as much as possible. This can prove especially challenging, however, since translation is not simply about substituting different words. As you move from one language to another, the entire structure of the sentences may change, since each dialect uses its own set of rules and grammar. This is especially true as you move into specialized fields such as:
Fluency in at least two or more languages is the only official requirement for this occupational field. However, there are many unofficial requirements you might need to satisfy if you want to become a professional translator. For example, a bachelor's degree is fairly standard within the industry, with some translators actually having a master's degree or higher. While it is not necessary that you major in languages during your post-secondary study, it always helps to specialize in a subject relevant to your translation skills. For example, if you want to work as a translator in the legal world, studying law and politics as an undergraduate would be a wise choice.
Many translators decide to become certified before going professional. There are multiple standards within the industry, meaning that if you decide to seek additional qualifications, you have many options from which to choose. The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, for example, certifies legal translators, but so does the federal government. Before selecting a certification program, you should research the exact needs and requirements of whatever companies you plan on pursuing as a job applicant.
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