I’ve talked lots before about online translation certification.
Most of what I’ve written revolves around the idea that there is no need to get certified, at least here in the United States.
That’s because certification is not necessary and for most clients, doesn’t matter.
In fact, what most clients prefer, at least in my own experience, is your ability to do the job.
And they way they “know” that you can do the job is not through a piece of paper, but rather through previous experience that you can point to.
What clients have you worked with before?
What kinds of translations have you done?
Do you know not only the language side of translation but do you also know how to run a proper translation business?
(Because even if you’re a freelancer working for yourself, you’re still running a business.)
However, there are instances when a certification in hand can be worth it.
First, translators don’t have to be certified in order to translate. However, many times potential clients don’t quite understand this. They might only award translation jobs to translators that have some sort of “proof of certification.”
Well, if you’re a translator looking to build your client base, not having a certification might prevent you from getting some jobs you otherwise might get.
This is even more apparent when you are a beginner freelance translator. Maybe you don’t have the client stable that a more well-established translator has.
If you have no previous experience to point to, it’s more difficult for a potential client to take a chance on you. Proof of certification can help overcome a client’s reluctance.
Second, certification can help those of you who are less confident in your abilities or suffer from imposter syndrome.
I’ve mentioned imposter syndrome before, but in case this is your first time seeing this term, here’s what it means:
“having a lack of confidence in your abilities, achievements, and accomplishments.”
Believe it or not, a lot of people suffer from this in one form or another.
One of the ways to combat this, especially in freelance translators, is to get certified.
Having a certification “proves” to yourself that you are worthy to call yourself a professional freelance translator.
That piece of paper might not cure it, but it might help you on the road to overcoming it.
Online Translation Certification
OK, so let’s say that you’re interested in becoming a certified translator. You don’t have to say why. You just feel that it’s right for you.
So the next thing to understand is that here in the U.S., there are different ways to become certified.
A lot of language professionals, when they begin the process of looking into certification, they get the idea that the only organization that can certify them in the United States is the American Translator’s Association, or ATA.
While ATA is certainly the biggest and most recognized translator organization in the U.S., it is not the only one that offers certification for translators.
In fact, there are a number of other organizations that offer translation certification for language professionals.
Some of these organizations even offer online certification, which lets you go through the certification process where you want:
- at home
- in a local coffee shop
- at the library
- in school
These programs also allow you to go through the online translation certification process any time during the day that you can.
We all know that finding time do get things done during the day can be tough.
This is especially true if you’re working another job, raising a family, involved in your community, or a host of other things.
These certification programs can allow you to take the classes whenever you want. Maybe after dinner works better for you.
Or maybe you have time early in the morning.
Maybe your lunch break is a perfect time for you.
Whatever your schedule, these programs can help you get the certification that you want, when you want, and in the way that best suits you and your life situation.
OK, so without further ado, here are two online certification programs that you should definitely check out if you’re interested in becoming a freelance translator.
I don’t particularly endorse any of the programs below.
As always, make sure you do your due diligence and check them out before you send any money.
So, anyway, here’s the list:
Adelphi University English/Spanish Translation Certificate
Adelphi University is located in Garden City, New York and has been around for over 100 years. They actually have two translation certifcate programs, so if you’re interested in studying translation there, make sure you get the right information from the program that you’re interested in.
The first program is not an online certifcate program. Instead it is a undergraduate certificate in translation studies. This is offered by the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.
This program is open to current university students and is meant to give them with an added certificate they can use to pursue language and translation-related opportunities after college.
This certificate program consists of 6 classes and is meant for students with one of three languages – Spanish, Italian, or French.
That program is pretty popular, but it doesn’t help you if you’re not a student. Instead, the program you want is the online certificate in English-Spanish translation studies offered through the College of Professsional and Continuing Studies.
This program is open to everyone, meaning that you don’t need to be enrolled at Adelphi University in order to take this course.
In addition, you don’t even have to live in New York or even the United States. You can live anywhere in the world and do the whole course completely online. What’s more, the program can be completed in about six to eight months.
So what does the course prepare you for?
First off, the course prepares you to take the American Translators Association exam if you want. I’ve talked about the ATA a bunch of times on TranslationRules, so you should know my feeling on it by now.
In addition to preparing you to take the exam, however, the course also prepares you to actually, you know, become a translator.
According to the website, graduates from the progam have been able to find work because of the online translation certification in lots of different areas, including
- Hospitals, clinics and other health care settings
- Courts and other legal settings
- Federal, state and local government agencies
- Private industries including information technology, manufacturing and marketing
- Educational settings
- Translation services agencies
- Freelance translation
University of Toronto Certificate in Translation
Another great school that offers a certification in translation is the University of Toronto, specifically though its School of Continuing Studies.
The school actually offers different certificates based on the languages that you speak.
Specifically, the programs are designed for students that already have a confident command of English and another language (either Chinese, Arabic, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, or Spanish).
Each program, there are four required courses that are basically the same except for the language focus.
For example, the classes for the online translation certificate in Spanish are the following:
- Intro to Applied Translation Theory
- Translation: Spanish Level I
- Translation: Spanish Level 2
- Translation: Spanish Level 3
Each course is $745, so it’s not a cheap course. However, each class can be taken online and you have 18 months to finish the entire course.
Hopefully this list will make it easier for you to decide on where to go to get an online translation certificate. You should have a little more information when searching for those freelance (or in-house) translation jobs.
P.S. For more information on how to become a successful professional translator, check out my book.