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  • Foto del escritorMaría Palomares Tarí


Translation and interpreting are key to our global society, which is immersed in a new era of unprecedented international communication at all levels.

But have you ever wondered what is it needed to become a translator or interpreter? What do they study, and for how long?

What education is needed to become a translator or interpreter?

Interpreters and translators typically need a bachelor's degree of three or four years, in which they typically specialize in two languages—their native language and another chosen language—but may also specialize in a third or fourth language.

This bachelor’s combines theoretical and practical classes that bring students concrete knowledge on the chosen target language or languages, together with specific translation or interpreting classes which direct and inverse translation, as well as specializations in areas like technical-scientific and legal-administrative texts. The goal is for the future interpreter or translator to understand the language and culture with which they intend to work. Let’s highlight also that current educational training in translation and interpretation goes beyond merely editing texts. In fact, today, many work in the video game industry, localization, sight translation, and bilateral interpretation. Besides, students learn how to handle and create specific resources like dictionaries, glossaries, and term-bases, which are essential tools for professionals in this field.

After this bachelor’s, many translators and interpreters decide to specialize in one concrete field of study — some examples are literary translation, conference and community interpreting, intercultural service in healthcare or translation for international business, among many others. For that reason, they typically also obtain a master’s degree of one or two years in a field of their choice.

For the duration of their education, they prepare for pursuing a career which helps to overcome language and cultural barriers and fosters communication and understanding between individuals and societies. Additionally, this education is aimed with an international and intercultural focus, so they usually are able to take part in study abroad opportunities too.

Translation and Interpreting: a never-ending education journey

Whether they just finished their degree or have been working in their chosen profession for years, there is never a time for translators and interpreters to stop learning: they are constantly learning new things.

Being an interpreter or translator means to keep track of the new developments around you, that is why ongoing further training is vital for translators in order to keep up to date with the latest advancements and technology. This is related both to the languages that they work with (they have to make sure to keep on sharpening their language skills) and to the technologies related to the field . Choosing this career, it means embracing lifelong learning and the different methods and trends in e-learning.

Apart from being an intellectually challenging work, language is constantly evolving and growing, thus making translators and interpreters life long learners. They learn new terms, slang words, idioms every single day!

Remember it is not enough to know two languages to be a translator or interpreter; you need an in-depth knowledge of the processes, tools, and methodologies used in translation for a truly professional result, something that only a duly trained translator can guarantee can guarantee.

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