Professional Translators

How to Become an Accredited Translator to Get More Work

by | Last updated Jun 5, 2020 | Professional Translators

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Being an accredited translator will help improve your ability to attract good translation clients.

In an unregulated profession like translation, finding a reliable supplier can be hit and miss for the customer. One way to make sure you get more work is to be an accredited translator. This article will tell you how to join the ranks of certified translators.

In the translation profession, most transactions take place online. Not having personal contact makes it harder for a new client to trust you. Without trust, there won’t be a sale.

One way of cultivating trust is by showing the client that you’re an accredited translator. Accreditation gives you official status as a member of the translation profession.

So, what are the options for getting translation accreditation?

Translation qualifications

The gold standard translation qualification is the Diploma in Translation from the Chartered Institute of Linguists. Only people with professional translation skills are able to pass this exam. If someone has the DipTrans, then a certain amount of quality assurance comes guaranteed.

The other leading translation qualification is the MA in Translation Studies. A translator with this qualification has trained extensively in translation theory. They may also have trained in a specialisation, like law, literature or videogame localisation.

If you want to find out more about these two qualifications, check out our article “MA in Translation Studies and DipTrans: A Perplexed Translator’s Guide”. Besides that, you might find this guest blog written for Nikki Graham about the DipTrans useful. While you’re visiting Nikki’s website, check out her series of guest posts reviewing different MA courses.

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In addition to getting a translation qualification, it’s a good idea to join a professional translator’s association. As a member, you’ll be entitled to use the relevant logo on your promotional materials. This will tell the world that you take your profession seriously.

Professional Translator Association Memberships

There are numerous associations for translators all over the world. Membership fees often run into the hundreds, so, it’s worth shopping around to see what you’ll get for your investment. It’s also important to consider whether and how your customer will differentiate between them.

Bigger associations, like the CIoL and the ITI in the UK, the ATA in the USA and Asetrad in Spain, have requirements that you have to fulfil if you want to join. These may include passing entry exams, providing references, being qualified and having a certain amount of experience. Being a member of associations like these therefore provides a quality guarantee for the buyer.

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Becoming a government-approved translator

The process for this will depend on the country. You may be required to pass official exams or have certain qualifications. Sometimes, the system is flawed. In Spain, for instance, translators are given official approval to work into their second language, even though it’s well known that this normally reduces quality. Another issue in Spain is that translators are forced to officially qualify as interpreters, or vice versa, even though these are two different professions. In any case, a government-accredited translator always looks good to the customer. So, it’s worth getting this accreditation if you have the opportunity, for instance, as part of a university degree.

The best way of becoming an accredited translator will depend on your existing qualifications. But it’s an important component of getting ongoing work as a freelance translator. Beyond financial considerations, translator accreditation is an essential part of making sure our profession is taken seriously.

If you’re interested in becoming an accredited translator by getting the DipTrans qualification, check out our Spanish-to-English DipTrans preparatory course.

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