Students who are studying a second language or already fluent in two or more may want to consider pursuing a bachelor of arts in interpretation and translation. In this degree program, you’ll gain the technical and practical skills needed to translate written texts from one language to another accurately, and to act as an interpreter for conversations between different language speakers.
What is a Degree in Interpretation & Translation?
Studying a second language in college is an excellent way to prepare for a career working internationally or a career in education, but there are opportunities outside of just travel and education for dual-language speakers. In fact, many dual-language speakers double-major in both a second language and interpretation and translation. Interpreting is the act of translating spoken language into multiple languages, and translation is the act of translating written text into different languages without loss of meaning.
Skills as an interpreter are incredibly valuable in modern times as many companies and organizations are seeking to provide better service to non-native English speakers. For individuals fluent in both English and Spanish, there are opportunities in both interpretation and translation in the courts and in healthcare facilities. In an interpretation and translation program, you’ll study language, grammar, and meaning, enabling you to work as an effective interpreter or translator after you graduate.
What Courses Would I Take For a Major in Interpretation & Translation?
- Medical and Business Translation
- Legal and Business Translation
- Simultaneous Interpretation
- Consecutive Interpretation
- Beginning Spanish
- Intermediate Spanish
- Advanced Spanish
- Conversational Spanish
What Jobs Can You Get with a Degree in Interpretation & Translation?
Demand for interpreters and translators is expected to grow significantly in the coming decade for three major reasons. First, an increasingly large population of non-native English speakers in the U.S. is expected to increase demand for translation of legal and medical documents. Second, as the internet creates a growing audience and customer base for modern businesses, demand for website and content translations is expected to grow. Third, as the global economy expands, more and more interpreters will be needed to enable cross-language communication between business leaders and representatives.
How Long does it take?
A bachelors in Interpretation & Translation will have a typical length of 4 years in a full time schedule. That said, there are many ways to speed up the timeframe by either taking more units via online coursework, community college, or taking free classes at OnlineDegree.com that could transfer to universities in the US.
Online Interpretation & Translation Degree
Interpretation-translation bachelor’s degree programs are not popular and can rarely be found. It is more common to study translation as a diploma or master’s degree by students who have a bachelor’s degree in a language related field. You can find online translation degree programs offered by several universities. Most of the programs include intensive training on various types of translations. Some programs may also require a graduation project that is usually in the form of translating a movie or a book.
*All salary and growth data is based on the recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics data published at BLS.gov for a Translator
What Can You Do With an Interpretation & Translation Degree?
Interpretation-translation is currently a huge industry that is crucial for effective communication between different countries and cultures. Translation does not depend only on the knowledge of languages, but it requires good knowledge of the cultural differences. The importance of interpretation-translation has gained much interest in the recent decades as a result of the globalization trends. There is currently more exchange of products and services between countries more than ever. Translation is also important for the spread of knowledge as there are thousands of books translated every year. Some books or novels as Pinocchio that has been translated to more than 250 different languages. The value of the translation industry in 2020 is estimated to reach around $45 billion. These figures show the importance of this field and indicate the high demand for this job.
What does an interpretation-translation student learn?
Interpretation-translation certainly include language studies, but they also include studies related to cultural differences. Students also learn advanced skills related to the use of language. For example, translating a song does not require only translation of the words but maintaining the sounds and rhythm of the song. The following list shows the courses commonly offered in interpretation-translation degree programs:
- Advanced translation: this course introduces principles and methods of professional and advanced translations as financial, legal, literacy, medical, scientific and technical translations.
- Linguistics: it is the study of language structure which includes morphology, syntax, phonetics, and semantics. There are several sub-branches of the topic as sociolinguistics, dialectology, psycholinguistics, computational linguistics, and applied linguistics.
- Specialist texts: this term usually refers to non-literally texts which require some form of prior knowledge in the field for accurate translation.
- Terminology: this might be one of the most challenging topics in translation. New terms are continually developed, and they do not have counterparts in other languages.
- Oral expressions: this course introduces how people express their thoughts, wants, ideas, opinions and beliefs. This include the use of syntactic, semantic, pragmatic, and phonological language structures.
- Translation and media: this course focuses on the translation of media content so that it can reach more audience in other places. This should take into consideration aspects as culture, targeted audience and the type of the media used which can all affect the choice of the words.
Now I have the interpretation-translation degree…where can I work after graduating?
Translation is required by almost all businesses around the world. It is also needed to reach more audience for movies, books, websites or other writings. There are various specializations that translators can choose for their careers:
- Conference interpreter: the role of this interpreter is to provide simultaneous interpretation during international conferences as the UN meetings for example. It is a challenging task that requires complete mastering of both languages and much concentration.
- Medical interpreter: they provide support to patients who are receiving healthcare services in a country using different language. Accuracy should carefully be taken into consideration in this situation as mistakes will lead to wrong medical decisions or patient incompliance.
- Sign language interpreter: this is a special type of interpretation that includes the conversion of spoken languages to the sign languages which are mainly used by deaf populations.
- Legal or judicial interpreters and translators: this work requires special certification or processes before translators are accredited.
- Localizers: the role of this job is to translate content related to products or services to allow marketing in other countries or areas. Localizers need to have the language, technical and cultural knowledge to provide accurate translations.
Should I choose an interpretation-translation degree?
Translation is an exciting field for people who are interested about languages. It opens wider spaces for knowledge and provides an important tool for cultural exchange. Additionally, it provides much flexibility in work as most translators currently can work from home and manage their own schedule. Working in translation will also help you develop some useful skills:
- Excellent listening skills: interpreters should listen carefully to the source language before they can provide accurate translation.
- Enhanced short-term and long-term memory: studies have shown that learning and taking multiple languages is an important way to enhance memory.
- Knowledge of cultural diversity: learning multiple languages certainly gets you in touch with people from different cultures.
- Excellent communication skills: studying translation is an advanced form of studying languages which is the main tool of communication between people.
- Research skills: you will certainly encounter every while a technical or new term that you need to research the best accurate translation to it.
- Computer assisted translation: this refers to the use of computer software that enhances the efficiency and speed of translation. They are considered essential tools for most translators these days.
Best Jobs for Interpretation & Translation Degrees
Talented interpreters and translators can find work in a variety of settings. Some work in the legal and healthcare industries, transcribing important health and court documents, or acting as an interpreter for clients and patients. Others work as literary translators, translating books from one language to another. Many find work in business roles, helping different-language business partners communicate effectively.
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Get a Certificate in Interpretation and Translation
If you’re already fluent in more than one language, you may want to consider pursuing a certificate instead of a bachelor’s degree. Since most bachelor’s degree programs provide language education in addition to interpretation and translation coursework, you may be best suited to focus on growing your skills in a certificate program. If it’s all you need to find work in the field, you’ll save thousands of dollars and shave several years of study off of your education.