A lot of time is invested in studying for a degree so it is worth asking the question do I really need translator qualifications in order to become a translator? While there is no simple answer to this, there are obvious benefits to having a specialist qualification for the career you wish to pursue.
However, with two people applying for the same role, the person with the translator qualifications and limited ‘real’ experience could find themselves losing out to someone who does not have the necessary translator qualifications on paper but does, instead, possess the necessary experience.
While translator qualifications are not strictly necessary in order to become a translator there are some fields of work where it is essential to have achieved a higher education. For example, work as a translator within the government.
If you do decide to gain the necessary translator qualifications, there are many courses available throughout the United Kingdom offering translator degrees. Generally a BA Hons translation degree takes three years to complete, unless you’re doing it in Scotland in which case it will take four.
While it may not be necessary to possess translator qualifications, it is obviously beneficial if you are aiming to work as a translator within a specialist field to have associated qualifications. You can only become a good translator if you understand what you are translating and that comes from having the relevant knowledge within that field, not necessarily from translator qualifications but rather from a specialist degree such as physics or politics.
There will always be fresh faced graduates looking for work who find it hard because they don’t have the necessary experience. Experience will always count for a lot and put you in good stead. However, in this dour economic downturn, translator qualifications may just put you one step ahead of the rest. The experience will come with time and, with that, the formal translator qualifications will become less and less important.