How to Become a Translator Without a Degree?

There are many fascinating jobs in the world. If you are looking for interesting employment that does not put you in any dangerous situations, becoming a translator is a great option. A translator works with foreign languages and texts written in them. The legal and administrative translation may not be very diverse, but films and books interpretation is really exciting.

If you are thinking about how to become a translator without a degree, this article is for you! Here we will tell you about the different kinds of jobs a translator can do and give you some tips on how to become a translator without a degree.

Who Is a Translator?

A translator is a person who works with two or more languages, rendering a text in one language to a text in another language. This profession exists since ancient times, but at the beginning, there were only oral translators called interpreters. When the written word appeared, translators became needed in every country.

Now, translators are highly employable in every field of human activities. Globalization created such conditions that all big companies have branches in other countries, or at least cooperate with enterprises abroad. Besides, film and book industries develop fast, which means that movies and books need to be rendered in foreign languages.

Famous Translators

Usually, this job does not bring popularity because translators are always left on the background. However, in every country, there are job representatives that become famous. In most cases, these are people who work with books.

Besides, there are some people that became popular all around the world for their work.

  1. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky are known for their translation of Anna Karenina that was chosen by Oprah Winfrey for her Book Club in 2004.
  2. Stephen Mitchell works with ancient literature.
  3. Edward Seidensticker became famous for his translation of Japanese authors into English.

Why Do You Need a Degree?

In many cases, you will not be able to become a translator without a degree, but it is mostly relevant to interpreting. With the development of artificial intelligence, you can find a job without a degree easily.

You will need a degree to translate international treaties and other documents of national importance; to work in the state institutions; to provide official legalization for any kind of translations; and to open your own language services provider company.

What Can You Do Without a Degree?

There a lot of options for those who want to become a translator but don’t have a degree.

1.   Work in Business

Did you know that even people with a degree in this field have to receive additional education in order to become experts in translation? Receiving a degree in this field means that you will know the techniques of rendering a text in one language into another one, but in order to become a good specialist, you need to be an expert in the field you are dealing with.

For example, you have a degree in economics, and you know a foreign language. You will have more chances to become employed in the private bank enterprise than someone with a degree in linguistics. It means that with the knowledge of a foreign language you can become a translator in the business field you are an expert in.

2.   Work with Movies

When a movie becomes known internationally, it has to be translated into many languages, and for that, you don’t need to have a degree. Films translators have to be smart, possess a great sense of humor, and have a high level of knowledge of the two languages in question.

However, the competition for this job is very high, since you can work as a film renderer part-time and combine it with another job, while the payment is high. You will have to prove that you can do a good job, so make sure you practice before going to the interview.

3.   Work with Publishing House

Most of the book translations are made by people without a degree. The reasons for that are many. Firstly, you have all the time in the world to check everything you don’t know and find the best equivalents. Secondly, your translation will be checked by a team of professional editors, proofreaders, and publishers, so you will have the chance to correct your mistakes.

Thirdly, books are art, and when it comes to art, it is important to transfer the meaning and the emotions it causes. Some people with a degree may prefer to follow the rules, and the book becomes boring.

4.   Work with Web Platforms

If you like translating and are ready to do it for free, you can look for various web platforms, such as TEDx or Fanfics.me. Ordinary renderers don’t make money there, but those who cooperate with the platforms for a long time become moderators and editors, who are employed and earn a salary.

Having a degree here is definitely not required, but you need to be very creative since TED speakers and fanfics authors often come up with unique ideas.

How to Become a Translator Without a Degree?

Now you know that you don’t need a degree to become a translator, but you still need the information about where to look for job offers.

1.   Take a Course

This way works for those who want to have basic knowledge of translation. There are a lot of courses available online and offline. They provide a crash course, a certificate, and employment.

The main benefit of courses is that in most cases, you become an expert right after receiving a certificate and can be employed. You just need to google the courses in your country or city.

2.   Search Job Sites

It seems obvious, but the trick is that it works only for business translation. You can find job offers in different companies all around the world.

3.   Be Initiative

If you want to become a translator of films and books, you need to be initiative and go directly to the film production company or publishing house with the example of your work. If they are interested in your work, they will hire you without a degree.

So, here are the best tips on how to become a translator without a degree. If you are interested in this, just go for it!

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