Language Interpretation and Translation  Program Description


Insider Info

dotTranslation and interpretation students know how to talk the talk -- in more than one language.

Some universities and colleges offer a certificate or diploma rather than a degree. Some schools offer a co-op program combining work and study.

While certificates take less time, keep in mind that translators and interpreters need to be fluent in the language they specialize in. So if your written French could use improvement, you may want to consider a longer degree program.

"Interpretation and translation are two related but separate areas," says Ina Dieguez. She is the director of a university translation program.

Translation focuses on working with written documents rather than interpreting a person's speech. Dieguez says very few schools offer interpreter training.

Besides being fluent in another language, there are several other qualities that will help a student succeed.

"I find that to be a good translator or interpreter, a student should have a great deal of curiosity, love language and be very interested in other cultures," says John Balcom, a professor at Monterey Institute of International Studies in California.

"I think curiosity is a necessary quality because translators and interpreters deal with any subject imaginable in their work. This requires that one become familiar with a variety of subjects -- both conceptually and linguistically."

Take a wide range of classes in high school "I think that the general college prep curriculum is good preparation for translators and interpreters," says Balcom. "They should have good writing and public speaking skills as well as sound research skills, the sorts of things that a college-prep curriculum generally provides."

But language skills are the most important, says Dieguez. She suggests taking advanced grammar classes in both languages you plan to use. A third language can also come in handy.

"High school students should start by reading, reading and more reading," Dieguez says. "They should read things on the same topic in both languages and discuss what they read with their peers, just for terminology practice."

She says joining a debating club can also help students hone their language skills.

Textbooks are not usually a major expense in these programs.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
Find current labor market data for Translators and Interpreters

ASSE -- International Student Exchange Programs
See the world before you finish high school

Rotary International Youth Exchanges
Contact your local Rotary club or check out this site

Just the Facts

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