Posted by: SSU Lingua Franca | May 1, 2014

Career Spotlight: Translation

Career Spotlight: Translation

Elizabeth Blood, world languages and cultures

holaWith our world becoming increasingly connected and our nation becoming increasingly multilingual, the need for qualified translators is growing. According to a recent CNN Money report, “Translators and interpreters are expected to be one of the 15 fastest growing occupations in the nation…Roughly 25,000 jobs are expected to open up for interpreters (who focus on spoken language) and translators (who focus on written language), between 2010 and 2020…That represents a 42% growth for the field” (CNN Money, October 30, 2013). The article notes that the highest salaries in this field go to those in the intelligence community and government, but that interpreters and translators are also in high demand in the legal, medical, technical, scientific, business, education, law enforcement and social services fields.

Translators and interpreters often work as freelancers, making this the ideal job for someone who is self-motivated and prefers to work independently and have a flexible schedule. However, salaried jobs as in-house translators for a specific company or working for a translation agency are also possible. Those interested in this field must have excellent English skills and advanced proficiency in at least one other language. The American Translator’s Association recommends a score of “advanced-low” on the ACTFL writing proficiency test in your chosen language. Translators and interpreters can work without having any official credentials, but passing the ATA translator’s exam offers a professional credential and listing of your name in a national database of accredited translators. A bachelor’s degree and/or translation training certificate are also recommended.

To learn more about becoming a professional translator, check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics online “Occupational Outlook Handbook” entry on translation and interpretation ( or the American Translator’s Association website (

This year, the department of World Languages and Cultures launched a new course WLC 300: Introduction to Translation and our Spanish Translation Practicum (SPN 450) is offered every other year. This is an area in which our department is expanding. Look for new courses on translation and a certificate program in 2015!

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