first course in translation certificate

I just finished taking the first of four courses required for the Graham School’s translation certificate, which I hope to complete during the next two years. Each course is comprised of a three-day seminar, followed by an eight-week practicum in one language pair. Since I have one of the more common language pairs (Spanish to English), I’ve been wondering exactly what kinds of clients are “out there” with Spanish to English translation needs. I’ve asked a few people this question and mostly what I am hearing is medical (medical reports, journal articles) and financial (banking). It will be interesting, as I move forward with this, how I end up specializing. I’m really not attracted to legal translation at this point. Website localization might be interesting. We’ll see…

But I did learn some excellent points at this seminar:

  1. how to detect the reading level of a passage in English,
  2. some of the subtle differences between reading difficulty and translation difficulty,
  3. that the first year in the market can be brutal, because until you have experience and a specialty, you have to take what comes,
  4. how important it is to properly name your documents for clients,
  5. this book by Douglas Robinson is really a great intro to the field (I wish I would have read it earlier),
  6. I’ll need to work hard to drum up a consistent volume of business,
  7. eventually, I’m going to need to invest hundreds of dollars in style guides and other such books to have all the tools I need at hand, and most importantly,
  8. I think I can be a good translator.

This last point was rather critical for me, because I wasn’t sure going in if I had the ability to actually complete a good translation. Honestly, I’m still a bit afraid of the more technical assignments to come. But all in all, I think I have what it takes. This is one of those career paths I’m just going to pursue until I feel like I shouldn’t anymore… nothing like trying.

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