Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The New Skills Shortage | Study Translation at University

The Growing Demand for Translators

We are currently faced with a shortage of translators around the world because of the growing demand for skilled professionals in this field. The translation sector is not a glamorized or highly publicized space, but it was predicted that the demand for Translators and Interpreters will almost double in the U.S. between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Contrary to popular belief the majority of these jobs aren't in translating books or interpreting for the UN -- many are in manufacturing, ecommerce, travel and working with large enterprises. Jobs are well paid, with some earning six figure salaries, and the profession offers many freelancing opportunities. So how about studying Translation?

Where can you study Translation?

The number of schools and institutions where you can study this profession around the world has grown rapidly in the last 10 years. Admittedly institutions that offer degrees in Translation are harder to find than typical business or arts degrees, but no matter where you live around the world there will be a University that offers translation courses nearby. I'm not saying that it's compulsory to attain a university degree in order to obtain work in the industry, however it will help. You can get a job in the industry with an ATA-certification, but the purpose of this blog post is to highlight the options available for studying at university level.

What programs are available?

Depending on the university, you're going to find different courses. You will find Translation studies in the Arts sections, and usually in either a department of Linguistics, school of languages or at times a center for translation. One of the most reputable qualifications is available from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. The university offers an impressive range of Masters programs, including Translation Media and Cultural Transfer, Translation, Writing and Cultural Difference, and Translation Studies.

At the Masters level, studies delve into deeper analysis, such as examining how translation of the same text between two different cultures can result in different interpretations and manipulations.

The difference between translation and interpreting

These two professions are both closely linked and distinctly different at the same time. For people looking into studies in translation it's important to understand the unique skill sets required of each, in order to best match themselves to the right profession. Essentially, the Interpreter translates orally and the Translator works in written text.

The Translator

The Translator needs to understand the source language, then consider cultural nuances and use all of their knowledge and resources make a clear and accurate written translation to the target language.

The Interpreter

The interpreter listens to one language and rephrases what they hear in the target language. They must do this without reference material, so they need to be great listeners that are able to process information very quickly, on the spot. Understanding the spoken content not only requires great knowledge of both languages but also the subject matter (this is especially true in translation too, where people work in specialized fields).


This is an undercover growth industry that is starting to gain serious interest from big business and investors around the world. A growing number of students are showing interest in this challenging and rewarding profession, and I hope this post helped you if you're thinking about making the move yourself.

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