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  • How Long Does It Take to Become a Certified Translator?

    Certified Translation

    Once neighbors were the people who lived next door. Now, they may be the people who live just across the border, or across the ocean. We have become a global society, and we are interconnected on many levels. People who are employed by large corporations may find themselves frequent travelers and nearly dual citizens. World travel, although currently restricted because of the Covid-19 pandemic, is a common occurrence. While the miles between us are easily traversed, however, language is a barrier that is more difficult to cross.


    Join the Navy; See the World


    That recruiting slogan has been the subject of many comedy routines, but Americans have always had the urge to travel. The last generations have not only enjoyed sightseeing overseas but have invested and opened international offices. The acronym FDI, which stands for foreign direct investments, is a widely-used term that describes foreign investments in another country’s economy, and it is a pervasive practice, according to an article in The Balance.com. Emerging markets need the extra funds to boost their ability to compete, and the interweaving of the finances allows technology and innovation to move from one country to another easily.


    That same practice, however, is made more complicated by issues such as pandemics and global warming because of the differing regulations imposed by countries to guard their own interests. Documents that seem self-explanatory in English may not be acceptable in Spanish, for instance. It is vital for corporations to produce multilingual communications. Additionally, people who live or do business in another country need documentation such as a certified birth certificate translation in the language of that country to get permits and other legal requisites. Certified document translation ensures that the document that is translated meets the intent of the original document.


    Be Reasonable; Speak English


    Americans have had a global reputation, deserved or not, for expecting everyone else to speak English. In fact, an article in the Huffington Post declared that only 30 percent of Americans spoke another language. That may not keep them from engaging in world travel because 54 percent of the world speaks English. Omniglot says that English is the second-largest language group but “without a doubt” the universal language. Still, there are other languages out there. Businesses that want to open offices in Germany, for instance, need to be able to provide legal documents in German.


    The Biggest Boy on the Block


    Another issue in this global economy discussion is that America is being challenged as the “big boy on the block.” Bloomberg, the business giant, says that twenty years ago China’s economy was one-tenth of the size of the US economy. In 2019, the Chinese economy was two-thirds the size of America’s and it is expected to surpass the US by ten percent by 2039. That means more businesses will need the ability to translate corporate communique into Chinese. The economy quickly coming into third place in India. Hong Kong, the business center of China, uses English as their official business language, but fewer than 50 percent of the population speak it and most don’t consider themselves fluent in it. Even fewer citizens of India speak English. The need for certified translation is obvious.


    How Do People Become Certified Translators?


    There are two types of this transfer of information from one language to another. Interpretation is spoken, and the skill discussed here is the translation which is written communication of the exact meaning of a document from one language to another. The thing is, most of the work opportunities, and advancement potential, are for certified translators. So, how does someone become certified?


    The first step is obviously to learn a language and to learn it well. The usual “foreign” languages spoken by Americans who are bilingual are Spanish and French. A person who wants to work as a translator in these languages will face a lot of competition for jobs. Someone who wants to work for an organization such as the UN should have expertise in Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Spanish, or French. Someone wanting to work in international business should choose a language that would be beneficial in the country where the business has offices.


    Second, get more training. Understand cultural differences and nuances. Though a document may use the same wording in another language, cultural differences may change the context.
    Invest in Certification.


    How Long Does it Take To Become Certified?


    If you know a language well enough to seek certification, you can seek endorsement such as is offered by the American Translators Association. There are different types of language translation that can be certified. For instance, one might become certified in translating English into Japanese. Additionally, to be certified by the American Translators Association, you must be a member of the organization. You also must be able to pass examinations in reading proficiency in both the source language and in the target language. Additionally, the ATA requires that applicants hold a bachelor’s degree in translation and interpretation from an accredited institution and that they have a minimum of five years of work experience.


    The process of becoming certified may take only as long as completing an online test and waiting for the credential. Preparing for certification could involve years of education.


    Do-It Yourselfers


    If a person speaks a language well, can’t he just do the translations himself? There is really no requirement that says translators must be certified. It isn’t like having something notarized. Still, the added assurance of using a certified translator may be worth the cost. Companies that employ these professionals monitor their fluency and reliability and ensure that the certified document translation meets both the wording and the intent of the original document. That can impart a lot of peace of mind to someone who wants to make certain his translated document meets all the requirements and standards of the country where it will be used.


    It isn’t only corporations and governments that benefit from using certified translators. Making sure your document says exactly what it needs to say in another language is vital to getting visas and marriage licenses, applying to universities and financial aid organizations, supplying health records to doctors in other countries, and other common usages. Using USCIS certified translation services can help everyone become global “neighbors.”