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So you want to work as a Spanish translator? (This also applies to any other language, obviously.)

7/10/2013 by Susana Schultz

I hear this all the time from Anglo kids born in this country. “I studied Spanish in high school; I spent a semester in Mexico; I am good at it and I want to work as a Spanish translator! Can you hire me?” Is that you?

I am sorry to burst your bubble, but having studied Spanish in high school and having spent a semester in Mexico does not qualify you to work on Spanish translations and you will be hard pressed to get an agency to give you work. It takes Spanish translators years to get to a point where they can be proficient to tackle all the nuances of the English translated into all the nuances of the Spanish. It takes an intimate knowledge of both languages, one acquired through years of studying English and years of being a native, Spanish-language individual.

Most translators have college degrees in translation because in the countries where we come from, that is a 4-year career. Some colleges in the U.S. have started to offer 4-year degrees in the past few years.

Translators do their best work when they translate into their native language, so if you really want to be a translator and want to be good and successful, think about translating into your native language and think about making the commitment to a 4-year college degree.

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