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The two most common questions I keep hearing as a language service provider are:

1. I know the language and I can type, can I become a translator?

2. How much do translators make?

My article today will answer the first questions along with the education and certification requirements needed to start a career in the localization industry. The answer to the second question can be obtained by the translator himself.

The first step in becoming a professional translator is being as fluent as a native language speaker in at least two languages. Generally, one of the languages is English and other being the language in which you might be asked to translate. So, knowing two languages and the ability to type is just the first step. Once you achieve that, focus on being proficient in those two languages. Most translators translate into their own native language so they can translate ideas correctly into their native/stronger language.

While a bachelor’s degree in translations is preferred but not required, programs focusing specifically on translation are available. I have to admit, I didn’t know such programs even existed when I was in college. While there are a lot of good colleges to choose from, most of my colleagues studied at Middlebury Institute and completed their Master of Arts in Translation and Localization Management (TLM) program and highly recommend it. Studying in a good college to get a degree in translation, helps prospective translators to lay hands on many resources, case studies, translation methodologies, opportunity to learn tools used in the translation industry etc., that are available in the college to enhance their language learning and language instruction.

The second step in becoming a professional translator would be picking your subject specialization for translations. A good translator would require not only an in-depth knowledge of the language but also of the subject of translation as well as additional focus into industry-specific terminology. While selecting your specialization, you should select a subject that interests you since you will have to read a lot of publications, journals, and newspapers to become a translator.

The third step would be to become a Certified Translator. One reputable organization where you can get certified is the American Translators Association (ATA) link: It is one of the industry’s most respected and recognized credentials and provides certification in 30 languages currently. Another way of showing your language proficiency would be to take the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT). Link:

Now that you know how to become a certified translator, let’s see how much translators make? The easiest way to find out is to check with Uncle Sam. Link:

As for my closing comment, remember that once you are a certified translator, the best thing you can do to stay on top is keep reading and keep up with the latest things in your subject area!

g11n invites any organization interested in ezyi18n to contact for more information.

About g11n

g11n Inc. is a globalization management company that supports the complete life cycle of global software & product launches. g11n products and solutions address the global/multilingual release and launch. The platform simplifies multilingual product translation, standardizes global brand language, automates localization testing, and integrates global recruitment/training. It also provides a comprehensive outlook across the globalization portfolio with metrics, adoption and investment information integrated into an actionable dashboard. With a very diverse cultural and geographic background, g11n has production and testing centers worldwide and provides multilingual testing services for a variety of products and operating systems in over 80 countries.