How to Qualify as a Translator and Interpreter

In this article we will discuss how to qualify as a professional translator and interpreter.
We will look at the various different options and offer our own observations on these.


Translation and interpreting is a very serious business and competition is correspondinly high.

In Spain in the past Spanish companies might have sought translation services form language schools and teachers.  

They would ask if one of the native teachers could translate a Spanish document to English.

This approach may have been sufficient for straightforward correspondence.

Provided, of course that the letter used every day language.

Certainly, the trained academic could provide a perfectly acceptable rendering of the original text in the target language.

However, sometimes the text included highly specialised technical language.
In these cases, the linguist does need specific translation skills.

As an example of some of the work that qualified translators carry out perhaps you might like to read our page on Certified Translations.

Being English in Spain and even speaking both languages quite well does not mean one is capable of translating, say, a complex medical or scientific document.

One must have subject specific knowledge or, to put it another way, if one speaks English and Spanish and is also a medic then there is a better chance of translating a medical text.

Even allowing for this it is clear that a study of translation and interpreting at post graduate level is vital to ensure that the prospective translator and interpreter has the basic fundamental skills to approach a career of translation and interpreting.

In the UK there are two main ways of gaining translation qualifications.

Universities offer post graduate degrees in Translation and Interpreting and a full list of these can be found at the ITI.

In addition, another way of entering the profession is through the CIOL who provide the Diploma in Translation.

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