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Become a Danish Translator: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a Danish translator. Research the job duties and education requirements, and find out how to start a career in foreign language translation. View article »

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  • 0:03 Should I Become a…
  • 1:11 Learn Danish
  • 2:05 Earn a Bachelor's Degree
  • 3:09 Consider Translator Training
  • 4:00 Build Experience
  • 5:12 Find a Translator Position

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Video Transcript

Should I Become a Danish Translator?

Translators typically interpret written documents then convert them from one language to another. Danish translators translate Danish into English or other languages, or vice versa. Translators need to convey more than just word-for-word translations; they may have to explain foreign concepts, translate idiomatic phrases, or use words that imply the right tonal inflections.

Many translators - about one in five - are self-employed. Work environments for translators may vary widely, from courtrooms to hospitals to schools. The translators are often able to work from home. Translating can be stressful, since irregular work hours may require flexible availability and come with tight deadlines. In addition to being fluent in Danish and at least one other language (usually English), Danish translators should have excellent reading, writing, editing, and time management skills. As of May 2015, the median annual salary for all translators and interpreters was $44,190, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field None specified; however, some aspiring translators major in a language or in education
Certification Voluntary certifications are available from a variety of government agencies and professional organizations
Experience Previous translation experience is often preferred by employers
Key Skills Fluency in Danish and English; attention to detail; excellent writing, reading, and speaking capabilities; bi-cultural knowledge; self-motivated; time management skills; and basic knowledge of Microsoft Office and other related software
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 29% growth (for all translators and interpreters)
Median Salary (2015)* $44,190 (for all translators and interpreters)

Sources: Job postings from employers (August 2015); *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Learn Danish

People can learn Danish through taking formal classes, such as those offered at colleges, or learning from someone who already knows the language. Danish language classes for beginners often focus on cultural understanding and conversational phrase recognition. Students with significant Danish language experience can progress to courses that develop advanced reading, writing, and vocabulary skills.

If possible, aspiring Danish translators should spend time in Denmark. Danish is the national language of Denmark, which is a country in Europe that lies north of Germany and west of Sweden. Translators and interpreters need to gain an understanding of particular cultures, which can be done by spending time in foreign countries. Colleges usually offer study-abroad programs that allow students to spend one or more semesters in another country. Individuals can also choose to explore a country on their own.

Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Although Danish translators need to speak Danish and typically need to hold a 4-year degree, professionals do not always have a foreign language bachelor's degree. Since translators focus on interpreting written text, they may want to major in fields that teach reading comprehension, grammar, and writing skills, such as English. Foreign language translation careers often require cross-skills training, so students may choose to major in one field, such as English, and minor in another, such as cultural studies. An education-based major could also be useful to aspiring translators.

Prospective Danish translators can complete specialty coursework to help their future careers. Individuals who want to become Danish translators for businesses may consider taking international business courses. Likewise, people who want to translate Danish for the medical industry may need to take classes in medical terminology and pathology. There are several translator career specialties, so students might want to talk with academic or occupational advisors for suggestions on which courses may provide the best vocational training.

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  • Comparative Literature
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Consider Translator Training

Students may enroll in non-specific language translation training courses in programs at the graduate level. These programs may be available in graduate certificate or master's degree formats. Topics discussed in non-specific language translation courses may include target text analysis, cultural translations, computer-assisted translations, glossary construction, field-based terminology, and translation ethics. According to the BLS, a master's degree may be useful to translators in technical fields like finance or engineering.

Some foreign language departments provide translation students with the opportunity to complete a translation internship. It may be difficult to find Danish translation internship positions. Nevertheless, those who can find these opportunities will gain some real-world experience with translating documents for clients.

Build Experience

Translators without enough work experience may have trouble finding employment with companies. To build experience, new translators can become a volunteer or intern translator, especially for businesses dedicated to foreign language translations. Individuals can also work as freelance translators. Freelancers translate documents for specific clients on an as-needed basis. The BLS recommends that professional translators create portfolios with examples of their best translations, since employers may ask for samples of their previous work.

To demonstrate and continue to build their experience, Danish translators can also seek certification. The American Translators Association (ATA) offers certification programs for Danish to English translators. To be eligible for the exams, individuals must become members of the organization and possess graduate degrees (not necessarily related to translation studies). Exams are graded based on terminology usage, language grammar mechanics, audience appropriateness, and usability of the translated texts. To renew certifications, individuals must complete 20 hours of continuing education coursework every three years and maintain membership status.

Find a Translator Position

Between 2014 and 2024, the BLS predicts that employment for interpreters and translators could increase by 29%, which is much faster than average. Since there aren't very many Danish translation-training programs in the States, however, full-time translator positions may be limited to a few metropolitan regions. As of May 2014, the BLS reported that about 20% of all interpreters and translators worked freelance, so Danish translators may find freelance opportunities that allow them to work remotely from practically any location.

Danish translators can find employment with government agencies, the military, or academic institutions. There are also many career opportunities in the private sector, including global businesses, healthcare organizations, pharmaceutical companies, technical writing firms, legal writing agencies, and other multimedia conglomerates.

Remember that Danish translators translate written information from Danish into another language or vice versa, and they can build experience through study-abroad programs, translation internships, and certification.

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