Online Bachelors Degree Programs in Translation

Find out about online courses related to translation and in which programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

Essential Information

Accredited bachelor's degree programs in translation are not offered in an online format, though on-campus programs are numerous. Students seeking online programs in translation can pursue related online programs in a foreign language or can pursue distance-learning certificate programs in translation. These programs prepare students to translate documents written in one language to another.

Online graduate certificate programs in translation are available for those who already hold a bachelor's degree. These programs may require applicants to pass a fluency test in the language they want to study.

Certificate in Translation

A professional or graduate certificate in translation program equips students with the necessary communicative and interpretive skills needed for professionally converting written documents from another language into English, or vice versa. Individuals may have the option to choose from a variety of languages, such as German, French, Portuguese and Arabic, but many programs offer a Spanish track. Foreign language reading and writing, along with textual analysis, are the program's main focuses. Some coursework helps students develop translation techniques in relation to the medical, business, academic and legal fields. Admission requirements vary, but most institutions require students to satisfy a list of prerequisite courses, complete a test or both.

Program Information and Requirements

Available fully online, translation certificates usually take two years to complete. Applicants may need to pass an assessment exam to determine if their fluency in a foreign language is adequate. Students use an online discussion board platform, like Blackboard, to access coursework and communicate with the professor and fellow colleagues. Students have a lot of freedom to decide how much time they wish to dedicate to the certificate program, but professors still set deadlines for assignments. In addition to having a computer with Internet connectivity and an e-mail account, students are usually required to purchase textbooks for certain courses.

Course Topics

Students may choose to take specialty courses in interpretation, which involves orally converting one language into another, in conjunction with translation.

Introduction to Translation

Instructors teach students practical communication and problem-solving skills through interactive projects. Along with enhancing students' skills in translation, the course discusses career possibilities.

Medical Translation

Students examine medical translation by learning the proper terminology and style of writing commonly found in the medical field. The course places a major focus on students comprehending multiple cultural issues and language distinctions.

Introductory English to Spanish

This course primarily focuses on delivering students a comprehensive yet intensive study of the Spanish written language. Instructors deal with relaying methods to avoid misspelling and grammatical errors when writing in Spanish.

Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Translation

Accredited schools didn't offer an online bachelor's degree program in translation as of 2010. As an alternative, students may pursue on-campus Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Translation programs. They learn professional techniques in a traditional classroom for translating written materials. Such programs focus on the practical application of communicative skills and prepare students for translation careers in academic, business and media settings. The degree program is a mixture of language-intensive and liberal arts courses.

Program Information and Requirements

Many postsecondary schools mandate that students take language proficiency tests to gauge their fluency in foreign languages. In addition, students must complete a set of prerequisite courses that mostly consist of introductory lessons in writing and speaking in Spanish. However, some institutions allow students who demonstrate an above average fluency in the language to waive the prerequisite courses.

Course Topics

Students take courses in English, Spanish and communication. General education requirements round out the 4-year curriculum.

Spanish Fundamentals

This course places an emphasis on oral comprehension and speaking for students who are beginning their Spanish study or have two years of high school experience in the language. Class material focuses on grammar, reading and writing.

Translation and Interpretation

Instructors teach students techniques for translating text from Spanish to English. The curriculum covers textual analysis and synthesis of text in foreign languages.

Spanish to English Translation

After learning how to translate texts from English into Spanish, students learn to reverse the process and convert Spanish texts into the English language. They also study the theory, history and principles of translation.

Career Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected the employment of translators and interpreters to grow by 29%, much faster than the average for all occupations, between 2014 and 2024 ( An increase in the non-English speaking population has caused an increased demand for them. Interpreters and translators earned a mean annual salary of $48,360 as of May 2015.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Interpreters and translators typically need at least a bachelor's degree, although the most important qualification is fluency in two or more languages. Professional certification is not required for translators, but several organizations offer voluntary certification. The American Translators Association is one such organization that offers certification for many language combinations. Certified translators may find more employment opportunities than those who aren't certified.

Though online bachelor's programs in translation don't exist, online certificate programs in translation are available, as well as online bachelor's programs in a foreign language. Students will learn the skills to convert and translate language, including medical terminology.

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