Online Translation Certificate and Certification Programs

Get info about online certificate programs in translation. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out career and continuing education options.

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Essential Information

Certificate programs in translation are often non-credit programs. Graduates of these programs can apply for credentials from professional translators associations. Credentialing generally calls for meeting education requirements and passing a competency exam.

Students must be knowledgeable of languages, and an entrance exam is usually required to prove competency. While many courses may be available online, there is usually an on-campus component and required practical experience outside the classroom. Online, hybrid, and face-to-face formats are all widely available. Programs in specific languages, such as Spanish, can be found fully online. Students may need specific software, such as Adobe Reader. Applicants must have foreign language competency and a bachelor's degree.

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Certificate Programs - Translation

Specialty certificates in translation usually focus on one language pair, such as Spanish and English or Arabic and English. A general translation option is also available in some cases. This certificate requires the completion of at least six courses. Students learn sight translation techniques, terminology and computer translation programs.

Program Requirements and Information

Translation certificates are available in online, hybrid, and traditional, face-to-face classes. This program may require students to complete practical experience outside of the classroom or attend orientation courses on campus. Students must complete a translation test and application for entry into the certificate program; other steps toward admission include submitting a resume and personal statement and paying an application fee. A bachelor's degree is sometimes a requirement for entrance into a translation certificate program.

In translation certificate programs, students may be required to use textbooks in addition to online course materials. Technical requirements may include software programs, such as Adobe Reader and Flash Player and an Internet browser with Java enabled. These requirements are typically spelled out when students sign up for courses or at the start of the term.

List of Online Translation Courses

The core courses in translation programs include instruction in sight reading, theories of translation and the use of computers in translation. Students may be required to complete a supervised translation practicum to gain experience, and may choose to take courses in translation project management.

Introductory Translation

Introductory translation courses may be language-specific. Students learn about the process of translation and available resources. This course begins with an introduction to the professions and fields that demonstrate a high demand for translators.

Translation Tools

This course introduces terminology and programs that can be used in computer-aided translation. Students explore how computer-assisted translation has affected the industry as they learn to use translation tools and create lists of commonly used terminology.

Sight Reading

Students translate a wide range of materials, from general texts to legal or scientific pieces in this introductory course. This course is language-specific.

Career Information

Graduates of translation certificate programs may find work in medicine or the court system, as health care or judicial translators. Many translators are self-employed. In May of 2015, there were 49,650 individuals employed as translators or in the related field of interpretation. Translators and interpreters earned an annual wage ranging from $23,160 to $78,520 in that same year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

Continuing Education and Certification

There is no universal certification for translators in the United States. The American Translators Association (ATA) offers certification for members who pass an exam. Individuals must also provide documentation of their education and qualifications prior to registration for the exam. ATA-certified translators must complete 20 hours of continuing education over a 3-year period to maintain active certification (

Master's degrees in translation, typically Master of Arts (M.A.) programs, are available in specific languages. One of the most common Master of Arts in Translation degree programs is specific to the Spanish and English language pair. This graduate degree is available online and in face-to-face classes.

Online certificate programs in translation usually involve some on-campus requirements, including practicums. Students will gain a familiarity with translation tools and techniques, and will be eligible to pursue professional certification.

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