The Top Translation Certification Courses Translators Should Take

March 21, 2024
The Top Translation Certification Courses Translators Should Take

Do you need to hone your translation skills and improve your employability? If so, then take translation courses online! Translation services facilitate global communication, making them in demand as countries work to combat COVID-19 and mitigate the pandemic’s impact on their economies.

Take advantage of the current demand for language services by leveraging a translator certification course to boost your income The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports above-average expected growth of 19% for interpreters and translators between 2018 and 2028.

Perhaps you want a career change more than a little extra income. If you speak two languages fluently and enjoy working with documents, translation represents an excellent career choice.

Let’s look at the best translation certification courses available so you can understand your online certification and translation degree options.

Online Translation Certification Courses

Certification tends to fall into two categories. Generalized certification usually requires the completion of a lengthy study course that covers everything from translation fundamentals to interpretation theory to AI-powered language technology.

Specialized translation certification, meanwhile, often covers only one field, such as legal or medical translation. These certifications require less study time but more specialized knowledge than generalized translation certification courses.

Let’s see how you can get your translator certification online.

Read more: How to Become a Certified Translator 

1. American Translators Association Certification

Offering the gold standard in translator certification courses, the American Translators Association (ATA) enjoys considerable name recognition. It serves the public as a “mid-career credential for experienced, professional translators or interpreters,” according to the ATA.

The challenging, three-hour exam yields a pass rate of less than 20%. It bestows prestige on any individual who possesses the ability to pass it and can do wonders for a translator’s CV.

The ATA focuses on the examination element, providing a few practice exams to help you prepare. If you want a course of study with a curriculum and set learning activities, one of the options listed below might suit you.

Not in the mood for a long read? Don't worry! We made a short video of this article for you.

2. University of Arizona Online Translation Certificate

If you do not have a couple of years to commit to studying, the University of Arizona Online Translation Certificate program can help you achieve your dreams. The university designed the three-course certification process for learners who might struggle with full-time, traditional university courses.

Delivered through the University of Arizona’s National Center for Interpretation, the Online Translation Certificate covers translation between English and Spanish. The three elements of the curriculum cover online business translation, online legal translation, and online medical translation. This combination of translation courses proves ideal for students who want a specialized translation course. 

3. UMass Online Certificate in Professional Translation and Interpreting

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Online Certificate in Professional Translation and Interpreting provides the perfect opportunity for students who demonstrate proficiency in English and another language. The syllabus addresses the growing demand for translation and interpretation services in business, diplomatic, government, education, legal, and healthcare settings.

The one-year, 15-credit certificate allows students to work at their own pace. Students can also complete the course elements individually if they require more time. 

UMass uses advanced online learning techniques to deliver the classes. You will also encounter a multilingual, multicultural online classroom, an excellent resource for students who wish to expand their cultural knowledge and language skills. 

4. Bellevue College Translation and Interpretation Certificate Program

Spread across 240 course hours, this comprehensive translator certification course includes everything from terminology and technology to ethics and business practices. Students with proficiency in English and at least one other language can apply, whether they already work full-time as a translator or just started their language-related career.

The Bellevue College course delivers “comprehensive and practical interpreter and translator training for speakers of any language.” The emphasis on practical, real-world guidance requires students to complete five core courses and three language-specific courses.

5. ALTA Medical Interpreter Training Online

An excellent example of a specialized certified translator course, ALTA’s course fits into the schedules of students with limited study time. You can complete ALTA Medical Interpreter Training Online in under four months by finishing 16 weeks of course material.

The course caters to speakers of 42 languages with a range of learning materials and formats, including a digital coursebook, bilingual glossary, and live video chat sessions with a teacher. Students who want additional instruction can pay for optional private coaching.

This course focuses specifically on medical interpretation. You can discover the benefits of becoming a certified medical interpreter by clicking the link below. You can also find other courses covering several interpretation and translation niches. So, if you want to focus your skills on a particular area of work, seek out the ALTA course that best suits your chosen career path.

Read more: How to Become a Certified Medical Interpreter

Certified Translation Degree Programs

Pursue professional advancement through on-campus translator certification courses. Many top universities offer translation and interpretation courses that deliver standalone qualifications or comprise part of a broad language-related curriculum.

We’ll examine a few translation classes that stand out, but you should investigate the local options available to you, as well. Many degree courses offer night classes, so full-time employment should not prevent you from obtaining academic certification.

1. Rutgers University Certificate in Translation and Interpreting

Designed for the English-Spanish language pairing, this Certificate in Translation and Interpreting and the associated MA program focus on supporting students who seek employment as translators, medical interpreters, and court interpreters. Like many other university translation certification courses, you can earn part of your translator degree online. 

2. American University Translation Certification Courses

If you speak Russian, French, or Spanish fluently, then American University has the perfect program for you. Its translation certification courses cover cultural and linguistic studies, including French literature and Russian politics. Students must complete five classes within four years, allowing them to work at their own pace. 

3. University of Louisville Graduate Certificate in Translation and Interpreting

Do you need an English-Spanish graduate program that focuses on cultural understanding in addition to practical translation and interpreting skills? If so, the University of Louisville Graduate Certificate in Translation and Interpreting has everything you need. This translator certification course encompasses everything from theoretical learning to hands-on professional experience. 

4. University of North Carolina – Charlotte Translating Certificate

Students who speak French, German, Japanese, Spanish, or Russian should consider UNC Charlotte’s translator certification courses. Covering everything from the history and methodology of translation to computer-assisted translation to advanced post-editing skills, these contemporary classes will prepare you for a successful career in the language services industry. 

5. Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis Graduate Certificate in Translation Studies

French, Spanish, and German speakers can take the certified translator course at IUPUI to unlock career advancement. The curriculum covers the history and theory of translation before moving on to six distinct areas of translation: legal, medical, business, technical, scientific, and governmental. This approach is ideal for future translators who do not know which field they would like to specialize in, as well as those students who wish to provide proof of their general translation skills to potential employers. 

6. Open University Certificate in Translation and Interpreting

Delivered through San Diego State University, this English-Spanish translation and interpretation certificate allows students to choose their specialization during the course of their studies. The curriculum covers translation theory, advanced translation, simultaneous interpreting, consecutive interpreting, and more. 

7. Georgia State University Translation and Interpretation Graduate Certificate

Available for German, Spanish, and French speakers, this GSU course has students earn their translation certificate before their interpretation certificate. As a graduate-level certified translator course, this program requires all applicants to complete a four-year college degree. The interpretation classes focus specifically on medical and court interpreting. 

8. University of Maryland Graduate Studies in Interpreting and Translation

If you seek graduate-level translation certification courses that focus on finding employment opportunities and income-boosting potential, this University of Maryland program is an excellent choice. In addition to interpreting, the translation courses cover political, educational, legal, healthcare, and business sector translation, emphasizing practical skills development and nurturing a resume-friendly experience.  

9. Wake Forest University Graduate Program in Interpreting and Translation Studies

Graduate students have three MA options at Wake Forest University. Each course equips learners to work in an increasingly globalized world. Options include:

• MA in Interpreting and Translation Studies

• MA in Teaching of Interpreting

• MA in Intercultural Services in Healthcare

Language choices include Spanish, Chinese, and Portuguese. Wake Forest offers graduate and postgraduate certificates, making this a flexible option for students who do not know how long they wish to study. Certificates include:

• Graduate Certificate in Interpreting Studies (Spanish-English only)

• Graduate Certificate in Translation Studies (Spanish-English only)

• Graduate Certificate in Intercultural Services in Healthcare

• Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching of Interpreting


Can translation certification courses be completed online?

Yes, many translation certification courses offer online options, providing flexibility for participants to complete coursework and exams from anywhere, and accommodating those with busy schedules or geographical constraints.

Are there translation certifications available for specific languages?

Some certifications are designed for specific language pairs, focusing on the unique challenges and nuances of translating between those languages. This specialization can be beneficial for translators looking to work with particular language combinations.

How do translation certifications impact employability in the translation industry?

Holding a recognized translation certification can significantly boost a translator's employability by demonstrating their commitment to professional development and adherence to industry standards, making them a more competitive candidate in the job market.

Which Program Should You Take?

Translator certification courses serve as the primary route to a career in translation. However, you can work your entire career as a translator or interpreter without obtaining certification. Then again, if you want to provide certain types of translation, like legal translation in the US, you will need to become certified.

Which course you should take depends on several factors, including location, schedule, employment status, and career goals.  

Before you commit, think about why you want a translation certificate. Do you wish to start a career in translation or take your current career in a different direction? These considerations should influence your choice.

Obtaining formal recognition of your skills and boosting your earning potential provides a lot of motivation. We wish you the best of luck in completing whichever translation courses you choose and your future career.

By Ofer Tirosh

Ofer Tirosh is the founder and CEO of Tomedes, a language technology and translation company that supports business growth through a range of innovative localization strategies. He has been helping companies reach their global goals since 2007.



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