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Learn About Translation Degree Options

'graduation' photo (c) 2010, Sean MacEntee - license: The world continues to grow smaller as the Internet has made it possible to quickly and easily communicate with people around the world. In order for these communications to be effective, it is necessary for a variety of different languages to be supported. Translation services are an area in which there is seemingly unlimited growth potential. Graduates of programs that focus on such skills will be able to work within government agencies, as freelance translators, in corporate translation capacities, as developers of translation software, and within the personal translation industry.

For the individual who is interested in pursuing a translation degree, a variety of different options are available. Some colleges and universities offer professional certificates, while others offer bachelor's, master's or doctorate degrees in translation. The right program will depend on the circumstances of a particular person. For a few ideas about the options available to people who want to obtain more information about this exciting, and growing, industry, read on below.

Traditional Graduate Schools

Kent State University: Located in Northeast Ohio, Kent State University is a public higher education facility that offers a liberal arts education. The Master of Arts in Translation, qhich is a two year program, and a PhD in Translation Studies are offered through their Institute for Applied Linguistics. Areas of focus for the degrees include: specialized translation; research skills in translation; development in the skills necessary for humanistic translation and translation studies; software localization; language industry project management; and computer-assisted terminology. Students can expand their knowledge and hone their skills in German, Japanese, Spanish, French, and Russian.

SUNY Binghamton: This State University of New York campus offers a Graduate Certificate in Translation Research and Instruction, a PhD in Translation Studies, and an undergraduate Minor in Translation. Located in the south central region of New York, SUNY Binghamton was the first in the United States to offer the PhD in Translation Studies. Coursework prepares graduates for scholarly research, as well as for those who are on track to be a professor. Other tracks available include interdisciplinary tracks designed to accommodate varied backgrounds. Courses of study include comparative literature, national literatures, philosophy, cultural studies, history of Translation Studies, postcolonial studies, major figures, pedagogy, and traditions of Translation Studies. Additionally, SUNY offers programs of study that are individualized to meet the needs of a particular student. This university prepares the student to become successful within a teaching position or within the researc h field, although graduates can work as either an interpreter or translator, if they desire to do so.

Traditional Translation Certificates

American University: Located in Washington DC, American University's 15 credit hour Graduate Certificate is available in three languages: Russian, French and Spanish. This certificate can includes coursework that can also be applied toward a Masters in foreign language.

Georgia State University: Georgia State University, located in Atlanta, requires 15 semester hours of coursework in general translation, comparative stylistics, advanced translation, as well as a workshop in translation. Students can choose specializations in German, Spanish, and French translation. In addition, legal, conference and medical interpretation in Spanish and French are also available.

Boston University: Professional certificates in medical, community and legal interpreting with Spanish, Chinese and Portuguese specializations are offered at Boston University. The focus of this program is on the ethical considerations that are present within the interpreting profession as well as the linguistic techniques that are needed. Cohort Groups, which are comprised of students according to the language in which they are specializing, are also formed.

For more information about options for translation degrees for students at traditional brick and mortar universities, visit

Online Translation Degrees

New York University: With its main campus located in Greenwich Village, New York University offers its students a certificate in translation that is available online. This program requires that students demonstrate a mastery of foreign language as well as English. Other requirements include an introductory course, an elective and four or more courses specific to the concentration chosen by the student. The following seven concentrations are available: General Translation; English to French; English to Spanish; Arabic to English; Spanish to English; English to Portuguese; and French to English.

The University of Denver: Through its University College, the University of Denver offers both a graduate certificate and a Master's Degree in Translation Studies. During the Graduate certificate coursework, the student will obtain the skills and knowledge necessary for translation services in both English and Spanish. Some topics of focus include terminology, computer applications that are popular with professional translators, translation styles and techniques. These will help the student gain employment in the commercial, medical, financial and legal industries. For the Master's degree, 48 hours of coursework is required. Translation theory, translation terminology, legal translation, translation project management and translation practice are all covered.

For more information about the online translation degree offerings available, visit

Students who have a special interest in foreign languages, and who demonstrate a fluency in this area, will find a number of options open that allow them to pursue this interest. Job opportunities will only continue to grow in this industry that promises to offer a rich and stimulating working environment as well as financial rewards.

Katie Yuol frequently writes about education topics, as well as contributing to online college resource DegreeJungle. She is a lifelong learner who is pursuing her Masters degree in Literary Arts, and loves taking care of her dog, Goldie.


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