Becoming a German translator

by Anja
(Oceanside,ca )

Born and raised in Germany, living now over 16 years in San Diego. I was wondering where I can test to see if I qualify to become a translator? And where can I study to become one?

I really appreciate your help.

Thank you


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Start with the American Translators Association
by: Joanna

Hi Anja

Many thanks for your question. I presume you are primarily interested in translating into your native German?

The American Translators Association (ATA – runs a certification program for the German to English and/or English to German combination, although there don’t seem to be any preparatory courses for the exam. (They also note that candidates translating into German are expected to use the new German rules on orthography (Rechtschreibreform).

The exam involves translating 2 papers, I believe in one sitting. You have to be a member of ATA to sit the exam and becoming a member requires work experience – but they don’t say if this has to be experience working in translation!

I am currently putting together a directory of German translation courses at various institutions in the USA, and so will put a link here in this answer soon. In the meantime, your nearest university with a translation program is probably UCI at Irvine. Middlebury Graduate College in Monterey also has an Institute of International Studies offering a variety of MA’s in translation, but is further away.

I hope this is some help – get back to me if you have any more specific questions.


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German to English Translation

Joanna Scudamore-Trezek

I'm a German to English translator living and working in Vienna, Austria. I turn German texts into clear and accessible English, allowing clients to present their stories, ideas and information to a completely new audience. My business and marketing clients rely on me to get their message across clearly and effectively.  How can I help you today?

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