Is Spanish Translator Certification Necessary?

Spanish translators are often looking for ways to establish their credibility with clients, and one of the things translators often feel compelled to do is receive Spanish translator certification. However, is this really necessary?

The question of whether or not to become certified as a translator is a delicate issue that many translators tend not to agree on, and for good reason. There are good arguments on both sides, and ultimately it comes down to the needs of the individual translator.

On one side of the debate are those who believe that Spanish translator certification is a must, and that without it, a translator cannot expect to make any many in the translation industry, with some even believing that a translator who is not certified is doing his profession a disservice.

On the other hand, there are those who believe that translator certification is an arbitrary measurement dreamed up by organizations to drive translators (and their money) to the organizations themselves. Who is right? Well, that's a question easier asked than answered.

First off, translation clients want the best translators they can find. Just as you or I would want a licensed contractor working on the electrical problems in our house, so will translation clients want someone who is licensed to do their translation work. Secondly, these clients feel more at ease with a translation professional who has passed a test and demonstrated their translation ability.

However, some will argue, unlike licensed contractors who are regulated usually by the state where they work, translation certification is not regulated at the state or federal level (at least in the United States). There are a few organizations who offer "certification" but that certification is not standardized across these levels.

So, with that the case, is it necessary to get certified as a translator? Well, receiving a Spanish translator certification does have its positives. Translation clients are usually not well-versed in how translation certification is structured, so if you can tell them you have been certified by the American Translators Association (A U.S. translation organization), for instance, they will assume it's a professional certification and be more likely to give you work. For that reason, certification is useful, because it gives translators more credibility, especially those who are just starting out and have a small client base.

That being said, I know plenty of translators who are not certified by any professional organization and view such certifications as unnecessary. These translators find plenty of work and some are doing very well. Usually, they can establish credibility with new clients through references from previous clients, which is the best way to establish credibility.

So my suggestion would be to get a Spanish translator certification if you need some help establishing credibility as a translator or picking up new clients. The best way to do that is to type "translation certification" or "translator accreditation" in a search engine and find a reputable organization. There are different ones depending on where you live and different requirements for each, so you'd be best off getting familiar with each one.

On the other hand, if you are an established translator, or you can demonstrate that your translation abilities are adequate some other way, then there is probably no need for you to go through with certification.

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