Free Online Translation Courses to Become an Expert

One of the primary translator’s decisions is the choice of specialization and translation courses online. Since this will allow one to deepen expertise in the chosen subject and give the ability to translate more complex texts within the chosen language pair. While a translator can offer services in all areas of expertise, the absence of any specific preferred specialization may result in the lack of constantly returning clients who need many texts within their field being translated. For example, if one’s preferred sphere is microbiology, he or she may start cooperating with a scholarly journal and receive a constant flow of new publications that require translation. Thus, specialization is a big plus but many people think that it can be achieved only by attending college or university. Is it a truth, though?

Thoughts on Attending College

In fact, spending four years of one’s life to obtain the desired certificate may not be the only right solution. While a freshman has time and possibilities to change the course of studying process, many people may find a true vocation much later in life and they cannot afford to spend an additional four years. There may be a variety of reasons from family to time-consuming hobby and work.

There is another obstacle to succeeding in obtaining the desired qualification by choosing a standard way. There may be no translation-related degree-granting program in the chosen area of knowledge or preferable institutional affiliation. Anyway, the primary aim is to get knowledge and start translating, isn’t it? The matter is that the Master’s degree is not really required to make this happen.

Do Clients Care about Your Degree?

The short answer would be rather “no” than “yes” simply because clients are more interested in hired employee’s real working experience. It is always better to do something at least once than read several times about someone else’s doing that. One cannot develop good translation skills without practicing it and clients often understand it, that is why they offer better jobs for professionals who have many customers’ testimonials regardless of the degree’s availability. 

Modern history represents multiple stories of people who succeeded in life after dropping college. Skills, knowledge, and reliability are things that matter in a real working environment. People who possess impressive degrees but cannot prove their knowledge and acquired skills have fewer chances of being hired than experts that have significant experience but lack official documents. They were busy working and gaining real knowledge, after all.

MOOC platforms

Even full-time students now go studying online and this process has begun prior to the global pandemic that locked many people at home. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) demonstrate the increase in demand year after year, the number of available courses and classes grows, as well as the total number of participants. Many platforms offer advantageous free courses where translators can find useful content for themselves. Here are some of the most popular options:

  • Coursera: Operating since 2012, this platform offers a variety of courses from humanities to engineering in 13 languages. The majority of courses last from 4 to 10 weeks and one can even obtain full bachelor’s or Master’s degrees completely online. The list of partners includes not only educational institutions but also governments and companies. 
  • Udemy: Translators can definitely find some useful skill-improving courses among 150,000 available options on this platform. There are more than 65 covered languages and there are many free offers for both practical and theoretical knowledge to choose from.
  • edX: More than 24 million users take advantage of courses offered through edX platform. Many university-level courses are provided free of charge, though credit-eligible courses are usually paid ones. This provider mainly cooperates with educational institutions. 
  • FutureLearn: Even though the courses are offered in five languages only, its close partnership with worldwide-known universities proves the quality of suggested courses. The range of topics is very broad so that everybody could find something useful there. 
  • Udacity: A lot of free courses can be found on this platform, which explains why there are approximately 12 million users by now. The paid option of receiving credentials might be interesting for those who require not only skills and new knowledge but also some sort of official proof of courses’ completion. 

One needs to monitor the chosen platform, preferably several ones since they offer different content and courses. There is always a chance to find something suitable for one’s specific interests and even if the chosen option is not free, there might be discounts or there might be a limited offer to get the desired translation course free of charge. That is why it is essential to keep an eye on chosen options.

How to Use MOOCs Translation Course And Why Is It Beneficial?

As with any other online resource, one needs to register using real data since he or she is expected to obtain certification recognizable by various educational institutions and employers. Developers make the process of getting acquainted easier for users, for example, while registering on Coursera’s website you will have to choose the preferred subjects so that more personalized offers could be generated.

Platforms usually have a variety of filters to meet many possible criteria. Some of the most important filters that can be found on MOOCs are the following:

Topic. One particular sphere of interest may have multiple perspectives. For example, “app development” means not only the programming part but also presupposes the application of graphic design, writing texts, and, of course, localizing them for new markets’ needs. Even programming courses differ significantly depending on the required platform. That is why choosing not only a sphere but a specific narrowed topic is obligatory to find relevant content.

  • Availability. Courses usually have specific timeframes. They start at specific dates and last for a defined period of time. If the desired course is currently unavailable, it may be opened again in the future so that all that one needs to do is to schedule a reminder
  • Language. No surprise that the majority of courses are in English. Udemy, for instance, offers 10,000 courses in this language and only 200-600 courses in other languages such as French, Spanish, or Portuguese. However, the number of courses offered in various languages constantly increases, and the possibility to find needed content in the desired language exists.
  • Level. Professionals will not be interested in the content they already know and beginners would not be able to benefit from a course intended for experts’ attention. The learning process always goes from first steps to true mastery and online courses on MOOCs platforms reflect this rule.
  • Price. Courses can be paid and free, and it does not mean that the ones provided free of charge are worse. Indeed, there are more paid courses on each platform but hundreds of free ones are offered as well.
  • Subtitles. Whether your course is in English or any other language, it is very useful to have a written transcript of lectures so that you can refresh your memory should the need arise. The availability of subtitles also improves learner’s perception capabilities.
  • Rating. Since MOOCs exist for many years already, it could be a good idea to check other people’s thoughts and feedback. This way you can determine whether the chosen course will be useful or it is better to seek for something else. 

And one of the most important benefits that offer many courses, even the paid ones, is the possibility to obtain real knowledge free of charge. Some courses on Coursera, for example, grant open access to learning materials and content for free. One needs to pay to get access to quizzes and tests so that the certification process could be finished. You may do that, any idea to get official documents proving qualification remains to be decided on one’s own discretion but do you remember that many clients value real working experience and perfect outcomes more than any documents that prove specialist’s degree?

Once the knowledge is obtained, one can apply it to real tasks and improve performance. The visible result will be better proof of qualification than digital certification.

Potential Downsides to MOOCs

There are two major drawbacks to the realization of MOOCs. Even though these phenomena cannot be considered negative by all people, all prospective applicants must be aware of what is expected:

  • Personal dedication. Nobody is going to complete the course for you. There are no additional motivational factors, so completion of MOOC requires more self-discipline than attending college. The only reason one applies to a chosen MOOC is the desire to obtain new skills and knowledge. That is why only the enrolled person is responsible for the result. Given that many courses are available for free, many people may not consider them serious. Indeed, the traditional Master’s diploma obtained after five or six years of studies may look more impressive, but the knowledge that professors and various industries’ professionals provide in their courses is as good in this regard as the classes in the university.
  • Deadlines. If you decided to go with a paid option, you will need to stick to specific deadlines in many cases, which may not always be very convenient. Did we argue for MOOCs as opposed to full-time college studies based on time and accessibility factors, remember? And here is the same thing again, a person who has many family duties and work-related things to do may not feel comfortable with particular deadlines.

Choose Online Translation Courses

Fortunately, MOOCs platforms are constantly improving and developers try to eliminate as many known issues as possible. The number of courses in different languages growth, there are many translation courses that can be taken whenever you can work on them. That is why MOOCs may be treated as a sensible solution for translators who don’t want to waste years to study a particular degree if they can get required knowledge faster and start earning money thanks to the practical application of new skills. 

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