Today, I wrote a blog post for the Colorado Translators Association about the merits of getting a graduate degree in translation. It’s a topic I have thought about a lot in the past year, and unfortunately, even after writing that article for CTA, I am no closer to a decision one way or another. I currently have a BA in Journalism, a Certificate in German to English Translation, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications (for which I attended grad school for a year), which I believe give me a good foundation for my work as a marketing and PR translator. The question is, will my business benefit from a master’s degree in translation?
I have experienced the amount of work required during grad school, which, to be honest, was completely doable in my opinion (but then again, I am used to the demands of the German education system). Lack of time and even loss of income are of no particular concern in my decision making process. Even the expense of going to grad school isn’t a deterrent per se. I do wonder, however, if the ROI would be worth the effort.
A few months ago, I thought I had found the perfect solution to my dilemma. While looking into online graduate programs in translation, I came across a private German university that offers a long-distance program for the qualification of a Diplom-Wirtschaftsuebersetzer, which is comparable to an MA in translation. The total cost, while steep for German standards, would have been much lower than a graduate program in the United States. As long as I can do this on the side on my computer without paying outrageous amounts of tuition, I thought, I’ll give it a go. Unfortunately, the program wasn’t entirely long distance and included several days a year during which attendance at special lectures was required. Since I live in the US and the university is located in Germany, this was a deal-breaker.
So now I am back to looking into my options for further increasing my professional credibility. I haven’t given up on the idea of getting a master’s degree yet, even though it is not one of my priorities at this point. For now, I will focus on getting my ATA certification and then decide if there is anything more to gain by going back to school. I realize that education is never a waste of time or money, but at least in my case, I haven’t quite decided whether the benefits outweigh the sacrifices I would have to make.