The educational path of a translator


guest post by Denise

3min readtime

The educational path of a translator

Many people do not know that translators do not only translate texts from one language into another. The profession of a translator is much more diverse than one might imagine.

How diverse is the job of a translator?

In this blog post, we first begin to shed light on a typical study of a translator.

During their studies, students learn about different areas where a translator is needed. As a student in the 4th semester at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences for Applied Languages, majoring in Multimodal Communication, I am currently learning about this diversity.

But what does such a course of study look like?


In the beginning, there are entrance exams. Before enrolling, you must decide which three languages you want to take and at what level. I chose Italian as my basic language, German as my first foreign language, and English as my second foreign language.

The first year is the assessment year. Here you are taught the basics of the languages.
You learn the grammar of the basic language as well as the first foreign language in more depth.
In the subject Text Production different types of texts are written.
In the subject Applied Linguistics the students are taught the science of language and many more subjects.
In addition, students are introduced to the subjects of marketing, business administration, and technology.

The assessment year must be passed to continue with the core studies. From the second year, students choose a specialization. The choices are Multimodal Communication, Multilingual Communication and Technical Communication and Information Design.

If like me, you want to concentrate on translation, you choose the Multimodal Communication specialization. In this specialization, you learn how texts are translated and what you need to pay attention to in order to write a good translation.
In addition, the students learn about the different professions and certain professions are deepened and practiced with exercises.

The 5th semester can still be completed at the ZHAW, but these semester students are advised to spend a semester abroad or to find an internship where they can gain practical experience.

The 6th and final semester is dedicated to the Bachelor's thesis.

In the coming blog entries, I will introduce one of these mentioned professions at a time.

About me

My name is Denise. I was born in 1995 in Winterthur, Switzerland. My parents migrated to Switzerland from Sicily 40 years ago.

Up to and at the age of 6 I only spoke Italian. When I started school, I began to speak German and thus grew up bilingual.

Languages have fascinated me from a very young age. This was the reason why I decided to start studying to become a translator one day.


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