4 Best Free Online Translation Courses

After hours watching course videos, taking quizzes, working on assignments, reading reviews from various aggregators and forums, I’ve narrowed down the best translator courses available to the list below. The selection is based on:

  • good combination of theory and application;
  • hands-on assignments and projects;
  • instructors engagement;
  • excellent ratings – generally, greater than or equal to 4.5/5.

1. Working with Translation: Theory and Practice (Cardiff University, UK)

Drawing on the research and expertise of specialists at Cardiff University and the University of Namibia, on this course, you will discover a wealth of practical tips and knowledge about the nature of translation in an increasingly multilingual world.

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to…

  • Explore the variety of definitions of translation and their implications, as well as common misconceptions
  • Collaborate with other learners to share examples of translation and interpreting drawn from daily life, and put them into context
  • Describe the diverse roles of translators, interpreters and localisers
  • Reflect on the spaces in which translation takes place and their bearing on practice
  • Design a commission or briefing for a translator/interpreter, ensuring that all the necessary components are in place
  • Evaluate differing conceptions of “quality” in translation

Course details

  • Institution: Cardiff University, UK
  • Level: Beginner
  • Duration: 4 weeks, self-paced
  • Provider: FutureLearn

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2. Google’s localization essentials course

For translation students and freelance translators, it’s a great opportunity to get specialized knowledge and skills in a still lesser-known field that is becoming increasingly important. Taught by industry professionals, this translator course will enrich your resume, open up new business opportunities and it will allow you to change or expand your field of specialization.

Already thousands of students around the world have taken the course since its launch and the following universities are using it in their curricula to teach students about Localization: University of Bologna, University of Trieste, University of Strasbourg (TCLoc and CAWEB Master Programmes), Suleyman Demirel University of Almaty.

Course details

  • Institution: Google
  • Level: Beginner
  • Duration: 2 weeks, self-paced
  • Provider: Udacity

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3. OpenLearn’s Translation as a career course

During this free online translator course you will meet professional translators discussing their work and reflect on what they say. You will assess your own language level and find out how translators maintain their language skills. You will also engage in a short translation activity.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the skills required to become a professional translator and what is meant by translation competence
  • have an awareness of what it means to be a professional translator
  • undertake an independent research activity
  • evaluate personal language skills
  • undertake a translation activity.

Course details

  • Institution: OpenLearn
  • Level: Advanced
  • Duration: 4 hours, self-paced
  • Provider: OpenLearn
  • Bonus: Free certificate of completion

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4. Introduction to internationalization and localization (University of Washington)

The first MOOC to teach internationalization and localization end to end. Learn how a digital product needs to be designed to be world-ready and how it is getting adapted to the needs of all its international target markets. This introductory course covers all the basics.

In this introduction to internationalization and localization you will learn

  • Why it makes sense to release an app or a site outside of its original market in the first place
  • What markets to cover first, for example those that have specific legal requirements around availability of a particular language
  • The different types of international releases and their specific challenges
  • The different localization methods
  • Localization sourcing models, including outsourcing to so-called language service providers
  • How to work successfully in the very international localization industry

Course details

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