I get quite a few emails from people who are considering getting a PhD in translation but want some sort of confirmation that it’s a good idea. While I obviously can’t offer that, because decisions about what to do with one’s life are extremely personal and context-dependent, I can say some of the reasons why you might want to get a PhD in translation. These include, but are not limited to:
--You want to go into academia. In most cases, you will need a PhD to get an academic job.
--You have a passion for a particular subject and want to explore it in depth. This is what a PhD is about.
--You want a qualification that will help you stand out from other translators. I know a number of translators with PhDs and they certainly say that in a glutted market, any extra qualifications or skills can help you get work instead of someone else.
--You want a qualification that will help you stand out from other writers. Some people get a PhD because they then want to write “the” book on a particular subject. Many PhDs do lead on to books based on the thesis/dissertation and having another qualification will help ensure a publisher that you are the right expert for the book.
--You love learning and would thrive in an academic environment for a number of years. Some people really enjoy attending classes, seminars, and workshops, spending time in the library, debating and discussing ideas with others, and so on. If that’s you, then getting another degree might very well suit you.
Obviously, many of these ideas are applicable to areas other than translation!
In the next two posts, I’ll write some more about getting a PhD in translation.