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How To Become A Certified Translator?

How To Become A Certified Translator?
How to Get Certified as a Translator
(Last Updated On: October 26, 2020)

If you have an interest in languages, want to choose translation as a profession or you are already studying a foreign language at your university, chances are, you have one crazy question floating in your thoughts, “How to become a certified interpreter or translator?”

What is a Certified Language Expert?

Well, we don’t blame you if you wanted to know that because becoming a certified linguistic expert means you have more of that authenticity to your title. Usually, the licensing authority for translators has different rules in every country. Mostly you have to get a degree in one or two languages from a recognized university, then you take written and oral proficiency exams conducted for professional translators, and then you are granted the certificate itself. In the US, however, there are two certain ways to become a certified language expert, commercial, and educational.

What Is ATA Certification

What Is the ATA Certification?

ATA certification is like a huge plus in the professional translation industry, not only in the US but also on an international scale. It is the most prestigious and accredited organization for translators. The ATA Certification program was established to help the translators enhance their professional skills, performance, and career advancement in general.

How To Get ATA Certification?

The ATA has certification exams for the translators. It is a meticulous and critical exam of three hours. In the exam, the translators’ skills are judged on the basis of their knowledge of the base text language, translation techniques, and the writing structure in the target language. The exam isn’t easy and ATA certification is only granted after succeeding in the exams. It is important that only native speakers should apply for positions like medical interpreters. After submitting your application for certification, you will get the testing schedule so you can prepare for the exam accordingly.

How to Become a Certified Language Expert?

Certified language experts handle written and spoken information in courts, hospitals, institutions and colleges, and businesses. For some jobs, certification is not 100% needed, but proving your professional competency can unlock doors to career promotion and a higher salary. The United States has no general translation certification form, and so each field of work has its certifying standards and qualification requirements.

Whether you want to continue a general certification or a specialist judicial or medical one, you’ll need to match their education and knowledge requirements and pass an examination. For the best possibility of success, choose the accrediting organization which is the best fit for your position, skills, and professional development goals. And once you have chosen the right institute for the current certification, you must read the complete instructions before applying for your license.

To become a certified expert, you have to pass various tests, which vary in number, modality, and difficulty, depending on the level for which you want to become certified. Before seeking to become a certified linguistic expert, you need to become an associate translator, which you can do by passing the associated examination. After you get this power, you have six years in which you can move your certification method. If you miss passing this process, you lose your associate state. And if you pass the certification, you are qualified to become a certified language specialist.

how to become accredited for translation

Becoming Certified by the American Translators Association (ATA)

1. Review the languages on offer: The American Translators Association offers generalized certification applications for translators and is generally accepted, both nationally and globally. You can get a certification for translating into the English language and for translating from English into your target language.

Certification is open for translating into English from Arabic, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, Japanese, Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

Certification is also possible in translating from English into French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, Finnish, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Ukrainian.

2. Check that you match their preceding conditions: The ATA has strict eligibility conditions which must be satisfied. The ATA website describes the system and requirements in more detail, but there are two core rules which must be met before starting your application.

You must be a member of the ATA to apply for the certification exam. You must give a reading knowledge test in both your target and source languages from the ACTFL.

steps in order to get accredited

3. Guidelines for accreditation

Qualification requirements for becoming certified by the ATA are a mixture of education, knowledge, and imposed proficiency. To be qualified to implement you must adhere to one of the following guidelines:

To be certified by the Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs.

To hold a bachelor’s qualification from an accredited translation and interpretation institute which is on the recommended list of the ATA Education and Pedagogy Committee.

To hold a graduate degree and two years of proven work practice as a translator.

To have at least five years of verified work experience as a translator.

4. Take the Test: This is a three-hour test that will include: understanding of the source-language, translation methods, and writing in your target language. You will be ranked on your syntax and selection of words as well as the complete nature and correctness of your translation.

To give yourself the best probability of victory on the ATA test, make sure you have nailed the level of at least ‘Advanced-Low’ on the ACTFL order before trying the ATA certification exam.

Take benefit of the practice quizzes which are accessible from the ATA website.

Applicants are presented with three paragraphs. Paragraph A might be a journal article, an essay, a non-fiction novel. Paragraph B may be technical, logical, or medical in content. Paragraph C may be an economic, business, or legal document. Applicants must translate two written paragraphs. A is mandatory, and applicants can pick either B or C.

5. Use your certified status to proceed with your career: Once you obtain your certification, you will also gain an ATA-certified translator seal, and professional services registering in the ATA Directory of Translation and Interpreting Services. This will make you market yourself to organizations as a professional translator who is certified to business standards.

Benefits Of ATA Certification

The ATA certification is like the emblem of proficiency and accomplishment of the translator. It lets them stand out from the crowd and get better and comprehensive jobs in the translation industry. They also get paid better for their work. It also opens doors of opportunities for translators in different sectors of life.

Are There Translation Companies That Are ATA Certified?

Apart from translators, ATA also provides ATA membership for translation companies. These translation companies pay the fees, provide proof of their expertise including all the other relevant and required information, and subsequently acquire the ATA membership.

Translators who are not certified but have exceptional language skills and qualifications and want to pursue their careers as translators can work for such companies.

Benefits Of ATA Certification

Getting certified is not easy

Becoming a certified interpreter or translator through educational institutions is basically almost the same in the US as in other parts of the world. You have to enroll in a language-based program, pay fees, take special exams, and get certified. You will also have to give an oral exam if you want to become a certified interpreter. Commercially though, the most renowned and largely acknowledged institution is the American Translation Association or ATA.

The ATA seal will document your approved certification number which you can apply to your documents. Once your name is registered on the ATA Directory of Translators and Interpreters any person or company looking for a professional translator will be able to locate you and see your contact details.

An ATA member translation company is highly in demand for language solutions. Such a company provides certified translations for all different documents required by different institutions, including for immigration to the US.

Check out more resources for translators below:

  • How do I become a certified translator?

    If you are in the US, you can become certified by taking the exam offered by ATA. But before you can register for the exam, you will have to become a member of the ATA. Once you clear the exam, you will get a seal from ATA with your language combination as proof that you are a certified language expert now.

  • Do you need a certification to be a translator?

    You don’t need a certification to be a professional translator. You just need the right qualification and experience. You must be fluent in both your mother tongue and one foreign language. You should also be aware of the cultural aspects related to both these languages. However, you will need a certification to become one of the certified linguistic experts.

  • How do you know if a translator is certified?

    If a translator is certified, that means they have taken the exam offered by the American Translators Association and cleared it. They will have a seal from the ATA with their language combination as proof of their certification. You can ask to see their seal to be certain that they are certified.

  • What is certified translation?

    A certified translation is the type of language service people need for official purposes. It comes with a signed statement of the translator, which is also known as the certificate of accuracy. The statement adds to the validity of the translation and makes it acceptable in the eyes of the authorities.

  • How do I become a certified Spanish translator?

    American Translators Association offers the current certification exam in multiple language combinations. You can become a Spanish to English or English to Spanish certified language expert by taking and clearing the exam offered by ATA. You will get a seal as proof that you have cleared the exam and are a certified professional now.

  • How do I become a certified translator in Ireland?

    The Irish Translators and Interpreters Association, commonly known as ITIA, is the organization in Ireland that conducts certification exams. You won’t have to wonder how to become a certified translator if you are a language expert in Ireland. You can learn about the requirements on the website of ITIA, the licensing authority in Ireland. Interpreters will have to take the oral proficiency exams while the translators will have to take written tests.

    It is the duty of government agencies in various countries to receive the application for certification exams and test the skills of linguistic experts. Medical interpreters also have to give an oral proficiency exam to prove that they are qualified for the job. The licensing authority will be different for medical interpreters and those who want to work in legal interpretation.

  • How do I get a translator certificate online?

    There are a lot of companies that are offering online certifications these days, but it is best to avoid spending your money on them when you have better options available like ATA. However, you can get a translation degree online by joining the online program of a well-known university or college.

  • How do I become a certified interpreter?

    A qualified interpreter cannot work in a special field if they don’t have the right certification. It all depends on the field you want to join. If you are a native speaker of the English language then you can also take an English proficiency examination. After that, you might not even need to take an oral proficiency exam. There are different licensing authorities for certified interpreters and translators, and they all have different criteria. Some conduct oral exams to test the skills of linguistic experts. People can also get training in every field. For instance, medical interpreter training will teach linguistic experts on how to deal with different situations. But before you can take the oral exam or get the current certification, you must get your school diploma.

  • How do I prepare for a translation exam?

    In order to prepare for a translation, you should:

    • Work on your vocabulary in both of the languages you are fluent in
    • Practice regularly by translating newspapers and web articles
    • Practice your writing because it is just as important in translation
    • Familiarize yourself with the cultural values associated with the languages you know

If we can help you with any questions, please feel free to contact us


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