The American Translators Association (ATA) operates a certification program which allows translators the opportunity to show that they can meet specific standards laid down in the translation profession. Once an ATA certified translator passes the exam he or she is certified by the ATA in a language pair and the direction i.e. into or from English. Certificates are available at this time in the following language pairs:
Into the English language from:
From the English language into:
The ATA’s document called the “Intro to the ATA Certificate Exams” describes:
· what is tested in the examination;
· what the exam consists of;
· the ways the exam is evaluated.
Procedure for the ATA exam
Copies of the exam script, which only uses a code to identify the exam candidate, are dispatched to 2 graders. Each grader marks errors using a scale of 1, 2, 4, 8, or 16 errors. A passage which is marked with 18 as its final score is considered to be a Fail. Candidates who are assigned a Pass mark on both the two passages from each of the graders will be awarded an ATA certified translator certificate. In situations where the 2 graders fail to agree, a 3rd grader is appointed to assign a grade to the passages which are disputed. Any candidates who find they have failed the exam may file an application for an exam review.
Preparation for the ATA exam
This ATA certified translator certification examination is no doubt quite challenging, attracting a pass rate of less than 20%. In preparation for the examination all candidates should sit a practice test first of all. Translating a passage that might typically be found in an ATA exam and studying the grader’s feedback has proven to be helpful preparing for the exam.
Who’s suitable to sit the ATA examination for ATA certified translator status?
An ATA certificate is considered to be a credential for those in the middle of their careers and who are already professional, experienced interpreters or translators.
How to submit an application to take the ATA exam
This all takes place through the ATA Headquarters. A $300 fee needs to be paid which includes all admin and grading costs. You may register to take the exam when you apply for ATA membership. The ATA Headquarters must receive your payment along with a completed registration document no less than 2 weeks prior to the administration of the exam. If you apply after the two week deadline and there are still places on your chosen exam date you are required to pay a late fee which means in total you will pay $345.
Benefits of becoming an ATA certified translator
This certification provides independent evidence that you the translator is professionally competent in a named language combination. It also offers peace of mind to the client that the right translator has been chosen.
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