Updated: Mar 30
Today, I’ve learned that I’ve passed the English into Spanish certification exam by the American Translators Association.
Founded in 1959, the American Translators Association (ATA) is the voice of interpreters and translators in the United States of America. This professional association has nearly 11,000 members in more than 95 countries. ATA’s chief goals include fostering and supporting the professional development of translators and interpreters and promoting the translation and interpretation professions.
A passion for communication and foreign languages led me to pursue professional translation. My career began in 2004 when I started working for Deutsche Bank. Since then, I’ve been working for more than fourteen years on translating contracts and reports, documents and certificates, manuals, fiction, marketing campaigns, software, and websites.
Although I founded BPM Traducciones in 2011, I had only been able to pursue freelance translation part-time until I moved to the USA in 2016. That was because I held salaried jobs that occupied most of my time. Fortunately, most of my responsibilities included communicating with clients in several languages, which would lead at times to translating and editing data.
But after seven years working at Banco Sabadell, I was feeling stuck in a monotonous job. I wasn’t learning anything new, and promotions were not happening. Most importantly, I realized that I wasn’t in charge of my professional career. I couldn’t rely anymore on an employer that didn’t care about me. I had placed my hopes and dreams in the wrong place.
'I am thankful to all those who said no to me. It’s because of them I did it myself.' – Albert Einstein
Life brought me from Barcelona to Chicago last year. I decided that it would be my chance to commit myself to a full-time career as a freelance translator. After all, I had already decided at age 14 that I’d study to become a translator. Finally, I had understood that fear was preventing me from trying. Endless possibilities were awaiting. I could choose clients myself: a new country, a new approach!
We’re always told that whenever we want different results, we can’t continue doing things as we did before. Change is not easy. It takes time and courage to get out of the comfort zone. It may hurt at first. Fear can be a powerful tool, especially when used by a bad manager at work. It’s also comfortable to rely on a stable, effortless job that pays the bills every month.
Some people think that one can’t like his/her job. While I believe that making ends meet is crucial, happiness must always come first. We only have one life, and we’re meant to make the best out of it. I certainly don’t want to be one of those that reach retirement age and realize that they have spent most of their lives complaining about work. My father—of blessed memory—was one of them.
After I quit the bank to focus on my freelance career, I began preparing for my move to America. Since I was going to start anew, I chose self-employment to increase my income and enjoy work.
Before I began seeking new clients to work with, I chose to become a member of the ATA. Among other benefits, it allowed me to take the exam to become a certified translator. The ATA certification is one of the industry’s most respected and recognized credentials. It seeks to elevate professional standards, enhance individual performance, and identify translators who possess the knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality translation.
To earn the ATA certification, the translator must pass a challenging three-hour exam, which comprises three text passages (two out of the three passages must be translated). The test assesses the language skills of a professional translator: comprehension of the source-language text, translation techniques, and writing in the target language. The current overall pass rate is below 20%.
I took the test for the first time in the summer of 2016, right after I arrived in Chicago. The exam wasn’t difficult at all. Unfortunately, it had to be handwritten. This meant that one could only rely on paper dictionaries and glossaries. I didn’t pass, but I learned how to do it well the next time. A year later, I was ready for a retake. This time, the exam was computerized. I brought my laptop and used approved electronic resources. The second time around, I passed!
In the meantime, I got my licentiate degree (which is the equivalent of an M.A.) recognized by the American University System. I had earned this degree in Translation and Interpretation from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) in 2010. I majored in Translation from English into Catalan and Spanish and minored in Linguistic and Cultural Studies in French, German, and Russian.
Since relocating to America, I’ve been happily working as a translator and editor. I mostly do work from English into Spanish and from Catalan into Spanish. At times, I’ve taken assignments work from Spanish into English as well.
My clientele now includes companies like Nike, Dell, GoPro, Intel, Google, American Jewish University, Deluxe, and SDL. You can trust my expertise to contribute to your development. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
UPDATE: Some weeks later, the ATA Chronicle included me in their November/December 2017 issue.