Search
  • Antoni C. Maroto

Are Translation Certification Exams Redundant?

Could translation certification exams be redundant if you already have a degree in Translation and proven professional experience?


In the United States, college graduates may be required to take certification or licensure exams to be able to practice professionally.


In many cases, such as law and medicine, working without a license or certification may carry civil or criminal penalties.


TRANSLATORS DON'T NEED TO BE CERTIFIED/LICENSED


That's not the case for translators. Translation is indeed one of the most loosely regulated professions.


Anybody claiming to know two or more languages can attempt to translate. Fortunately, many clients require translators to meet some minimums.


It's generally agreed that translators must have a combination of the following:


Education

Experience

References


Just like you expect an accountant to have credentials, the same goes for translators!


Voluntary certifications, such as the ATA Certification, may add value to a translator's credentials.


THE ATA CERTIFICATION


The ATA Certification is the only widely accepted measure of competence for translation in the US.


It recognizes translators with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality translation services.


That doesn't mean that non-certified translators are bad. There are many excellent, well-established professionals out there who are not certified.


The ATA Certification is a voluntary mid-career credential for experienced translators.


MY EXPERIENCE


When I became certified in 2017, I had already been working as a translator for 15+ years. Still, I decided to take the challenging exam to set myself apart from other English-Spanish translators.


Becoming an ATA-certified translator opened more doors for me. It allowed me to raise my rates. It has also prevented me from taking translation tests "to prove myself."


That's why I don't think translation certification exams are redundant. In my experience, it was worth it.


In addition, the ATA Certification is not just a one-time test. It requires translators to maintain that credential with ongoing continuing education.


CHECK: Antoni's Continuing Professional Development


What's your take on this controversial subject?


Let me know in the comments below!