How Can I Get Certified as a Translator? 

The demand for skilled translators is growing as the world becomes increasingly interconnected. Whether for legal documentation, medical records, or global marketing campaigns, the need for accurate and reliable translation is ubiquitous. If you’re looking to elevate your career in translation, obtaining a certification could be a crucial step. Translation services often require proof of certification, especially if you’re looking to offer certified translation services online. This guide will walk you through the process of becoming a certified translator and the benefits it can bring to your professional life. 


How Can I Get Certified as a Translator?

ATA Certification: The American Translators Association (ATA) certification is one of the most recognized credentials for translators in the United States. It serves as a benchmark that clients and employers use to validate a translator’s proficiency and professional capabilities. 

Becoming an ATA-certified translator involves passing a rigorous certification exam that tests your language proficiency and translation skills in specific language pairs. The certification enhances your credibility and significantly increases your visibility in the industry. 

What is an ATA Certification? 

ATA certification is a formal recognition the American Translators Association provides to translators who have proven their professional competence in translating from one specific language into another. The certification is highly regarded worldwide and is often a requirement for many agencies and clients seeking to hire translators for essential projects.

Is ATA Certification Hard?

The ATA certification exam is known for its difficulty, so an ATA certification is highly respected within the industry. In fact, only about 20% of test takers pass the first time they take the certification exam. The exam assesses a translator’s ability to effectively translate their source language into their target language while maintaining nuances, tone, and intent. The ATA certification exam requires a deep understanding of both languages and cultures and the ability to translate various types of texts, including technical, medical, legal, and business documents. For interpreters, the ATA also offers certification exams in a variety of languages

Do I Need ATA Certification to be a Professional Translator?

While certification through the ATA can certainly provide you with a leg up in the translation or interpretation industries, you certainly don’t need one to be a professional translator. The American Translators Association only offers certification exams in a select number of languages, with each exam translating content to or from English. For translators who don’t specialize in English or the other languages available for examination, they won’t be able to take the ATA exam.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways language service providers can prove their experience without requiring ATA certification. University diplomas, recommendations and referrals from previous clients, and a robust portfolio can all help translators and interpreters prove their credibility without needing certification.

how to prove experience as a translator infographic 

Can I Do My Own Certified Translation?

While ATA certification is an excellent credential for translators who want to offer their services professionally, it does not necessarily qualify you to certify your own translations. Certified translations for official purposes, such as legal documentation or government submissions, often need to be accompanied by a certification statement that the translator signs to attest to the accuracy of the translation. While you can prepare these documents yourself if you are qualified, they typically need to be notarized or accompanied by professional credentials, especially for high-stakes or legally binding translations. In most cases, it is also frowned upon to complete certified translations by yourself, as most institutions require translators to act as an unbiased third-party during translation.


Want to Become a Certified Translator?

Becoming a certified translator is an excellent way to enhance your skills, credibility, and opportunities in the translation field. You can set yourself apart in the competitive translation services market with an ATA certification. Certification makes you more attractive to potential clients and opens the door to new career paths and specialized translation work that might otherwise be inaccessible. 

Are you ready to take your translation skills to the next level and gain the credentials to open new doors? Explore our Translation Services and learn more about how to get started with certified translation services online. Contact us today for guidance on beginning your journey toward becoming a certified translator and enhancing your professional offerings. 

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