Seven Ways to Get Certified as a Translator

A woman celebrating being certified as a translator.

Written by Gwenydd Jones

Spanish-to-English translator and translator trainer

Getting certified as a translator is one of the best ways to attract better clients and higher rates. This post outlines seven possibilities for getting certified or qualified as a translator.

Translation isn’t a regulated profession. This means anyone can be a translator without any type of qualification. However, if you want to be a serious professional, learning how to translate and getting certified is fundamental. You’ll find a list of options below.

1. University qualifications

This would be either an undergraduate or master’s degree in translation

Advantages: comprehensive learning, prestige.

Disadvantages: cost, time and entry requirements.

Further reading: “Is It Worth It for You To Do an MA in Translation Studies?“. 

2. CIOL Level 7 Diploma in Translation (CIOL DipTrans) qualification

OFQUAL-regulated, postgraduate diploma awarded by the Chartered Institute of Linguists (UK) and obtained through three exams taken over the course of a day.

Advantages: gold-standard translation qualification, faster and cheaper to get than a degree, exams available worldwide, no previous qualifications required.

Disadvantages: high fail rate, you need to do a preparation course, you have to become an affiliate member to enter, exams take place once a year.

Further reading: “DipTrans: the Real Costs and Returns“; “A Perplexed Translator’s Guide to the MA in Translation Studies and DipTrans“.

3. Governmental certification

Translators wishing to work in official capacities can register with the government. The process will depend on your country of residence. Exams will likely be involved.

Advantages: status, opens doors to certain types of work that only official translators are allowed to do.

Disadvantages: laborious process, previous training and qualifications will probably be needed.

4. Entry exams for the EU, UN and other large organisations

Not exactly certification, but large organisations like the EU and UN require their translators to pass internal entry exams. This would strengthen any CV.

Advantages: gain entry to secure, well-paid jobs.

Disadvantages: you’ll probably need a relevant graduate or postgraduate qualification to be able to sit the exams, two source languages often required.

Get better clients and command higher rates by getting certified as a #translator. This post gives you seven options. By @Gwenydd_Jones #t9n #xl8 Click To Tweet

5. Certification exams offered by translators’ associations

Some translators’ associations offer their own certification exams. These include: the ATA (USA), the ITI (UK) and the CTTIC (Canada).

Advantages: well respected, cheaper and easier to get than degrees and postgraduate diplomas, regular exams, previous qualifications not typically required.

Disadvantages: viewed as the minimum qualification for a professional translator, previous training and experience may be needed, you’ll probably have to become a member to sit the exams.

6. Membership of translators’ associations

Translators’ associations offer different levels of membership. The level you obtain will depend on your existing qualifications and experience.

Advantages: accreditation solution for unqualified translators (“junior” member option), status, membership benefits.

Disadvantages: not a qualification, yearly membership fee.

7. Certification from independent training operators

Various independent training operators (like The Translator’s Studio) offer translator training programs and issue their own certificates.

Advantages: wide range of options, low-cost alternative to university, can be used to prepare for the DipTrans or a translators’ association exam.

Disadvantages: fewer guarantees of teaching quality (you have to check the operator out), unofficial certification.

The Translator’s Studio offers top-end translator training programs for aspiring and working Spanish-to-English translators. We specialise in DipTrans exam preparation. Check out our courses.

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