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Top 10 Translator Certifications

This article provides an overview of the best certifications available to translators, including their requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are an important marker of a translator’s credentials and demonstrate to employers that a translator has the necessary skills, knowledge and qualifications to do the job. Certifications also show potential employers that a translator is up-to-date on the latest industry standards and technologies. In addition, certifications can provide a competitive edge in the job market by signaling to employers that a translator is committed to their profession and willing to invest in their own professional development. Finally, certifications can help build confidence with potential clients who may not have previous experience working with translators.

This article reviews some of the top certifications for Translators and explains how they can help advance a translator's career.

What are Translator Certifications?

Translator certification is a process of verifying the language skills and credentials of a translator. It is designed to ensure that a translator has the necessary qualifications, experience, and training to accurately and effectively translate documents from one language to another. Certification can be provided by professional organizations such as the American Translators Association (ATA) or government agencies such as the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI).

Certification can help translators in many ways. First, it provides assurance that they have met certain standards and qualifications set forth by an established organization or agency. This can give potential clients confidence when selecting a translator for their project. Additionally, certification can help translators gain recognition in their field, which can result in increased job opportunities. Finally, certification may also provide access to special benefits like discounts on software or continuing education courses.

Pro Tip: When seeking an official translator certification, make sure to research the requirements in your area and determine which certifications are accepted. Different countries and states have different regulations, so it is important to be aware of these requirements before applying for a certification.

Related: What does a Translator do?

Top 10 Translator Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Translators today.

1. Microsoft Certified Professional Translator (MCPT)

Microsoft Certified Professional Translator (MCPT) is a certification program for professional translators that demonstrates their expertise in the field. The MCPT certification is designed to recognize and validate the skills and knowledge of individuals who have achieved a high level of proficiency in translating documents from one language to another.

The MCPT certification requires that applicants pass two exams: an online exam and a written exam. The online exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as grammar, syntax, punctuation, and terminology. The written exam tests the applicant's ability to accurately translate documents from one language to another.

To get certified as an MCPT translator, you must first complete an application form and submit it to Microsoft. Once your application is approved, you will be given access to the online exam and study materials. You must then successfully pass both exams within six months of applying for the certification.

The cost of the MCPT certification varies depending on where you live and which version of Microsoft Office you are using. Generally speaking, it costs around $400 USD for all required materials and exams.

2. American Translators Association (ATA) Certification

The American Translators Association (ATA) Certification is a professional credential that recognizes the skills and knowledge of translators. It is an internationally recognized standard for translation quality, and it is awarded to translators who have proven their proficiency in a language pair.

To obtain ATA certification, applicants must pass a rigorous exam that assesses their ability to accurately translate from one language into another. The exam consists of two parts: a written test and an oral interview. The written portion includes multiple-choice questions about grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and other aspects of translation. The oral interview tests the applicant’s ability to accurately interpret spoken material from one language into another.

Applicants must submit an application form along with supporting documents such as transcripts or diplomas before they can take the exam. Once approved, applicants typically have six months to take the exam. The cost of the exam varies depending on the language pair being tested but generally ranges between $200-$400 USD.

Once certified by ATA, translators are required to maintain their credentials by participating in continuing education activities every three years and paying annual dues to remain in good standing with the organization.

3. Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) Diploma in Translation

The Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) Diploma in Translation is a professional qualification for translators. It is designed to equip translators with the skills and knowledge they need to work effectively as a professional translator. The ITI Diploma in Translation is a Level 5 qualification, which is equivalent to a higher education degree.

It takes an average of two years to complete the ITI Diploma in Translation, although this can vary depending on your individual circumstances. The course consists of four modules: Introduction to Translation, Theory and Practice of Translation, Professional Skills for Translators and Project Management for Translators. Each module requires approximately 150 hours of study time. You will also be required to submit two translation projects as part of the course assessment.

To get the ITI Diploma in Translation, you must first become an ITI member by completing an application form and paying the annual membership fee. Once you are a member, you can register for the diploma course online or by post. You will then be assigned a tutor who will guide you through the course material and provide feedback on your progress.

The cost of the ITI Diploma in Translation varies depending on whether you are studying part-time or full-time, but it typically ranges from £1,500 - £2,000 per year for part-time study or £3,000 - £4,000 per year for full-time study.

4. International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) Certification

The International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) is a professional organization that sets standards for conference interpreters worldwide. Its goal is to ensure the highest quality of interpretation services and promote best practices in the industry. AIIC certification is a way for interpreters to demonstrate their commitment to excellence and professionalism.

AIIC certification requires interpreters to pass an exam that tests their knowledge and skills in both simultaneous and consecutive interpreting. The exam consists of two parts: a written test and an oral test. The written test covers topics such as language proficiency, cultural awareness, and technical terminology. The oral test involves interpreting a text into another language without the aid of any notes or other materials.

In order to be eligible for AIIC certification, applicants must meet certain criteria, including having at least three years of professional experience as an interpreter, being able to interpret into at least two languages, and having completed at least 200 hours of training in conference interpreting techniques. Applicants must also submit references from three previous employers or clients who can vouch for their competence as an interpreter.

Once all the requirements have been met, applicants can register for the AIIC certification exam. This process typically takes around six months from start to finish. The cost of taking the exam varies depending on the country in which it is taken; however, it generally costs around €500-€600 (USD $600-700).

Once applicants have successfully passed the exam, they will receive their official AIIC certificate which will be valid for five years from the date it was issued. After this time period has elapsed, they will need to renew their certification by taking another exam or completing additional training courses in order to maintain their status as an AIIC-certified interpreter.

5. Cambridge English: Advanced Certificate in English for Translators

The Cambridge English: Advanced Certificate in English for Translators (CAE-T) is an internationally recognised qualification which certifies that a translator has the language skills necessary to perform professional translation work. It is designed to assess the ability of a translator to communicate effectively in both written and spoken English when translating from one language into another.

The CAE-T is available at two levels: Level 1 and Level 2. Level 1 is intended for translators with some experience, while Level 2 is designed for more experienced translators who are looking to demonstrate their advanced level of proficiency. The exam consists of four sections: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

The CAE-T usually takes around six months to complete, depending on how much time you can dedicate to studying and preparing for the exam. To get the certificate, you will need to pass all four sections of the exam with a score of at least 60%.

The cost of the CAE-T varies depending on where you take it, but generally ranges from £150 - £200 (GBP).

6. Global Translation Institute Professional Translator Certification

The Global Translation Institute Professional Translator Certification is a certification program designed to recognize the skills and expertise of professional translators. It is a comprehensive program that covers all aspects of translation, including language proficiency, cultural understanding, and technical knowledge. The certification is offered in over 30 languages and can be obtained through online courses or in-person workshops.

The certification process takes approximately two to three months to complete. During this time, applicants must complete a series of exams and assessments in order to demonstrate their proficiency in the target language. They must also submit a portfolio of their work for review by the Global Translation Institute’s panel of experts.

To get the certification, applicants must first register with the Global Translation Institute and pay the registration fee. After registering, they will then be able to access the course materials and exams needed for completion. Once all requirements are met, applicants will receive their certificate within two weeks of submitting their application.

The cost for the Global Translation Institute Professional Translator Certification varies depending on which language you choose to take it in. Generally speaking, it costs around $500 USD per language for online courses and $1,000 USD per language for in-person workshops.

7. International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA) Certification

The International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA) is a professional organization that provides certification for medical interpreters. The IMIA Certification is the only international certification program for medical interpreters and is recognized by many organizations, including the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC).

The IMIA Certification is designed to ensure that medical interpreters have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide high-quality interpretation services. It consists of two parts: a written exam and an oral performance assessment. The written exam covers topics such as medical terminology, cultural competency, ethical principles, and legal considerations related to healthcare interpreting. The oral performance assessment evaluates the interpreter’s ability to accurately interpret between English and their target language.

To become certified, applicants must pass both parts of the exam with a score of 80% or higher. The entire process typically takes between six months and one year to complete, depending on how quickly an individual can prepare for the exams.

The cost of IMIA Certification varies depending on which type of certification you are pursuing (e.g., generalist or specialist). Generally speaking, it costs $400-$500 for generalist certification and $600-$700 for specialist certification. This fee includes the cost of taking both exams as well as any applicable application fees.

8. National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) Certification

The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) Certification is a voluntary certification program that recognizes the professional qualifications of interpreters and translators in the legal field. It is designed to ensure that certified interpreters and translators possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to provide accurate, reliable, and impartial language services in court proceedings.

In order to obtain NAJIT certification, applicants must meet certain educational requirements, pass an oral proficiency exam in both their native language and English, pass a written test on interpreting principles and techniques, submit a resume demonstrating their experience as an interpreter or translator in the legal field, and complete an ethics course. The entire process typically takes between six months to one year to complete.

The cost of obtaining NAJIT certification varies depending on the type of certification sought. For example, for those seeking generalist certification (which covers all areas of interpreting), the cost is $400 plus any applicable taxes. Those seeking specialty certifications (such as medical interpreting or sign language interpreting) may incur additional costs due to additional exams or courses required for these certifications.

9. Institute of Linguists Diploma in Translation

The Institute of Linguists Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) is an internationally recognized qualification for professional translators. It is designed to assess the skills and knowledge of experienced translators who have achieved a high level of proficiency in their chosen language pair(s). The DipTrans is awarded by the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) and is widely accepted as a benchmark of professional translation standards.

The DipTrans consists of four modules: Language Knowledge, Text Types, Professional Practice and Translation. Candidates must demonstrate their ability to translate accurately and fluently between English and their chosen language pair(s). They must also demonstrate knowledge of the source language culture, as well as an understanding of professional translation practice.

In order to obtain the DipTrans, candidates must pass all four modules within a three-year period. Each module can be taken separately, with each one taking around three months to complete on average. However, it is possible to complete all four modules in less than three years if desired.

Candidates can apply for the DipTrans directly through CIOL or through one of its approved providers. The cost varies depending on which provider you choose; however, it typically ranges from £1,000 - £2,500 for all four modules combined.

10. International Federation of Translators (FIT) Certified Translator

The International Federation of Translators (FIT) Certified Translator is a certification program for professional translators. The certification provides recognition to qualified translators and interpreters who have demonstrated their mastery of the profession's standards, practices, and ethics. It is the only international certification program for translators and interpreters that is recognized by the United Nations, European Union, and other international organizations.

To become an FIT Certified Translator, an individual must pass a rigorous assessment process that includes a written exam as well as oral exams in translation and interpreting. The assessment process takes approximately two months to complete.

To be eligible for the FIT Certified Translator program, an individual must have at least five years of experience as a professional translator or interpreter; must possess native-level fluency in both source and target languages; must demonstrate knowledge of relevant terminology; and must provide three letters of recommendation from past employers or clients.

The cost to apply for the FIT Certified Translator program varies depending on the country in which you are applying. Generally speaking, it costs around $400 USD to apply for the program.

Do You Really Need a Translator Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual and their specific goals. For those who wish to pursue a career in translation, having a translator certificate is almost always recommended. A certificate demonstrates your dedication to the field and will give you an edge when applying for jobs. Additionally, many employers require some kind of certification or proof of training before they will consider hiring a translator.

For those who don't intend to make translation their full-time job, a certificate may not be necessary. However, it can still be beneficial for freelance translators or those who want to hone their skills for personal projects. Taking courses or obtaining a certificate can help you sharpen your language abilities and become more familiar with the nuances of translating from one language to another. In addition, having a formal education in translation may open up opportunities that wouldn't otherwise be available.

In short, if you are serious about pursuing a career in translation, then obtaining a translator certificate is likely the best option for you. It will demonstrate your commitment to the field and provide employers with evidence that you have taken steps to improve your skills. On the other hand, if you are only interested in working as a translator on an occasional basis, then taking classes or obtaining certification might not be necessary. Ultimately, it's up to each individual to decide what route is best suited for them and their goals.

Related: Translator Resume Examples

FAQs About Translator Certifications

1. What is a translator certification?

Answer: Translator certification is a formal process that recognizes an individual’s ability to accurately translate between two or more languages. It is issued by organizations such as the American Translators Association (ATA) and requires passing an exam in order to demonstrate proficiency.

2. How do I become certified as a translator?

Answer: To become certified as a translator, you will need to take an exam administered by an accredited organization such as the ATA. You will also need to meet certain educational and experience requirements.

3. Are there any prerequisites for taking the translator certification exam?

Answer: Yes, there are prerequisites for taking the translator certification exam depending on which organization you are taking it through. Generally, you must have at least two years of professional translation experience or be enrolled in a translation program at a college or university in order to qualify for the exam.

4. What is tested on the translator certification exam?

Answer: The translator certification exam tests your knowledge of both source and target language grammar, syntax and vocabulary, as well as your ability to accurately translate from one language into another with no loss of meaning or context. In addition, you may be tested on topics such as cultural awareness and terminology management.

5. Is it necessary to renew my translator certification?

Answer: Yes, most organizations require that you renew your certification every three years in order to maintain its validity. This can involve retaking the original test or submitting proof of continuing education credits related to translation studies or practice during this period of time.