Do you really need to pass an examination to become a translator/interpreter?

It is not a universally acknowledged truth (if it is even a truth, to begin with) that translators and interpreters should have some sort of certification to be able to practice the profession of translation or interpretation.

Even within the communities of translators and interpreters, there are many arguments against the importance of translators’ certification.

The holders of these arguments question the fact that translation can be taught in the first place, adding that translators are born not made. They argue that translators’ experience and work samples can be sufficient evidence of their proficiency.

Translation Certification Tests in the USA

If you want to work as translator or interpreter in the United States of America, you will not be prevented from doing so by official requirements stated by a governmental department or agency, with the prevention being based on the lack of a certification or qualification.

However, if you search for tests and examinations that can test your competency to be a translator or an interpreter, you will find many examinations by the taking and passing of which you can demonstrate that you are a proficient translator/interpreter.

Still, there are translators who want to get certified in order to increase their competitiveness in the marketplace, and those can find many translation certification tests in the USA.

One of these examinations is the well-known test offered by the American Translators Association.

But before a translator can be able to sit for such exam, he/she should be a member of this association.

Other requirements for this test include some level of education and work experience.

Moreover, after passing such exam, the translator must continue learning about translation through programs offered by the association, and pay certain fees to keep his translation competency record current and updated.

On the international level, you can consider the United Nations certification for translators one of the sought-after certification available worldwide for many languages.

In addition to the above translation competency tests, the U.S. Department of State offers three tests for which interpreters can apply to prove their competency.

Each of these tests is allocated to a certain type of interpreting. The three certification tests are related to consecutive interpreting, simultaneous interpreting, and conference interpreting.

In addition to these three tests, the U.S. Department offers tests for translators.

Some of other organizations and authorities in the USA that have translation certification tests:

  • The International Association of Conference Interpreters
  • The Federal Courts
  • The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators.

Despite that there are no official requirements stating that those who want to practice translation and interpreting must get certification and qualification, there are many authorities and organizations, which now offer translators and interpreters some examinations so, they can prove their professional efficiency.

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