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Thread poster: Lizette Britz
Chartered Institute of Linguists or American Translators Association

Lizette Britz  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:35
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
Oct 19, 2009

I am planning to take the CIoL exam and become a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists as a way to get better paying jobs. But since most of my clients are in the US, I am wondering if I should join the American Translators Association although I would not apply for the certification since I am in Spain. Is the Chartered Institute of Linguists like the American Translators Association?

Thanks!

Lizette

[Editado a las 2009-10-19 14:14 GMT]


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Daniel Šebesta  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 13:35
Member (2007)
English to Czech
+ ...
Two thoughts Oct 19, 2009

Hi Lizette,

I just wanted to share two thoughts:

1. Don't expect to see your average rates rise dramatically as a result of joining the ATA. (I can't tell about the CIoL.) You will gain access to valuable information and networking, you will be listed in a relatively widely used directory but just the fact that you are an ATA member will probably not get you higher rates. I am claiming this based on my own experience. I've been an ATA member since 2006. ATA certification is not available in my language pair.

2. Now and then, the ATA has exam sessions outside the US too, including Europe. It may not be Spain but the Netherlands or Germany. Watch this page: https://www.atanet.org/certification/upcoming_exam_sittings.php

Daniel


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shfranke  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:35
English to Arabic
+ ...
Agree with Daniel's good comment about the ROI on ATA certification Oct 19, 2009

Greetings.

I reinforce and agree with Daniel's good comment about the dubious benefit of ATA certification in terms of a corollary return on investment (ROI) about your receiving more or better-paying translation jobs.

Conversely, may I suggest that you be wary of a translation firm which asks if you have ATA certification before the firm will consider you for engagement on a translation project, because there is NO correlation between a translator's proven ability and acquiring a "certification" via the translator's passing a "stand alone" series of examinations administered by the ATA. Such a request suggests an unsubstantiated "mental comfort zone" in the person representing the requesting agency, but overlooks that fact that such "certification" has **no** predictability or guarantee of the translator's competence. While passing the ATA test means that a translator is thereby certified to meet the ATA's criteria and purposes, that "certification" would not, and does not, intrinsically convey a significance or relevance to establish that the certified translator correspondingly meets the purposes of the global language services industry.

Rather than bedevil the ATA aspect of certification, you might well find that certification by a local chamber of commerce, judicial court system, administrative/immigration court, or state-level authority would be more beneficial to you as you grow your business practice and presence in the language services industry.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

Stephen H. Franke
San Pedro, California




[Edited at 2009-10-19 18:20 GMT]


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Lizette Britz  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:35
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
As a way to stand out from the rest Oct 19, 2009

Daniel and Stephen,

Thank you for your comments. I considered joining ATA as a way to stand out in the crowd and as a way of attracting more clients since I could have access to more information regarding my profession. I see the certification more as a way to polish my skills as a translator while I prepare for the test. I am conscious that in the long run the best thing is to get an official certification from a state agency.

Lizette


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makalani26
United States
Local time: 06:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
100% right! Oct 19, 2009


Stephen Franke wrote:

Greetings.

I reinforce and agree with Daniel's good comment about the dubious benefit of ATA certification in terms of a corollary return on investment (ROI) about your receiving more or better-paying translation jobs.

Conversely, may I suggest that you be wary of a translation firm which asks if you have ATA certification before the firm will consider you for engagement on a translation project, because there is NO correlation between a translator's proven ability and acquiring a "certification" via the translator's passing a "stand alone" series of examinations administered by the ATA. Such a request suggests an unsubstantiated "mental comfort zone" in the person representing the requesting agency, but overlooks that fact that such "certification" has **no** predictability or guarantee of the translator's competence. While passing the ATA test means that a translator is thereby certified to meet the ATA's criteria and purposes, that "certification" would not, and does not, intrinsically convey a significance or relevance to establish that the certified translator correspondingly meets the purposes of the global language services industry.

Rather than bedevil the ATA aspect of certification, you might well find that certification by a local chamber of commerce, judicial court system, administrative/immigration court, or state-level authority would be more beneficial to you as you grow your business practice and presence in the language services industry.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

Stephen H. Franke
San Pedro, California




[Edited at 2009-10-19 18:20 GMT]


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Daniel Šebesta  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 13:35
Member (2007)
English to Czech
+ ...
Certification vs. membership Oct 19, 2009


Stephen Franke wrote:

I reinforce and agree with Daniel's good comment about the dubious benefit of ATA certification in terms of a corollary return on investment (ROI) about your receiving more or better-paying translation jobs.


Hi Stephen,

Please don't get me wrong. I was not talking about the ATA certification. There is no ATA certification in my language pairs and I am not certified myself. From my own experience, I could only talk about ATA membership.

Daniel


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:35
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Says who? Oct 20, 2009

"...because there is NO correlation between a translator's proven ability and acquiring a "certification" via the translator's passing a "stand alone" series of examinations administered by the ATA..."

I highly resent your comments about a translator's proven ability and the ATA certification. The ATA certification process is professional, well regarded, and prestigious. The certification is extremely difficult (as proven by the approval rate of 20%), and the only certification in the United States. People who pass the test are professionals, and able indeed.

The issue here is whether it represents a good ROI or whether rates can be raised just because of the ATA certification. I would say not so much, but not because the certification does not prove the ability of the translator rather because of all the well-known factors affecting the translation industry. Clients who do not regard translators as professionals, who do not value their work, who believe that reasonable rates are 2 or 3 cents per word, those clients do not care whether a translator is certified or not, and they seem to be the majority or, at least, abound.


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:35
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
What an absurd statement, Stephen Oct 20, 2009


Stephen Franke wrote:
...there is NO correlation between a translator's proven ability and acquiring a "certification" via the translator's passing a "stand alone" series of examinations administered by the ATA.

Honestly Stephen this is quite nonsensical. The eligibility requirements already make the exam available only to professional translators. And the exam has an average pass rate of under 20%.

This "NO correlation" statement is pretty absurd: you can only meet the eligibility requirements if a) if you have a degree in T+I (I reckon that a degree in T+I bears some correlation with translation ability?), have a degree other than T+I plus two years of proven experience in translation/interpreteation (also some correlation to translation ability perhaps?), or have worked for at least five years as a full-time translator/interpreter and can show letters of satisfied customers as a proof (also some correlation to translation ability?).

[Edited at 2009-10-20 06:17 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:35
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
That's the attitude! Oct 20, 2009


lizette britz wrote:
I considered joining ATA as a way to stand out in the crowd and as a way of attracting more clients since I could have access to more information regarding my profession. I see the certification more as a way to polish my skills as a translator while I prepare for the test. I am conscious that in the long run the best thing is to get an official certification from a state agency.

I think I would not have said "stand out in the crowd", but it is true that joining the ATA will be a factor in considering your profession a serious thing, acting accordingly, and attract more interesting accounts. Via The Chronicle and other very interesting resources, and during the many ATA events in the year, you will have a measure of where translation is heading. I sincerely encourage you to join the ATA.

As for certification, personally it has meant quite a change for me. Maybe it did not automatically raise my income, but it does help me A LOT in keeping my rather reasonable rates in the long run and being contacted by interesting prospects.

I am taking the exam for IOL's DipTrans next January and am preparing for it this Autumn with a course of the City University London. The exam is longer and so far looks a bit trickier than the ATA exam, so it could also be an interesting and challenging goal for you too.

Do you plan to take the exam next January?


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Lizette Britz  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:35
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
IOL Test Oct 20, 2009

I do not expect my rates to go up dramatically after joining ATA, but I do expect to be able to have access to more interesting jobs in the future. I have found out, that buyers who want to pay 2 or 3 cents per word, even 1 cent, do not really care about the quality of the translation, and are not worth spending time on them. But there are other buyers, who eventually become clients that care about the quality of the translation and are happy to pay your rates. This is the type of customers I hope to attract by joining ATA and being IOL certified. ATA certification will come later.

Tomás, I will not take the IOL exam until January 2011. What I have done is start a translation course that prepares you for the IOL exam. Have you join any Spanish translators association?

Lizette


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:35
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
ASETRAD Oct 20, 2009


lizette britz wrote:
Tomás, I will not take the IOL exam until January 2011. What I have done is start a translation course that prepares you for the IOL exam. Have you join any Spanish translators association?


OK! Let's keep in touch then and exchange experiences. I reckon you are taking Spanish into English? Mine is English into Spanish; I am taking it at the British Council in Madrid, which will be easier for me than flying to the UK.

As for Spanish associations, indeed I joined ASETRAD.


lizette britz wrote:
But there are other buyers, who eventually become clients that care about the quality of the translation and are happy to pay your rates. This is the type of customers I hope to attract by joining ATA and being IOL certified.

Indeed. Competing in the 3-cent market just does not make sense in the long run. If we are serious about our profession, we should progressively become better, more qualified translators and aim at trickier, higher-rate jobs.

[Edited at 2009-10-20 08:10 GMT]


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Lizette Britz  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:35
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
English into Spanish Oct 20, 2009

I am doing English into Spanish, and once I am done with that, Spanish into English.

One of the reasons I am taking the IOL exam is that it can be done here. Where did you take the ATA certification exam?


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:35
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Took the ATA cert. exam in the US Oct 20, 2009


lizette britz wrote:
I am doing English into Spanish, and once I am done with that, Spanish into English.

One of the reasons I am taking the IOL exam is that it can be done here. Where did you take the ATA certification exam?


Oh I see! Where are you doing the prep course? (I am doing a module of the City University London, which is mostly about doing actual exam texts with wht supervision of a tutor. I should be doing my 3rd 2-hour semi-specialised text later today).

For the ATA exam in 2008 I had no option but to fly to the US as the ATA did not organise an European venue that year. I did the exam in Michigan in August 2008 and received the good news in November 2008. You might want to check their Upcoming Exams page every now and then. If you live in Spain, I reckon you will end up doing the exam in the US...


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 14:35
Turkish to English
+ ...
I think it does pay off Oct 20, 2009

I acquired the IOL Diploma in Translation from Turkish into English some years ago, and subsequently became a member of the Institute. This is a language pair in which average rates are dismally low. Yet, I am able to command acceptable rates by Western European standards. I believe that this is thanks to having CIoL accreditation.

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Lizette Britz  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:35
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Will have to plan a trip to the US Oct 20, 2009

I will keep an eye on the upcoming ATA exams and plan a trip to the US, but in the meantime I will join ATA as an associate member.

I am doing the prep course online through International House Barcelona. I started this week.


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