What is being certified exactly?
Thread poster: Estelle Demontrond-Box

Estelle Demontrond-Box  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 19:34
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Mar 11, 2005

Hi all,

This question might seem silly but I would like to know: what is a certified translator exactly? Has it got to do with legal translation or just being recognized in the profession?
Thank you!


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Ruxi
German to Romanian
+ ...
Explanations Mar 11, 2005

As far as I have noticed on this site:
a. certified has to do with being recognized in the profession.
b. sworn has to do with legal translations.

Please correct me someone, if I am wrong. It also depends on the country.

Ruxi


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Dan Schioenning Larsen
Denmark
Local time: 09:34
Member
English to Danish
+ ...
education Mar 11, 2005

Isn't a certified translator a person who has a degree in translation from a university?

I don't know for sure, but that would seem logical.

Certified: holding appropriate documentation and officially on record as qualified to perform a specified function or practice a specified skill


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arum  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:34
German to English
Good summary Mar 11, 2005

Ruxi wrote:

As far as I have noticed on this site:
a. certified has to do with being recognized in the profession.
b. sworn has to do with legal translations.

Please correct me someone, if I am wrong. It also depends on the country.

Ruxi


That's pretty much the case...

Certification is usually for a particular language combination, and is often administered by a national translators' institute.

Sworn translators are accredited by a representative translators' body and need to take an oath before a court of law. They would not necessary only do legal trasnlations, but their work can be 'sworn' to be an accurate translation of a text, for legal purposes, e.g. admission as evidence, attestation of competency, birth certificates.


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:34
My two cents... Mar 11, 2005

Dan Larsen wrote:

Isn't a certified translator a person who has a degree in translation from a university?

I don't know for sure, but that would seem logical.

Certified: holding appropriate documentation and officially on record as qualified to perform a specified function or practice a specified skill


I do not think that holding a degree in translation from a University or other educational institution makes someone a "certified" translator. Many certified translators (like me) do not have a university translation degree.

Generally, certification is issued by an association, guild, or similar body that regroups translators. The purpose is to attest that the person who passed their certification requirements can translate in a certain pair of languages, with a certain degree of quality.

There are several ways to obtain certification: a translator might have to submit for peer revision a series of documents that proof his/her skill to translate in the pair in which he/she wishes to be certified; in other cases, he/she must pass an exam. In some instances, proof of continuing education is required to keep such certification in force, as well as the payment of annual dues to the association.

When the association that certifies is well-known, and has a good reputation, the certification granted to its members provides certain level of confidence to potential customers. In my opinion, this is as far as certification goes.

It is a good tool to help determine the abilities of a translator, but not a definitive one. There are thousands of excellent translators that are not certified, and there are also many certified translators that do lousy jobs. A translator does not need to be certified to be recognized in the profession. A translator does not need to be certified to translate legal texts.

However, some countries and states require that translators who translate documents for official or government purposes be registered in their onw lists of official translators, and comply with their own requirements or exams. The official title given to such translators varies from one country to the other: "perito traductor" in Mexico; "traductor jurado" or "sworn translator" in other Latin American countries, and so on.

A translator can be certified by one or several associations, accredited by one or several governments, both, or none of the above. For me, being certified is only part of a larger package of advantages of belonging to a professional association. I hope this helps to clarify the picture of certification.

[Edited at 2005-03-11 20:53]

You might find this article on certification (from the US perspective) useful, Estelle: http://www.atanet.org/acc/Article_Sherwin.htm

[Edited at 2005-03-12 14:23]


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xxxuser25
Translator accreditation/certification Mar 11, 2005

Dear Estelle

The best way to find out what you need to become certified is to contact the accreditation authority in your country. Being recognised is not the same as being certified. To be able to charge for translations you must have a stamp or the accreditation number (in most countries). You can charge without it but it involves risk that buciness-minded people are not willing to take. It also could tarnish your reputation.

Translators have either:
1. Completed linguistic studies at the tertiary level, ideally post-graduate, or
2. Completed another undergraduate degree and sat the accreditation exam with their local accreditation authority, typically a 2 and a half hour test involving translation of three texts (different levels of technicality and different subjects) and questions on Professional Ethics.

Translators who have not completed linguistic studies must sit the exam. Those who hold secondary but not tertiary qualifications can sit the exam for a Paraprofessional translator only. This is known as Level 2. Those who have tertiary qualifications can sit the exam for a Professional Translator (Level 3) or a Senior Translator (Level 4) if they have relevant experience in addition to their degree.

The rates usually correspond to translator's level though some translators choose to devalue their work to be able to gain a bit more. There are no set rates otherwise.

Accreditation is not a measure of someone's skills. It is just a necessary acknowledgment of one's qualification. As we all know, there are a lot of qualified pilots, doctors or lawyers but very few good ones.

I hope this helps.


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:34
I beg to disagree... Mar 11, 2005

Sladjana Jana Paripovich wrote:


The best way to find out what you need to become certified is to contact the accreditation authority in your country. Being recognised is not the same as being certified. To be able to charge for translations you must have a stamp or the accreditation number (in most countries). You can charge without it but it involves risk that buciness-minded people are not willing to take. It also could tarnish your reputation.



IMHO, being certified, and being accredited are two different things. In general, certifications are issued by associations or similar entities, and not governments or authorities. The latter are the ones that issue accreditations; but this might be just a terminology issue.

Nevertheless, to be able to charge for a translation a translator does not need certification, accreditation, a stamp or a number. And not having one will not hamper the reputation of a good translator either.

The very few cases in which a stamp or an offical number are required is when the translated document is going to an authority or a government that specifically requires that the translation be made by a translator that has been accredited by the same authority or government.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
Quite Variable Mar 12, 2005

Every country has its own regulations or lack of same in this regard. For instance, I am "certified" (not accredited) by the United States Federal Courts as a Court Interpreter (not as a translator), though the job description does include translation. It is specific to language pairs, of course. The U.S. in general requires no credentials at all.

Other countries such as Argentina have a formal system for certifying (or accrediting) Sworn Translators but there again I am sure the language pairs are quite limited.

The whole thing is infinitely variable.


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xxxuser25
Refer to Collins Cobuild English Language Dictionary under Accreditted and Certified Mar 12, 2005

Rosa Maria Duenas Rios wrote:

Sladjana Jana Paripovich wrote:


The best way to find out what you need to become certified is to contact the accreditation authority in your country. Being recognised is not the same as being certified. To be able to charge for translations you must have a stamp or the accreditation number (in most countries). You can charge without it but it involves risk that buciness-minded people are not willing to take. It also could tarnish your reputation.



IMHO, being certified, and being accredited are two different things. In general, certifications are issued by associations or similar entities, and not governments or authorities. The latter are the ones that issue accreditations; but this might be just a terminology issue.

Nevertheless, to be able to charge for a translation a translator does not need certification, accreditation, a stamp or a number. And not having one will not hamper the reputation of a good translator either.

The very few cases in which a stamp or an offical number are required is when the translated document is going to an authority or a government that specifically requires that the translation be made by a translator that has been accredited by the same authority or government.


Dear Rosa Maria

As mentioned in my reply, you can indeed charge without certification/accreditation. It cuts down to professional ethics. But, it is not a terminology issue.

If you consult any good dictionary, both accreditation and certification refer to being qualified or authorized for the work you do and have the same purpose - to warrant someone has the skills he or she professes to have. It is a safeguard against fraud to protect customers' interests.

An axample for you: There are a number of translators that translate dentistry as stomatology or oral medicine, both of which are incorrect because they are either a strand in general dental education or a specialty on its own.

We must all maintain an acceptable standard when advising people to ensure that we do not mislead them with our answer.

Again, certification is not a prerequisite to practice translation. It is however a requirement to warrant an acceptable standard of translation.

Regards
Jana


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