Poll: How much has being a certified translator / interpreter helped you in your career?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 06:58
Oct 25, 2005

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How much has being a certified translator / interpreter helped you in your career?".

This poll was originally submitted by Kim Metzger

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


Michaela Müller
Local time: 15:58
English to German
+ ...
Definition of Certified Oct 25, 2005

I think Kim should tell us what he actually means when he uses the term "certified". Does he mean the "certified" you need in order to put a stamp on documents, or does he mean the "certified" you earn by studying for a degree/diploma etc.?

I myself interpreted the "certified" as having a degree in translation, so I voted "A lot".



Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:58
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I'm not certified, but I hope it's coming... Oct 25, 2005

I interpreted certified as being able to stamp or certify documents - and both "my" countries - the UK and Denmark - are working on it!

I will probably never be what the Danes call a 'State Authorised Translator' because I have not trained as an interpreter.

At present there is only one way to qualify academically: to take an MA at one of the business universities in Copenhagen or Aarhus, and even then you have to have the right 'profile'as a translator and interpreter, which is a protected title. Someone like me is called an 'oversaetter' (the Danish word for translator) as opposed to Translatoer, which is French/international.

It is an excellent training, but all others are excluded from authorisation, for instance those with IT or economics or some other subject instead of their second language at BA level, and in practice everyone with foreign qualifications in the major languages.

But it is under review, and it would probably be more fair to let a Dane comment on the rest of the details.

My qualifications are recognised in England (and in Denmark, for what they are, just not for State Authorisation). But in the UK there is no sytem of 'sworn' or 'certified' translators - yet.

What is now the Chartered Institute of Linguists is working on it together with the ITI and others...

So watch this space! Having a recognised postgraduate diploma and being able at least to explain why I am NOT 'certified' has made a big difference. In this 'everyone speaks English' environment, it is important to be able to prove you can do it professionally too.

[Edited at 2005-10-25 11:49]


Brandis (X)
Local time: 15:58
English to German
+ ...
these days it is being used in various ways Oct 25, 2005

being certified means atleast in germany, that one is allowed (while signing and stamping the documents) to process, certificates, contracts, legal agreements etc., but as I see a few posters lately they are being (cred. required) for non legal stuff as well, such as IT, Engg, and so on.. To process such documents one needs to have engg. background which forms the basis. There may be different practices in different countries. So what is the standard measurement, when one asks "credentials required or certification required". Best regards, Brandis


JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 09:58
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I second the request for definition. Oct 25, 2005

In my case, I know of two ways of being "certified." One is to have passed U.S. government exams to become a certified court interpreter, who can also stamp written translations. Unfortunately, as far as I know there is no "official" exam that does not require an interpreter's skills.

The second would be to pass a certification exam offered by an organization. I have a question about this, if someone would care to answer: When I passed exams from the American Translators Association, I received "accreditation," not "certification." I clearly remember Marian Greenfield setting me straight on that when I mistakenly said that I was certified! However, recently I have seen (primarily on ProZ) several references to being "ATA certified." Does that mean ATA has changed its wording?

In any case, Kim, please define "certification." I have an M.A. in Translation but I wouldn't call that "certification," and I'm certain that the faculty of the Programa Graduada en Traducción of the University of Puerto Rico would not do so either.


Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:58
German to English
+ ...
To Jane re ATA Oct 25, 2005

Yes, Jane, the ATA has changed the wording. However, you need to fulfill certain continuing-education requirements to keep your certification. I'm sure there are more details on its website (atanet.org).


Henry Dotterer
Local time: 09:58
Data suggests certification is worthwhile Oct 25, 2005

As I write this, of the 35% who are certified, 30% say it has helped a little or a lot, and only 5% say it has not helped at all. That is a ratio of 6:1, which is a pretty strong bias.

I conclude that certification is almost certainly worthwhile.

I also find it notable--and data collected previously is in line with that collected today--that 35% of respondents are certified. By comparison, 29% of translators listed in the ATA's directory (ATA = American Translator Association) are certified.


Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:58
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
ATA "certification" Oct 25, 2005

Re: When I passed exams from the American Translators Association, I received "accreditation," not "certification."

Jane, I was active in the ATA accreditation program over 20 years ago. As far as I know, it was always called "accreditation." Some people were unhappy with the term because they associated it with the accreditation of universities, but in fact I just now looked it up in Webster's unabridged dict., and it fits perfectly if ATA wants to use it. The only problem is that it does not conform to the terminology used by other bodies that certify translators.

BTW, it used to be that when a member ceased to belong to ATA they could no longer claim accreditation. That seems unfair, because certified translators get to keep their certification.

In answer to the general question, had I not been a full-time staffer, I'm sure that my ATA accreditation would have been a lot more valuable.

[Edited at 2005-10-25 21:06]


Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:58
German to English
Certification Oct 26, 2005

Hello everybody, sorry about not responding to your questions sooner, but I've been travelling and haven't had access to a computer - actually, I'm on my way from Mexico to Duesseldorf, Germany to attend a ProZ.com powwow.
The ATA changed the wording from accreditation to certification some time ago, so certified translator is the official title now for people who have passed the ATA exam and meet the other requirements.


I don't have a degree in translation, just the certification. Isn't there something similar in the UK and Germany?


[Edited at 2005-10-26 15:18]


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