How to become a certified Chinese/English Translator in UK
Thread poster: mavislasne

mavislasne  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:10
English to Chinese
+ ...
Jul 29, 2013

Hello everyone,

I have started to work as a freelance Chinese/English Translator since March. Though jobs have been coming my way steadily, I realised most clients always questioned if I am "a certified translator". I have checked over the internet, and the IoT does offer a Diploma in Translation, but there is no way to get a training course in UK for the papers (Legal/Medical/Technical) I need to take. There is also an online certification namely CTP (Certified Translation Professional) by Global Translation Institute, but I am not quite sure if it's internationally recognised. And what about Diploma/Master offered by UK Universities? And if you are qualified by a Diploma, why would some people go for the Master?

Can anyone please let me know what is the best option to get qualified? I would be very grateful!

Thank you!

[Edited at 2013-07-30 10:23 GMT]


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 03:10
Chinese to English
No such thing Jul 30, 2013

UK law does not have a category called "certified translator" (unlike other countries). Any translator can certify their translation by attaching and signing a statement saying that it is a faithful translation of the original.

Diplomas, master's and other qualifications are useful for getting clients to take you seriously, but none of them are strictly necessary. Choose a qualification that suits your needs.


 

Karen Stokes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:10
Member (2003)
French to English
Global Translation Institute Jul 30, 2013

Hi,

For a view on the Global Translation Institute, you might like to read Anthony Pym's report on The Status of the Translation Profession in the European Union http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/translation/publications/studies/translation_profession_en.pdf - see pages 11-14 and 91.


 

Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
DipTrans Jul 30, 2013

Hi,

As far as I understand it, to certify your own translations under UK legislation, it is sufficient to be a member of a professional body.
I would recommend taking the DipTrans. You are not obliged to take a training course, you can just apply for the exam. However, taking a course to ensure you are prepared for the exam is widely recommended because it's quite an expensive exam if you fail.
I took the DipTrans without taking a course and passed first time.
I understand that there are courses in the UK and also online courses, although I'm not sure about the availability in your language combination so look around on the CIoL website: http://www.iol.org.uk/qualifications/exams_diptrans.asp

Once you have passed this exam, you are part of the way to being able to apply for membership of the Chartered Institute of Linguists.

Both having the DipTrans and being a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists is well-regarded in the profession.


 

mavislasne  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:10
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Jul 30, 2013

Thank you all for your helpful advice!

Even though I am confident to pass the General Paper in the DipTrans, I think I should have some sort of training before going for the papers of the specific fields. Or do you have any tips to pass the exam?

Otherwise, I am going for the Master in Translation in Heriott Watt University in Edinburgh, they say all their language course is certified by Conférence Internationale permanente d’Instituts Universitaires de Traducteurs et Interprètes (CIUTI). Obviously it's a French body, is it widely recognised by the industry? And is it dodgy that a UK university's Master degree is recognised by a French Association rather than CIoL or ITI?


 

Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Tips to pass the exam Jul 30, 2013

Hi again,

My tip to pass the exam would be to buy past papers and practice under exam conditions at home. You can see on the CIoL website how to buy them.

These are exam papers from Chinese to English (or English to Chinese - not sure which one you're planning on doing) from past years.

You can practice with these at home under exam conditions to get used to the timing. If you're doing this by yourself however, you won't have anyone else to assess the results for you and give you pointers based on your papers.

It will give you some confidence on the subject matters and timing though.

You can also look on the CIoL website for examiner's reports. Every year, they publish examiner's reports for minority languages and I've seen that these are available in Chinese to English.

It's worth reading these because they'll give you an insight into what examiners look for, what mistakes people tend to make and how your work will be assessed.

My major tip for the exam though is not to go into it with any pre-conceived ideas about the semi-specialized subjects you will do.
You are allowed to read all the papers and then choose.
All subject matters cover wide ground so you may find that a legal paper could be a contract for the lease of a property (which you may be familiar with translating), or a write-up of a court case against an illegal casino (which you may know nothing about).

It is therefore useful to go in with an open mind.


As to universities, it might be worth looking at all the universities in the UK that offer a masters in translation in your language pairs. (I'm not sure if you've chosen Heriott Watt because it's the only one offering Chinese). I don't think it matters who or what the course has been certified by. Generally a UK university will have some prestige of its own without its course requiring endorsement by a body or organization.


 


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