Online translation certifications. The cheaper and better for experienced translators.
Thread poster: Aida Carrazco

Aida Carrazco  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:17
Member (May 2018)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Jul 17


I'm looking for an online certification to get translation credentials.

I've been working as a translator for more than 10 years, but my studies are related to Business and Finance, and I want to be certified.

What do you recommend?



Dylan Jan Hartmann  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

Good luck Jul 17

Getting certified was difficult and expensive for me.

I had to sit a gruelling 3hr supervised paper & pencil exam in the NAATI office.

A good question might be whether online 'certifications' are legitimate or even recognised?

I'd be interested in hearing about this.



angela vaporaki
English to Greek
+ ...
certification Jul 17

i am in the process of getting certified at the moment. i can only tell about Canada though. Here you have to become certified through ATIA. you take written exams on the language you want to be a translator in, you take exams on code of ethics and after passing these you need to provide either a degree as a translator and also a specific number of words you have already translated or (this is the path i'm taking) prove a much higher number of words translated in the case you have no degree.


Judith Langford  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:17
Member (2017)
French to English
+ ...
Depends on your country Jul 17

The first thing you should do is check the requirements for becoming a certified translator in your country. As you are in Mexico, I believe the American Translators Association is the accepted credential.

You'll need to check the specific requirements, but most national translators' associations that I am familiar with require at least a BA in Translation and a certain amount of practical experience. Some will accept an "on dossier" application for certification from candidates with extensive experience but without a Translation degree. In that case, you submit a portfolio for for assessment. Expect to write a lengthy exam as well, and most likely by hand (to avoid candidates using CAT tools etc.).

I'm not aware of any certification process that can be done online.

Good luck!


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:17
Member (2007)
+ ...
Why? Jul 17

Aida Carrazco wrote:
I want to be certified

I think the important question is your motivation for wanting this certification. Is it for you, your direct clients, agencies, organisations such as the UN, or for some other reason?

You can study for the DipTrans online and just travel to a test centre for the exam. It has a very good reputation, a high pass standard, and is intended for translators with significant experience. That should satisfy just about everyone as proof of your abilities. Or you could do a Master's.

But if it's just for direct clients or for your own marketing purposes, I'd advise you to apply for the "P" tag here on It isn't great proof of your ability but you do need to prove you are doing the job, needing to provide facts and figures, client references, and a sample translation to be judged by your peers. Or do a basic course like the one I did (see my profile to avoid me advertising). It's a bit late for that to be of much use to you, of course, but it might serve your purpose.

José Henrique Lamensdorf
Séverine Dupied
Valérie Ourset
Melanie Meyer

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:17
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Red P, unfortunately Jul 17

Aida Carrazco wrote:
I'm looking for an online certification to get translation credentials.

It does not appear that any Mexican translator associations offer credentials. You want something online, so I think the red P system might be something for you, although unfortunately the red P credential has non-translation-skill related requirements as well.

If you can find colleagues at who'll vouch for you, you can add them to your profile page as "referrals", although other translators and clients who are not registered at won't see the referrals.

Another thing you can do is to join a well-known translator association (e.g. ATA) as a non-credentialled member. You are not required to tell clients that you don't have a credential with the association, but you are allowed to tell clients that you are a "member" of the association. Some clients find that comforting, and some will believe that if you're a member, then you must be a good translator (in reality it means that you've paid the membership fee).

Aida Carrazco

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:17
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Few countries require it Jul 17

Few countries (e.g. Brazil & Spain) have national laws that require translator certification for foreign documents intended to have official/legal purposes. In most other countries, each document-receiving entity is free to stipulate its requirements on translation, which may include specific certification(s) or not.

(I happen to be a sworn translator licensed for EN-PT by Brazilian government.)

A few examples:

Brazil - no document in a foreign language can be accepted for official/legal purposes unless it is attached to its sworn translation, done by a licensed sworn translator. Such translators - among other things - must be Brazilian citizens and live in Brazil. Exams are statewide (though translations are valid nationwide), and usually occur a couple of decades (sic!) apart. There are less than 4,000 such translators, licensed for some 20+ languages in a 200 million people country. Rates are statutory, statewide.

Spain - the system is similar to Brazil's, however Spanish sworn translators are required to be citizens of any EC country, and may live anywhere on Earth. Rates are freely negotiable.

Australia - government recommends NAATI-certified translators, however they'll gladly accept any translation deemed 'official' in the respective country of origin.

USA - translations by anyone signing an affidavit taking full liability for their accuracy and completeness, that signature having been certified by a Notary Public, are usually accepted. Some entities require nondescript credentials as a translator to be mentioned on the affidavit.

In practice, though I am licensed by Brazilian gov't as a sworn translator, I must reckon that I am quite lame in, say, technical medical translation. As I am liable for my sworn translations, I consult with specialized colleagues whenever needed. To illustrate, these medical translation experts are willingly not sworn translators, because if they were, they'd have to handle translation in many areas outside their comfort zone.

The truth is that you can't be good in everything.

One Brazilian writer was quite successful with two of her books, which I'd classify as esoteric romances. Sold out two editions of each. So she decided to 'go global' and have them translated into EN/FR/DE. She contacted a bunch of translators, and gave them one page (always the same) of each book to take a test. She got four native speakers of each language, prospective readers, to give their opinion. It was unanimous that all the translations were thoroughly inadequate. I asked her where she had found those translators. "From the Sao Paulo State sworn translators directory!" was her answer.

Bottom line is that these thoroughly tested and proven sworn translators were good to translate official documents representing real life facts. Most are not good at literature, and much worse when it involves esoteric stuff.

So I'd suggest you first check what is your purpose in getting certified as a translator. Perhaps our colleagues' advice on the Proz PRO-tag is the best choice. It merely states that some peers have considered your translation sample generally good enough, without any further legal implications; after all, the law varies from one place to another.

Aida Carrazco

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