new to Canada - finding conflicting information
Thread poster: Laura Messer

Laura Messer  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Spanish to English
Sep 9, 2014

Hello everyone,

I recently became a permanent resident of Canada and am now located in Toronto. My previous research (looking at the ATIO and CTTIC websites, etc.) led me to believe that I would be able to work as a freelancer in Canada as long as I did not call myself a "certified translator" and that I could use work experience in translation and client references toward becoming a candidate for certification in Canada and taking the exam. (I have a US bachelor's degree in a language-related field but not in translation studies.)

Recently, I found conflicting information on a website directed toward new immigrants stating that translation is a "regulated profession". See here. This seems like it may be outdated but if anyone can confirm this for me, I would appreciate it!


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:11
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Only for oficial purposes Sep 9, 2014

This page should shed some light:

This means that translations for official purposes in Canada must have been done by certified translators. AFAIK in most - if not all - states in the USA anyone can declare him/herself bilingual, do a translation, take liability for it, sign it before a notary public, and it will be accepted by any governmental body for any purpose whatsoever.

I am a sworn translator licensed by the Brazilian government (yes, Brazil has a federal law on that). Nevertheless, I did some plain translations that someone else in the USA took as their own, took liability, signed before a notary public, and they were accepted for official purposes.


Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 08:11
German to English
+ ...
try to become certified because... Sep 9, 2014

even though anyone can call themselves a translator, and translate, the demand is high for translators to be certified here. It's not just the Canadian government. Universities, schools, and various companies prefer that translations be done by certified translators (ATIO membership in your case), I think because it is seen as a guarantee of quality in many places.


Laura Messer  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Spanish to English
Thanks for your replies! Sep 10, 2014

@José - Thanks for your clarification. This makes sense. I was getting worried since I had thought from my previous research that I should be able to start freelancing after immigrating and I didn't want to run into problems!

@Maxi - Yes, I am planning to become certified once I obtain further work experience since I know that it is important for my professional reputation in Canada and in general. I am waiting to obtain further experience and will then be preparing for the exam once I am a candidate for certification.


John Fossey  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:11
Member (2008)
French to English
Certification or not Sep 10, 2014

Your original information is correct.

Translation is a "regulated profession" in that you cannot call yourself a "certified translator" without being a member of one of the provincial bodies.

However, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from practising the profession or calling your self a "translator", just not a "certified" translator.

Many people do just that. In this case you are depending on your experience, references, etc., as you say. You will find there are certain jobs that you cannot work on directly - for example, you will not be able to contract directly with the federal government and certain other bodies. But there is nothing stopping you from working for another (certified) translator who contracts directly with the federal government, nor from working for any agency who has contracted with the federal government.


Laura Messer  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Spanish to English
@John Sep 11, 2014

Thanks for the explanation.


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