How can you become certified by ATA as an interpreter
Thread poster: Juan Chen

Juan Chen  Identity Verified
Member (2008)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Apr 7, 2008

For a person living outside US desires to hold ATA membership as an interpreter, how to finish pertinent procedures? Does ATA offer such interpreter membership?

Thank you.


Taylor Kirk  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:51
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I don't think... Apr 7, 2008

...they certify interpreters at all...


LP Schumacher  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:51
German to English
Membership or Certification Apr 7, 2008

As I understand it, the ATA memberships and certifications apply to both translators AND interpreters (not just to one of these areas).

I'm not sure if you are asking about ATA membership or about ATA certification (two different things), but the ATA website offers a wealth of information on both subjects.

As to membership, the ATA website says:
"ATA membership is open to anyone with an interest in translation and interpreting as a profession or as a scholarly pursuit..."

However, there are various levels of membership:

The certification program is a bit more involved, but perhaps that is what you are looking for:

Also, here are the contact details for the Chinese Division of the ATA:


Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:51
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
ATA: not interpreters, not yet Apr 7, 2008

ATA DOES NOT certify interpreters.

The two ways I know to get interpreter credentials are the State Consortium (several states accepting each other's credentials, and yet this is NOT a certification, BUT a qualification, and interpreters are forbidden to claim being "certified", but it is coming) and the FCICE (Google that). Not all states belong to the Consortium, some states will only accept the federal certificaiton.

The Consortium oral test can be taken three times in a row within the same year. It requires passing a written test before taking an oral test.

For the FCICE you have to take the written test first and, if you pass, then take the oral examination the next year. The tests are offered on alternate years so any of the tests you flunk you have to wait two years to take it again.

The emphasis of both institutions is legal for court interpreting in state courts or in federal court. The Consortium credentials are not good in Federal court. As you may imagine, the Federal is very, very difficult, especially the oral exam.

Another very prestigious interpreter certification is that of NAJIT (Google that). Extremely difficult. Emphasis on legal.


Local time: 01:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
ATA does not certify interpreters-not yet Apr 7, 2008

Luisa is correct, the ATA does not certify interpreters. You can take the certification examination, but that would certify you as a translator NOT interpreter.

From what I've read it seems they are looking into ways of certification for interpreters but it has not happened yet. I've been an ATA member for awhile and I work as an interpreter but I can not say I am an ATA certified interpreter. Try looking into the state courts or perhaps AIIC.


Juan Chen  Identity Verified
Member (2008)
English to Chinese
+ ...
thank you Apr 7, 2008

Thank you very much. I know that website, but according to my current experiences and abilities, I may not meet their qualifications.
As far as I know, in China only 16-20 people are certified by AIIC, and they must have conference interpreting experiences for more than 5 years.
Therefore, I hope to become a member of a well-known translation and interpreting association first, like ATA.


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