ATIO French-English exam dilemma
Thread poster: Suzette Martin-Johnson

Suzette Martin-Johnson
Canada
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Dec 31, 2007

Hi all

I have been authorized to take the ATIO French-English certification exam after quite a lengthy and fiddly process of pulling together references, job letters, and diplomas... Not unlike applying for university - haven't done that for a few years!!

At least I've crossed one hurdle. The only problem is, the notice is really short - the sitting is in Toronto on Jan 21. Apparently this info was mailed to me on Dec 17 but it just arrived this weekend.

From what I've heard, the exam is really hard to pass, even for translators with real-world experience like myself. I know very little about the exam and have never laid eyes on a past paper.

Do you think I should ask them if I can do the exam at a future sitting - given how pricy it is for my plane ticket and exam fee? I don't want to head out on a pointless mission here. I'm not that rich!!

Cheers and all the best for 2008!!


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Patrice  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:47
Member
French to English
+ ...
Depends on what you expect to gain from writing the exam Dec 31, 2007

You are indeed referring to the Ontario organization, are you not? In my opinion, and this is only mine, if you have a translation degree or other credential, you don't really need this one as well. If there is a specific job or activity which you want to pursue which requires you to have, specifically, the ATIO credential, then you probably have to, don't you? Professional organizations are good for many things, such as professional development and perhaps networking, but outside of Ontario I don't think too many people will care about ATIO credentials.

If ATIO can guarantee you some likelihood of work through membership, you'll just have to decide if this is an investment that you can afford and subsequently recoup. There are some organizations that have tests you must pass in order to get work from them. For example, the Secretary of State of Canada had its own exam for people who wanted to be on their freelance list, and that didn't cost a thing to write.

I'll be interested to read other responses.


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Suzette Martin-Johnson
Canada
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Me too Dec 31, 2007

Thanks Patrice - I'd be really interested to see other responses too! I'm not short of work right now at all but understand that the ATIO certification is respected by the Canadian Government. It would definitely be good to have but probably won't pay off as well as, say, my ProZ membership, which is way cheaper!

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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:47
Dutch to English
+ ...
My 2 cents Dec 31, 2007

islander1974 wrote:

Thanks Patrice - I'd be really interested to see other responses too! I'm not short of work right now at all but understand that the ATIO certification is respected by the Canadian Government. It would definitely be good to have but probably won't pay off as well as, say, my ProZ membership, which is way cheaper!


From what I understand from a close colleague in Canada, the Canadian government work is pretty tied up, and they are unlikely to send it outside the country when there are so many Canadians with the same language combination and specific knowledge of the country and its workings

So unless you're planning to emigrate to Canada at some stage, I wouldn't bother. There are other qualifications with more "visibility" .

All the best for 2008
Debs


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Suzette Martin-Johnson
Canada
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Dec 31, 2007

Thanks for the input Debs. The ATA in the US does seem rather more visible - and they also have a cool magazine they send me each month!!

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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:47
Dutch to English
+ ...
Put it this way Jan 1, 2008

islander1974 wrote:

Thanks for the input Debs. The ATA in the US does seem rather more visible - and they also have a cool magazine they send me each month!!


This side of the "pond", virtually everyone in the industry has heard of ATA certification. Very few will know what ATIO certification is and will have to look it up.

I'm not knocking the latter (at all) or even praising the former, but if you're not living in Canada, it makes sense to get the one that agencies all over are going to recognise. If you find Canadian agencies really want the ATIO after you've got the ATA, then it's something you'll have to look at doing additionally at some stage.

It's a question of perception and branding to some extent, but if you're going to spend the money, get the best ROI (first).

Happy New Year
Debs


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Suzette Martin-Johnson
Canada
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks again Jan 2, 2008

The irony of all this is that the ATIO requires about 5* the paperwork requested by the ATA just to for the privilege of sitting its exam. Go figure! After reflection and advice, I sent an e-mail last night asking to be allowed to sit the exam in the future. I really don't think I am up to travelling to Toronto just for a mysterious exam at the last minute, but would really like to do it when I can combine the trip with some other purpose. Hope they will understand.

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isarcat
Local time: 04:47
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I know this is old BUT Jul 1, 2009

...perhaps it will help someone else here reading this forum.

ATIO is a provincial association and (from their website) is also "the first translators' association in the world whose certified members are deemed professionals by law, for in February 1989 the Province of Ontario granted a reserved title for certified members of ATIO through the Association of Translators and Interpreters Act, 1989."

ATA and similar organizations do not have nearly this kind of legal standing. Each province in Canada has its own sister association (e.g. ATINS in Nova Scotia) and together they "comprise the Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council (CTTIC), which is a member of the International Federation of Translators (FIT)."

All this to say that standards are high and they require lots of documentation and stringent tests because members have reserved title -- to be a certified translator in Canada is kind of a big deal and you have to meet national standards to be granted legal standing.... So yes, it may not have the visibility of ATA, but it sure has more prestige. In Canada to freelance for the government and certain other organizations you do need certification from one of the CTTIC associations. If you're not working here, well, you don't need it. However, in the translation world it DOES mean SOMETHING more than ATA certification (which by the way, I'm not denigrating --- just saying it's not the same type of organization and does not offer the same type of standing).

Having said this, most Translation Bureau translators are not certified (and are frankly at the top of the profession...) but they're a totally different animal....

Isa R.


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Ukyuu  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:47
French to English
+ ...
It has helped Oct 9, 2009

Thank you Isarcat, you at the very least helped me around.

I am just a newcomer to Proz and a newcomer to the world of translation, therefore this kind of explanation are really helpfull.

Ukyuu.


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ATIO French-English exam dilemma

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