Last night, I was wrapping up a productive day of translating when I was called away from my desk. I was told to check the mail, which included a large envelope from the ATA. If I remember anything from applying to college and graduate school, it is that the big envelopes have good news—and this was no exception! I opened it up to reveal a certificate granting me ATA Certification for Translation from Spanish into English. Hooray!
The mission of the American Translators Association’s certification program is “to evaluate the competence of translators according to guidelines that reflect current professional practice.” ATA certification is neither a requirement for translators in the United States nor a guarantee of a translator’s ability to excel on any particular translation project. (And some translators point out that current professional practice involves computers, which are not allowed in the ATA exam.) There are also excellent translators who are not certified. However, ATA certification is one measure of a translator’s ability. And despite required qualifications for taking the exam, the overall pass rate is still below 20%.
In my case, ATA certification is added to my education, training, and growing experience. It isn’t my only qualification, and it isn’t the end of the process of becoming a great translator. I don’t get to sit back and relax now. For me, being a certified translator means that I have to work harder! I hope to continually improve my work and provide better service to my clients. I also hope to continue to educate myself in both the translation field and my fields of specialization. Part of why I love translation is that it gives me ongoing opportunities to learn!
So this just one step in my career, but it’s a step that I plan to celebrate!