ATIO supports translators, interpreters and terminologists. Some of these professions have several categories. As admission and certification requirements can vary from one to the next, it is important to be clear on exactly which one your work falls under.
- Conference Interpreter
- Court Interpreter
- Community Interpreter
- Medical Interpreter
Translators are professional communicators who use the written word to bring cultures and people together. With their in- depth knowledge of language, their extensive training and their specialized resources, they convey the essence of a message in another language, focusing on the author’s priorities: precision (for technical or legal documents), impact (for promotional or business writing), special terminology (for internal communications), etc.
For a guarantee of excellence and integrity in translation, look for the title of Certified Translator. The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO) is the only organization in the province mandated by law to confer this certification. All those who hold it undertake to uphold our Code of Ethics, which includes such provisions as confidentiality of client information. This title is your best assurance of quality.
Some translators are employed in the public or private sector. Over time, they acquire expertise in their organization’s business and often become valued resources. Many ATIO members are staff translators, whose employers encourage them to join our ranks in order to benefit from the resources and networking the Association offers. Indeed, most governments and a growing number of companies in Ontario require ATIO certification as a condition of employment.
Other translators work independently, in fields ranging from automotive to finance and from law to marketing, and in over 55 language combinations including French and English (the most common) as well as Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese and many others. You can find all of them in our directory of members.
The conference interpreter is a specialist in communication between people and cultures. The role of the interpreter is to convey the content of a spoken message from one language into another. Conference interpretation is used extensively across Canada by business and government, at conventions, sales meetings, training sessions, board and committee meetings, annual meetings, press conferences, etc.
The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO) is the only professional association in Ontario empowered by law to confer the title of “Certified Conference Interpreter”. To obtain the title, a conference interpreter must pass a national examination or present equivalent credentials.
Conference interpreters are bound by the ATIO Code of Ethics (with provisions for impartiality and professional secrecy) and the Professional Practice Conditions for Conference Interpreters (which detail requirements for optimal service, such as preparation, team size and technical equipment). These safeguards are your guarantee of excellence and quality.
There are two forms of conference interpretation:
- consecutive interpretation, used for small discussion groups and in negotiations (where the interpreter speaks after the speaker);
- simultaneous interpretation, the most frequently used form (where the interpreter speaks at the same time as the speaker, usually through electronic equipment), offering immediate communication in as many languages as required.
Interpreters work in teams. The number of professionals depends on the workload: for example, three for a normal working day at a bilingual meeting. ATIO guidelines on team size, established over many years of professional practice, ensure optimal quality in a highly demanding work environment.
The technical equipment needed for simultaneous interpretation – a soundproof booth, headsets, microphones – must be of a quality to permit good interpretation and proper hearing conditions for the audience. Although interpreters and technical staff work in close cooperation, their requirements are very different and it is generally advisable that separate arrangements be made for each type of service.
The court interpreter plays an essential role in civil society, by enabling people who speak many languages to participate in legal and other government processes. Court interpretation is a demanding intellectual exercise, whose practitioners require extensive training and a finely-honed ethical sense in addition to a thorough knowledge of languages.
Court interpreters are required to be faithful, accurate and impartial, not only in criminal trials – their most high- profile work, where the Supreme Court of Canada has reaffirmed these key expectations – but also in the many situations where professional assistance is required to cross the language barrier.
These situations include private litigation (such as examinations and depositions) as well as public proceedings, both judicial (criminal and civil trials), and administrative (immigration and refugee cases, workers’ compensation hearings, parole boards, etc.).
The quality of court interpreters’ work is guaranteed by their professional certification, sanctioned by the legally- protected title of Certified Court Interpreter. The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO) is the only professional association in Ontario empowered by law to confer this title. This title, together with the ATIO Code of Ethics which all Certified Court Interpreters are bound to follow, is your guarantee of excellence and integrity.
A Certified Court Interpreter is an experienced professional, who combines extensive knowledge of relevant fields with mastery of her or his working languages and proven ability in diverse situations. In addition, Certified Court Interpreters are governed by exacting professional rules, including complete impartiality, absolute confidentiality of all information obtained in connection with their work, and continuing professional development.
Community interpreters work in settings such as social services agencies, public schools and immigrant settlement centres. Community interpreters’ clients include two main groups:
- Individuals with limited proficiency in English or French, such as immigrants, refugees, members of First Nations communities, and other marginalized populations whose access to public services is limited by their inability to communicate in one of Canada’s official languages; and
- The professionals who provide services to these individuals, such as social workers, public servants and educators.
The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO) is the only professional association in Ontario empowered by law to confer the title of “Certified Community Interpreter”. To obtain the title, a community interpreter must pass a national examination or the on dossier certification process.
Certified Community Interpreters are bound by the ATIO Code of Ethics (with provisions for impartiality and professional secrecy).
Medical interpreters facilitate communication between patients with limited proficiency in English or French and their physicians, nurses, lab technicians and other healthcare providers. A medical interpreter must be not only skilled in interpretation and their working languages, but also highly proficient in the specialized terminology particular to medical settings.
The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO) is the only professional association in Ontario empowered by law to confer the title of “Certified Medical Interpreter”. To obtain the title, a medical interpreter must pass a national examination or the on dossier certification process.
Certified Medical Interpreters are bound by the ATIO Code of Ethics (with provisions for impartiality and professional secrecy).
Terminology arises from the need to name objects and actions associated with the various facets of human activity. In Canada, the existence of two official languages combined with the imperatives dictated by political, commercial and cultural exchanges with countries using a diversity of languages, has led many organizations and businesses to use the services of terminologists to standardize the terminology used in their operations and to support the daily work of translators, interpreters and writers.
A terminologist is a specialist in terminological research, which includes gathering, analyzing and recording information on one or more concepts. As part of ad hoc or thematic research, the terminologist identifies the term designating a concept specific to a field of use or establishes the definition to be associated with a term found in context. This term- concept approach is the model used, sometimes in a single language, but usually in two or more languages based on the terminologist’s needs and qualifications.
In every field of use in which terminologists are well versed, they must establish the relevant vocabulary; provide the equivalents of terms or lists of terms; develop terminological files (case studies); screen recent works to extract established terms as well as newly created terms; draft terminological file entries and contribute to the establishment, enrichment and purging of a terminology bank or file; write articles related to research; participate in the work of linguistic, terminology, neology or standardization committees and prepare unilingual, bilingual or multilingual vocabularies or glossaries, as required.
The terminological approach always results in a statement of position: in fact, it is the decision made following analysis that distinguishes a terminologist from a researcher, documentalist and even a lexicographer, who query terminology banks, note occurences of terms in context, gather documentation, enquire about names in use or assemble observations on usage by region, without making a judgment as to their relevance. Recommendations on terms to be used in a given context remain the domain of the terminologist.
At present, almost all terminologists are employees of government or private companies. While this status prevents them from accepting freelance work, they can sign agreements with their employers to prepare a publication or provide a specific service, take training courses which they provide on subjects related to their duties, purchase publications (vocabularies, glossaries, lists of terms accompanying terminological articles, magazines covering terminology or neology) which they prepare, or subscribe to the terminology banks they set up and update regularly. Terminologists who are members of ATIO can inform you of the services provided by their respective companies or organizations.