CERTIFICATION PROCESS

How to become certified.

PATH TO CERTIFICATION

Becoming a certified ATIO member involves several stages:

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Step 1 - Applicant

First you must submit an application for membership. At this point you are considered an Applicant while your supporting documentation is vetted and, in the case of translators, an Entrance Exam is taken.

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Step 2 - Candidate

After passing the entrance criteria, you are a Candidate for Certification. As a Candidate, you have five years to pass the Certification Exam or On Dossier process.

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Step 3 - Certified

Once you have passed the Certification Exam (or On Dossier equivalent) you are then considered a Certified Member.

CERTIFICATION PROCESS & FEES

As a Candidate for Certification in good standing, you have five years to obtain your certification either via the CTTIC Certification Exam or the On Dossier process. If you are not already a Candidate for Certification and a member in good standing, you may read how to join ATIO here. The national certification exams are administered by the Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council (CTTIC).

DID YOU KNOW?

 

“Certified” is a reserved title in Ontario. Only ATIO members who have taken the national certification exam or been vetted through the on dossier process can use it.

CERTIFICATION EXAM

To write the annual CTTIC Certification Exam, you must first obtain the status of a Candidate for Certification in the relevant category. If you are not already a Candidate for Certification and a member in good standing, you may read how to join ATIO here.

CTTIC Certification Exam in Translation

The examination is intended for experienced translators who wish to have their competence recognized by their peers. It does not seek to identify aptitude or potential, but rather to attest to a candidate’s professional skills. A candidate who can produce a translation that is faithful and idiomatic and requires little or no revision is deemed capable of practising independently. The candidate will translate one compulsory general text of approximately 200 words, and another text that is a choice between two somewhat specialized texts of about 200 words each. This is an open book examination: dictionaries and reference works are permitted, but may not be exchanged with other candidates. All technological aids are prohibited, with the exception of those required on valid medical grounds.

CTTIC Certification Exam in Court Interpretation

The court interpreter certification exam is comprised of a written and oral component. The written examination consists of a written translation into English (or French) from the other language AND a translation of legal vocabulary from the other language into English (or French); a legal knowledge test; and a ethics component. Candidates who pass all three parts of the written examination will be invited to undergo the oral component of the examination. All technological aids and reference materials are prohibited, with the exception of those required on valid medical grounds.

CTTIC Certification Exam in Community Interpretation

The community interpretation certification exam will be comprised of a written and oral component. The written examination will consist of three sections covering professional practice, ethics and a written translation of a text into English. Candidates who pass the written examination will be invited to undergo the oral component of the examination. All technological aids and reference materials are prohibited, with the exception of those required on valid medical grounds.

CTTIC Certification Exam in Medical Interpretation

The medical interpretation certification exam will be comprised of a written and oral component. The written examination will cover professional practice, ethics and a written translation of a text and medical terminology. Candidates who pass the written examination will be invited to undergo the oral component of the examination. All technological aids and reference materials are prohibited, with the exception of those required on valid medical grounds.

CTTIC Certification Exam in Conference Interpretation

The CTTIC certification examination for conference interpreting is not scheduled at this time. Please apply on dossier.

Certification Exam FAQs

Am I ready for the exam?

Only candidates for certification are eligible to sit the Certification Exam. Continuing to read and write in your language combinations and practice for your Certification Exam, is strongly recommended as a way to prepare for the exam. It is also recommended to review the Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council’s marker’s and candidate’s guides and other resources available via your ATIO account to prepare for the Certification Exam as well as participate in ATIO’s professional development workshops, events and free certification exam information sessions.

Are there any practice exams available?

ATIO’s practice exam is intended to prepare candidates for certification in translation for the Certification Exam. The practice exams follow the same schedule as Entrance Exams. Please visit the News and Events page on the ATIO website for the schedule.

How many times may I attempt the exam?

Candidates for certification in translation have five (5) years in which to become certified in translation, whether by examination or On Dossier. You may attempt the exam as many times as it is offered within those five (5) years (maximum once per calendar year).

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Why is the certification exam still a handwritten exam?

The Certification Exam is a handwritten exam to ensure all candidates are treated equally, that no candidate has a higher advantage than another in terms of resources. Applicants or members needing any special assistance in writing an exam may contact the Association to make arrangements.

COVID-19 ALERT

Until further notice, we are not accepting new on-dossier applications by postal mail. Please submit your email to [email protected].

ON DOSSIER CERTIFICATION

To submit a request for certification by dossier, you must first obtain the status of a Candidate for Certification in the relevant category. Click here for more details on our application process and to learn more about the admission criteria.

On-dossier certification is for experienced translators/interpreters/terminologists. You are encouraged to apply for on-dossier certification if you are a:

  • candidate for certification with extensive background in translation and/or interpretation and/or terminology (many books or large documents translated, several hundred thousands of words in translation, over several thousands of hours of interpretation, or production of a great number of records or elaboration of lexicons or vocabularies);
  • candidate for certification who has reasonable/credible reason(s) not to sit for the examination;
  • candidate for certification in whose profession or language combination there is no certification examination offered.

On Dossier Requirements for all applicants, applicable for each category.

 

  1. Candidates must be sponsored by three certified members of the Association, or in special cases, by certified members of another provincial association with membership in CTTIC who belong to the same professional category and have the same language combination as the candidate. Information from sponsors shall include the number of years sponsors have known the candidates and the sponsors’ knowledge of the candidates’ professional activities. Exceptions can be made under special circumstances and will be assessed on a case by case basis.
  2. Applicants must provide all information and documentation as required on the appropriate application form, such as samples of substantial and varied pieces of the candidate’s work, certified as such by letters from clients, employers, supervisors or by any other means that will provide assurance to the committee that the candidate is indeed the author of the work offered for evaluation. All documents must be originals or certified copies. Documents will be returned to the candidate once the evaluation procedure is completed. The application may also contain documents such as testimonials, letters of reference, and statements from clients or employers that might assist the Committee in its work. The application must be accompanied by a curriculum vitæ detailing such things as courses of study, experience, positions held, publications, awards, etc. Candidates must also provide the name of three references (different from the sponsors) whom the committee may contact for additional information on any aspect of the candidate’s career.
  3. Candidates who have successfully passed a professional proficiency evaluation may submit proof thereof with information as to the nature of the assessment, its role in the overall process, the level of achievement, etc. Evidence of such an evaluation may exempt a candidate from some or all of the requirements described herein as may be determined by the Committee.

 

Click below to learn how to apply for on-dossier certification.

Additional Requirements for Candidates for Certification in Court Interpreting only

To be eligible for the on-dossier certification procedure in court interpreting, candidates must:

hold a university degree in court interpreting that is recognized by the Association or have successfully completed a course in court interpreting that is recognized by the Association, and must be able to substantiate 1000 hours of experience in a five-year period in Canada as a court interpreter,
OR
be accredited as a court interpreter by the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General and submit proof of 1500 hours of experience in Canada as a court interpreter within a five-year period,
OR
be able to substantiate 3000 hours of experience as a court interpreter in Canada within a five-year period.

This full-time experience must be attested to by recent letters of reference from employers, or clients if the applicant works as freelance court interpreter. The letters must be signed originals and must clearly establish that the applicants have been practising their profession for the requisite number of years in an autonomous manner, without the need for supervision.

Additional Requirements for Candidates for Certification in Community Interpreting only

To be eligible for the on-dossier certification procedure in community interpreting, candidates must:

hold a university degree in community interpreting that is recognized by the Association or have successfully completed a course in community interpreting that is recognized by the Association, and must be able to substantiate 1000 hours of experience in a five-year period as a community interpreter,
OR
be accredited as a community interpreter by a professional organization that is not a member of CTTIC but is recognized by the Board and submit proof of 1500 hours of experience as a community interpreter within a five-year period,
OR
be able to substantiate 3000 hours of experience as a community interpreter within a five-year period.

This professional experience must be attested to by recent letters of reference from employers, or clients if the applicant works as a freelance community interpreter. The letters must be signed originals and must clearly establish that the applicants have been practising their profession for the requisite number of years in an autonomous manner, without the need for supervision.

Additional Requirements for Candidates for Certification in Medical Interpreting only

To be eligible for the on-dossier certification procedure in medical interpreting, candidates must:

hold a university degree in medical interpreting that is recognized by the Association or have successfully completed a course in medical interpreting that is recognized by the Association, and must be able to substantiate 1000 hours of experience in a five-year period as a medical interpreter,
OR
be accredited as a medical interpreter by a professional organization that is not a member of CTTIC but is recognized by the Board and submit proof of 1500 hours of experience as a medical interpreter within a five-year period,
OR
be able to substantiate 3000 hours of experience as a medical interpreter within a five-year period.

This professional experience must be attested to by recent letters of reference from employers, or clients if the applicant works as a freelance medical interpreter. The letters must be signed originals and must clearly establish that the applicants have been practising their profession for the requisite number of years in an autonomous manner, without the need for supervision.

Additional Requirements for Candidates for Certification in Terminology only

To be eligible for the on-dossier certification procedure in Terminology, candidates must:

hold a university degree that is recognized by the Association in terminology, or translation with a specialization in terminology, and have the equivalent of two years of full-time experience in each language combination for which the applicant is applying,
OR
have the equivalent of five years of full-time experience in terminology in each language combination for which the applicant is applying.

This full-time experience must be attested to by recent letters of reference from employers, or clients if the applicants work as independent/freelance terminologists. The letters must be signed originals and must clearly establish that the applicants have been practising their profession for the requisite number of years in an autonomous manner, without the need for supervision.

On Dossier FAQs

Is on-dossier certification easier than certification by examination?

The criteria for the on-dossier method, although different, are just as stringent as those for the examination. In fact, the on-dossier criteria might be seen by some as being not more difficult, but more demanding. The on-dossier process requires extensive professional experience, proof of the various diplomas, experience, selection of work samples; confirmation from clients and managers, etc. Just collecting the required documentation is a very large task that can take many weeks or months to complete.

How does on-dossier certification ensure that high professional standards are maintained?

First, the candidate is sponsored by three certified ATIO members (or another CTTIC member association, or another organization deemed equivalent such as OTTIAQ), who are certified in the same language combination as the candidate. These sponsors demonstrate, among other things, their knowledge of the candidate’s professional activities (a quantitative and qualitative assessment). In adopting this criterion, ATIO wanted to ensure that the sponsors were certified professionals who could formally confirm specific facts about and qualities of the candidate. The on-dossier application is then submitted to the Recognition and Certification Committee, which evaluates the application based on established criteria, specifically the breadth and nature of experience, diplomas, the relevance of the attestation from clients, employers and supervisors, the evaluation of the samples of work submitted, the opinions of the three sponsors, if required, and finally an overall judgement. All items are reviewed by the Committee members and, if required, some samples by external evaluators.

Couldn't a candidate simply present work done by another person?

Candidates must prove that he or she is indeed the author of the work submitted. If the Recognition and Certification Committee considers the proof inadequate, study of the dossier is deferred until adequate proof has been presented. But what kind of proof is needed? Let’s take the example of a professional who works for the government: the name of the translator or terminologist could appear on the published translation or terminology work itself, on an attached document or on a client’s receipt for the work; a supervisor or a department head may attest in writing that the document is authentic and is the work of the author as claimed, etc. A candidate who is an independent conference interpreter might provide names of sponsors or peers who worked in the booth with him or her, or attestation from clients showing that the candidate actually interpreted during certain conferences.

Can I use the fact that I passed a professional examination administered by my employer?

Yes. Provision 1.04) of Appendix 4 of the Bylaws provides that passing this kind of examination may, after evaluation by the Recognition and Certification Committee, allow for exemption from certain criteria or any other requirement, depending on the type of examination and the part it plays in the overall proficiency evaluation.

How long do I have to wait for an answer from the committee?

The study of on-dossier applications is assigned to the Recognition and Certification Committee. This Committee is comprised of volunteer peers across Ontario who have agreed to dedicate some of their time and energy to their professional association. Normally, the on-dossier evaluation can take between 1 and 3 months for dossiers in the official languages of Canada and from 5 months to a year or more for dossiers in foreign languages. Please ensure you have submitted all required documentation with your on-dossier application to avoid any delays.

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