Why should I join ATIO?
ATIO is the first language professionals 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.


The main purpose of the Association is to promote a high level of competence in the fields of translation, conference interpretation, court interpretation and terminology by: providing a collective voice for its members; promoting the professional development of its members; and applying standardized, national criteria to recognize the competence of professional translators, conference interpreters, court interpreters and terminologists.

Certification enhances your professionalism. It proves your credentials and standing in the profession. It shows you have pride in the profession and it can help you find other job opportunities later on.

My degree is from abroad, is a credential assessment by World Education Services (WES) mandatory?

World Education Services is one of the organizations listed on the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentiel website,http://www.cicic.ca/415/credential-assessment-services.canada, which “assists individuals, employers, professionals and organizations regarding foreign credential recognition and the assessment of diplomas and qualifications in Canada.”

How do you measure years of experience?
In the case of translation, the Association requires an average of 100,000 words/year translated in each language combination. Please note, that for example, French to English it one language combination and English to French is another.
How do I prove my experience?
In the case of translation, full-time experience must be attested to by a recent letter of reference from an employer or from each of two clients if you work as an independent/freelance translator.


In order to prove four years of full-time experience in translation, you will have to show —by means of invoices, copies of contracts, letters from clients or employers— that you have translated an average of 100,000 words/year in your language combination.

Please note that voluntary work will not be taken into account.

What should my letters of reference include?
A letter of reference attests to your experience. It should be written by an employer or a client, someone who is familiar with your work. These letters should be written on company letterhead, signed by the referee and include his or her contact details. The letter of reference should indicated the number of words the applicant translated per year per language combination. The letters and experience must be from within the last five years.
Why can’t you tell me NOW if my application will be accepted? I want to be sure that it will be accepted before sending my documents.
The assessment of application is a careful and thorough process. The Association has to make sure that candidates for certification in the different language categories fulfill all requirements. This is in line with the Association’s purpose of promoting a high level of competence.
What is the entrance exam and why should I write it? I am a professional already.
All applicants (translation) must pass the entrance exam, unless you have a degree from an ATIO-recognized institution.
Can I appeal a decision regarding the entrance exam?
However you may reapply one year later. Please note that you may only try the entrance exam twice.
Note that you will required to write the whole exam the next time you take the entrance exam.
Why should I pay a reinstatement fee, I did not use my title last year?
Certified members who are not in good standing for non-payment of dues may reapply subject to the following conditions:
(a) If the application is made within three years of the date they ceased to be in good standing, they may be reinstated upon payment of the amount of dues in arrears. (b) If the application is made three or more years after the date they ceased to be in good standing, they may be readmitted as candidates for certification in their previous professional categories and language combinations, or classifications for conference interpreting. However, to reacquire the status of certified member, they must requalify in accordance with the method provided for each title and language combination sought. If you choose not to pay a reinstatement you will have to complete the whole certification process again.

Candidates for certification who are not in good standing for non-payment of dues may reapply subject to the following conditions:
(a) if the application is made within three years of the date they ceased to be in good standing, they may be reinstated upon payment of the current annual dues plus an administrative fee equivalent to twenty percent of the dues for each year of non-payment. The five- year period to obtain certification shall continue to run from the date of initial admission to the Association.
(b) if the application for readmission is made three years or more after the date they ceased to be in good standing, they must resubmit an application for admission as a candidate for certification in one of the categories. Article 5.01 including 5.01 (d) shall apply. They will then have three years to obtain certification.

I won’t be practising my profession next year, how do I remain a certified member in good standing?
Certified members unable to practise their profession in return for compensation must submit a written request describing the situation and the length of time they expect to be unable to practise. The request must be accompanied by supporting evidence initially and at each renewal.
Certification exam: what is the success rate?
The success rate in the certification exam varies from language combination to language combination. The results for candidates form ATIO are published in InformATIO which is available on the ATIO website.
Can I try the certification exam until I pass?
Candidates for certification in translation have five years in which to become certified in translation, whether by examination or on dossier.
Why is there only one session per year for the certification exam?
The national certification exam in translation is held one a year, simultaneously across Canada.
A lot of work goes into organizing the exam and having the tests marked by professional certified in the same professional category and language combination.
Why is the certification exam still a handwritten exam? Can’t I bring my laptop?
In order to make sure that everybody is treated fairly until the technology become readily available for all languages the exam will continue to be handwritten.
In special circumstances, accommodation can be made for person with disabilities.
Is On-Dossier Certification easier than certification by examination?
The ATIO Committee report presented to CTTIC in October 1996 was absolutely clear on this point: the criteria for the new method, although different, were to be just as stringent as those for the examination, both in fact and in perception. Indeed, these criteria might be seen by some as being more difficult or demanding. In fact, on-dossier certification is hardly an open-door policy; it requires extensive professional experience, proof of the various diplomas, experience, work; confirmation from clients and managers, etc. Just getting a full portfolio together is a formidable task that could even dissuade some candidates.
How does On-Dossier Certification ensure that high professional standards are maintained?
First, the candidate has to be proposed by three certified ATIO members (or another CTTIC member association, or another organization deemed equivalent), 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 would not be just “friends”, but certified professionals who could formally confirm specific facts about and qualities of the candidate.

Once the dossier is to be considered complete, it is forwarded to the On-dossier Certification Committee, which evaluates the contents based on the established criteria, specifically the breadth and nature of experience, diplomas, the relevance of the confirmations from clients, employers and supervisors, the evaluation of the work submitted, the opinions of the three sponsors, if required, and finally an overall judgement accompanied by explanations.

As you can see, the submission of a complete dossier does not in any way guarantee the outcome of the procedure. All items are reviewed by the Committee members and, if required, by outside reviewers.

But could a candidate not simply present work done by another?
Candidates must prove that he or she is indeed the author of the work submitted. If the 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 confirm 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 referees who worked in the booth with him or her, or confirmation from the clients showing that the candidate actually interpreted during a certain conference.

Under this provision it is obvious that a testimonial from a colleague would not be deemed adequate. It is also certain that the Committee will return a dossier that does not contain direct and verifiable proof. Why all these precautions? It’s a question of fairness: certification examination candidates must be certain that if they are asked to prove their identity before going in to sit the examination, candidates for certification on dossier should also provide unequivocal proof that they are the authors of the documents submitted.

Can I use the fact that I passed a professional examination administered by my employer?
Of course! Provision E) of Annex 4 of the Bylaws provides that passing this kind of examination may, after evaluation by the 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.
Why do I have to Become a Candidate for Certification member before submitting my Dossier?
Admission as an Candidate for Certification member is the first stage in the evaluation of certification candidates, no matter which certification method is chosen. In other words, ATIO will only consider candidates for certification who have already met the basic criteria in terms of experience and/or diplomas. You might look at it as a kind of screening!
How long do I have to wait for an answer from the committee?
Remember that there are two aspects involved here: first of all, the dossier examination fee only covers the direct expenses Candidate for Certification with administering the on-dossier certification system, as is the case with the certification examination. Secondly, the study of the dossiers is assigned to volunteer peers across Ontario who have agreed to give some of their time and energy to their professional Association, often to the detriment of their own practice. The combination of these two factors means that a little patience is required!

Based on the four years that this system has been in place, we can tell you that, as a rule, it can take between 1 and 3 months for official languages and up to 5 months for foreign languages.

Who do I contact if I have more questions?
Get in touch with the Secretariat at info@atio.on.ca and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

How can I find a translator on the website?

Please go to the Directory where you can search using various criteria.

Why can't I find the language I need on your website?

ATIO has members working in over 100 language combinations. Unfortunately, we may not have a member that works in the language you are looking for. For more information, please call us at 1-800-234-5030.

What is a certified translation?

Please refer to this information sheet for more information:

What is the difference between a candidate for certification in translation and a certified translator?

Certified members of ATIO will have either successfully passed the CTTIC Certification Examination process in their category, or been accepted through the on-dossier certification procedure. Candidates for Certification are candidates for ATIO certification, admitted on the basis of their education and training or their professional experience. They join in order to acquire the skills and experience that will help them pass the national certification examination or present a complete dossier, for on-dossier certification. Their language combinations are indicated for information only.

How much does it cost to translate a document? Why can't you tell me? Why can't you regulate the rates?
ATIO does not regulate rates. Please contact our members directly for more information on their rates and to receive a quote.
Individual translators’ rates may vary; they are generally calculated by word and some translators may charge a flat fee per document.

Do translators who are members of your Association use a seal on their work?

The use of a seal is not mandatory however ONLY CERTIFIED MEMBERS (and not candidates for certification) are legally entitled to use the seal of the Association.

Protecting the Public

ATIO ensures that the public at large is well served when using the services of language professionals. Through its certification examination and professional standards, we guarantee that our members’ clients and the public receive superior quality work.

Certification Examination

ATIO Certified means members have passed a professional, high stakes exam or undergone thorough vetting through an on dossier procedure, ensuring they are qualified.

Professional Standards

ATIO members must uphold a strict code of professional ethics and conduct.

Discipline Process

Any ATIO member who fails to adhere to the code of ethics or conduct can be sanctioned. For more information, please contact Executive Director, Marc Pandi at 1-800-234-5030, ext, 222.


Do you know what you're looking for?

  • A translator works with the written word.
  • An interpreter works with the spoken word.
  • A terminologist works with terms.

Job Postings

Do you have a job or contract opportunity that you’d like to share with our members? Use ATIO’s job posting service to reach language professionals in your area.