I want in! How do I become a certified interpreter or translator?


Step 1: Attend a virtual orientation with ATIS, free of charge.

Step 2: Write the associate-level exam, for which there is a fee of $200. You will need to achieve a mark of 70% to pass. The exam is offered twice yearly, once in the spring and once in the fall. The exam—the same for both interpreters and translators—consists of a 200-word text that you will be required to translate. You will have 2 hours to complete the exam. If you pass the exam, you are then eligible to become an associate member of ATIS. The membership fee is $85 per year.

Step 3: Once you become an associate member, you can become a certified interpreter or certified translator (the exams are different for each). To get certified, you can apply through the ON-DOSSIER process or write an exam.

N.B. The ON-DOSSIER process is quite involved, and we recommend that you choose it only if you have extensive experience as an interpreter or a translator. The ON-DOSSIER process does not involve grading/ marking; instead, a panel of commentators determines whether candidates are suitably qualified. If you are interested in this option, let your exam coordinator know, and s/he will provide you with more information.

There is a different exam for each specialization. For example, the exam for translators consists of two 200-word texts to be translated, and you will have three hours to complete it. Interpreters, on the other hand, must decide if they want to do (a) community, (b) Court, (c) medical, or (d) conference interpretation since the exam is different for each. You will need to achieve a mark of 70% to pass. If you pass the exam, you will be certified to practice in every Canadian province and territory except Quebec.

N.B. As of 2023, if the certification exam is for English-to-Other-Language, you will need to pass an English reading comprehension exam before writing the certification exam. In addition, if the certification exam is for Other-Language-to-English, you will need to pass an English grammar and orthography exam (i.e., "correct the errors" type of test) before writing the certification exam.

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