The Translation Certification Process at a Glance

To become a certified translator Canada through ATIS, you must first be an associate member in good standing of ATIS. This is achieved by attending an information session and passing a translation exam, held generally twice a year.

Certification may then be obtained by either passing the national exam of the Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council (CTTIC), held a few times a year (check the posted schedule for available times and dates) and invigilated by proctors, or presenting a dossier of their work for evaluation.

Candidates can take the exam, or present a dossier, when they have translated the required number of words, or have been employed full-time in translation during the required number of years. Associate members who have a degree in translation must have at least one year of experience. Those without a translation degree must have at least four years of experience.

For official languages (French and English), one year of experience is equivalent to 110,000 words, and one year of experience is equivalent to 30,000 words for other languages. Years of experience are different from the number of years required to take the exam or submit your portfolio. In some cases, one year of experience can be achieved in less than one calendar year. In other cases, one year of experience will take longer than one calendar year.

If you are not able to translate the required number of words through paid work, one way of increasing your word output is to submit translations that you have done on your own, with no other interest than to demonstrate that you are a skillful translator. Another way is to volunteer your services as a translator to various associations. Both types of translation can be included in the dossier for on-dossier certification.

For a complete list of documents to include with your application, please consult the ATIS exam coordinator. Your application must include:

  • Proof of experience, e.g. invoices, letters from clients or proof of employment if you are a full-time translator.
  • Contact information, including mailing and e-mail address and phone number.

We work on an honour system, but ATIS reserves the right to check your proof of experience. Sponsors’ letters may be waived in some cases. Please contact ATIS if you cannot provide sponsors’ letters. Please complete either the Application Form for Certification by Examination or the Application Form for Certification on Dossier and attach all necessary documentation. Send all documents to the ATIS exam co-ordinator at [email protected].

When submitting a dossier, all texts must be of the same source language and the same target language. This language combination is the same as the language combination for which you are an associate member. Even if you are an associate member for more than one language combination, you can apply for certification in only one language combination at a time.

All texts submitted for evaluation must be your own work. If someone else normally revises your translations, submit the translated texts as they read before revision. All texts must be submitted in PDF format. If they were produced using a CAT tool, please submit texts translated using only your translation memory and not one supplied by a client, and with all tags removed.

Do not send all of the texts you have translated over the years, or only documents that reflect work done in one specialized area. As an example, if you translate forms or specialized documents that require translation of the same terms or expressions in a standard format, you should not submit only documents of that nature. In order to be certified, you must demonstrate that you can translate documents that are not repetitions of habitual and form texts.

Every portfolio will be different. Choose 10 to 12 texts approximately 250 words each translated independently (no revisions by another person) that best reflect your abilities as a translator. Make sure you include the source texts for every translation submitted. Supply the evaluators with enough material to allow them to assess your abilities.

The CTTIC exam is held a few times a year. Please consult the ATIS website for exam dates and application deadlines. Dossiers may be sent at any time if you choose the on-dossier process.