In the Pacific Northwest, and specifically in Washington State, two translation certification programs are relevant.
The American Translators Association is a professional association that certifies members who are translators.
The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services has a Language Testing and Certification Unit that has been certifying translators since 1996. This certification program is regulated by WAC 388-03.
These certifications meet the requirements of the Federal government on this page.
The following table compares these programs.
ATA and WA DSHS Translation certifications
|Pass rate||Under 20% for most language pairs, higher for others. |
See ATA Certification Pass Rates 2003-2013, 2004-2014, and Statistical Trends for details.
|Texts to translate||Choose two texts out of three general texts.||Choose three texts out of four technical texts in the areas of social, legal, and medical services.|
|Length of text||250 to 300||200 each|
|Total source word count||500 to 600||600|
|Time alloted||3 hours||2 hours|
|References||May bring paper dictionaries. Limited access to Internet resources. Dictionaries may not be shared with other test takers.||May bring paper dictionaries. Dictionaries may be shared with other test takers.|
|Where||Proctored at ATA conference and by chapters and affiliates.||Administered by Washington State government (Department of Social and Health Services), in Washington State.|
|Language pairs||English into 15 languages.|
14 languages into English.
|English into Cambodian, Chinese, Korean, Laotian, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.|
|Prerequisites||ATA membership @$190/yr||18 years old
High school diploma
|Accreditation requirements||1 hour of ethics during the first year of certification||Free Translator Orientation Webinar 2:13 hrs
Free Ethics Webinar 2:50 hrs
|Renewal||20 CE credits over 3 years|
ATA membership @$190/yr.
|Free, 20 DSHS/LTC approved continuing education credits every 4 years of which 1 of approved ethics per calendar year.|
|Registration link||Certification Exam Overview||Schedule a Test
|Examination guidelines|| Error categories||Professional Language Certification Examination Manual
|Find a translator||ATA Online Directories||Find Fully or Provisionally Certified/Authorized Interpreters and Translators|