Certified interpreters and translators are trained to deal with difficult cultural situations as well as learning the techniques of successful interpretation or translation. Interpreters deal with spoken language, while translators transfer one written language into another. Obtaining your certification will open many new doors of employment for you and give you the credentials you need to successfully work in the field.
Study the language of the discipline in which you want to interpret or translate. Those disciplines include medicine and law in addition to international politics and business. Industry-specific terms and figures of speech must be interpreted or translated faithfully. Also improve your knowledge of the target language's idioms and figures of speech in general so that your overall accuracy increases.
Choose a certification training program, which will help you learn the techniques that professional interpreters and translators use. A training program also will teach you about the ethics involved in translating and interpreting. Applicants find these programs through distant learning, at colleges and universities and at professional workshops. The National Association for Interpretation offers on-site training, and the American Translators Association's website has a list of approved translation and interpretation schools. Boston University and San Francisco State University offer interpretation programs. All these programs should prepare you for the exam at the end of the course that will certify you as an interpreter or a translator. You don't have to take a training course to register for the certification exams, but courses provide guidance about becoming a professional and prepare you for the exams. The National Association for Interpretation offers study material for its test, and the American Translators Association has a practice test on its website.
Register for the NAI or ATA exam.The ATA has education and experience eligibility requirements that must be met before candidates for certification can take the exam. Both have exam fees, and the ATA exam also charges an eligibility form/documents processing fee. Both the NAI and the ATA have continuing education requirements before members can be recertified. The NAI's certification lasts four years and the ATA's three years.
- Check with your state's judicial branch for information about meeting its requirements for court interpreting. Each state's requirements are different.
Leyla Norman has been a writer since 2008 and is a certified English as a second language teacher. She also has a master's degree in development studies and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology.