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How to Become a Certified Translator

Professionals in the workforce earn their reputation in many ways, but credentials can provide authentication of someone’s achievements. For those who work in the translation field, becoming a certified translator and attaining certifications can help you stand out in your career. Credentials help set you apart in from competitors and also demonstrate a commitment to your field of study.

Kent State University’s M.A. in Translation can put you on a rewarding career path, and one that can be augmented by way of ATA certification.

How to Get Your American Translators Association Certification to Become a Certified Translator

You are only allowed to take the ATA exam once a year per language combination, so successfully preparing is a crucial element to certified translation. You may, however, take the exam in a different language combination in the same year. The current passing rate is less than 20%, so passing the ATA is surely no easy feat.

A few day-of exam tips include software requirements, printed resources, and ID specifications, among other daily test preparation habits one may have.


The ATA exam was designed to test your translation abilities at a professional level. The three-hour exam for certified translation features three different passages, each 225-275 words in length. Throughout the proctored exam, you must translate two of the three passages to the best of your ability.

To officially become a certified translator, you must:

  • Make sure your language(s) are supported by the ATA exam (listed below)
  • Become a member of the ATA (for at least 4 weeks prior to testing) and take their pledge of ethics
  • Pay the costs of the translator certification
  • Take the ATA certification exam
  • Pass the exam

The following language translations are offered through the ATA exam:

  • English into Chinese
  • English into Croatian
  • English into Dutch
  • English into Finnish
  • English into French
  • English into German
  • English into Hungarian
  • English into Italian
  • English into Japanese
  • English into Polish
  • English into Portuguese
  • English into Russian
  • English into Spanish
  • English into Swedish
  • English into Ukrainian
  • Arabic into English
  • Chinese into English
  • Croatian into English
  • Dutch into English
  • French into English
  • German into English
  • Italian into English
  • Japanese into English
  • Polish into English
  • Portuguese into English
  • Russian into English
  • Spanish into English
  • Swedish into English
  • Ukrainian into English

Contact Us with Questions on Certified Translation

If you are wondering how to become a certified translator, Kent State can help you get on the right path. Our department is committed to helping you plan your future and discuss the right options for your skills and interests.

Visit our online M.A. in Translation page for key insights on our program, and be sure to reach out to us with any questions or to apply. We look forward to assisting you and putting you on the career path to become a certified translator.