12 Oct '18
The Growing Climate of Certification
In recent years, more suppliers are requesting and inquiring about certification when sending work or soliciting translation services for tender. Certification is progressing to the stage where it will soon be necessary, and there are ways to ensure the fastest route to the test and to certification. The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO) states that there are three universities in Ontario which offer translation degrees, which means a candidate is exempt from writing the entrance exam and may immediately apply to write the test in their chosen language pair. York University (Glendon College), the University of Ottawa and the Université de Hearst, the only exclusively francophone university-level institution in the province, and a federated school of Laurentian University, are the only higher institutions within Ontario which are recognized by ATIO. The Association does not recognize translation certification programs, as they tend to be compressed and do not have the rigour of a formal translation degree.
In Quebec, Concordia’s Master’s in Translation Studies program was recently recognized by the Ordre des traducteurs, terminologues et interprètes agréés du Québec (OTTIAQ), in 2016. Prior to this, only Concordia’s undergraduate degree was recognized by the provincial certification body.
There are 7 universities in Quebec whose translation programs are recognized by OTTIAQ.
- - Concordia University
- - Université de Montréal
- - Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
- - Université du Québec en Outaouais
- - Université Laval
- - McGill University
- - Université de Sherbooke
Terminology is also taught at several Quebec universities as part of graduate or undergraduate translation programs. OTTIAQ also awards the designation of Certified Terminologist (C. Term.) in Quebec.
Salaried translators generally work for national or international organizations, private firms or agencies. Although many choose to specialize, most of them are generalists. Nearly half of all professional translators are independent contractors or freelancers. Many translators will have training in translation through other agencies such as the Government of Canada or private firms where staff can internally train one another. Some simply start doing freelance work and learn through extensive project experience, and eventually go on to obtain certification, whereas others do not, as they are content with their niche market and clients that they are able to serve.
Translators who are not certified can deliver work that is just as good if not better than those who are certified. It is not formal credentials, but ultimately the dedication, drive and energy that one brings to the task, a combination of knowledge and engagement, and adapting to meet the particular style and terminological preferences of clients.
Nonetheless, federal government contracts frequently insist that translators produce certification in the field of translation or interpretation in order to submit a bid or offer their services. A certificate can not only open doors, it is becoming a fact of life, and more often than not, a mandatory requirement.