The ATA certification exam is challenging. The current overall pass rate is below 20%. But it's also an invaluable, long-term investment in yourself and your career.
The exam is about more than proficiency. Before you sign up to take the test, learn about the skills being tested, the grading process, and the pass-fail only results.
The pre-requisites for taking the exam are a combination of education, work experience, and language proficiency.
Taking the ATA exam practice test is optional, but strongly encouraged. It's an excellent way to measure your readiness for the exam.
This is a three-hour, proctored, open book exam. Two out of three passages, 225 to 275 words each, must be translated.
You may register for the exam once your eligibility has been confirmed. The application and fee must be received by ATA at least two weeks prior to the exam date
Exam sites are chosen by ATA chapters, local groups, and other sponsors. Some exam sittings close registration early because of limited seating.
You may bring and use printed reference materials such as dictionaries, thesauruses, printouts, and note cards. Candidates may not share resources.
Your exam result will be either pass or fail. There is no grade, and the exam will not be returned to you.
The procedure for processing the exams and performing the evaluations assures anonymity, objectivity, and consistently applied error marking.
The ATA standard for passing the certification exam is a level of obvious competence with some room for growth—roughly equivalent to a Level 3 on the Interagency Language Roundtable scale.
Many translators find it difficult to believe they failed the exam. You have six months from the notification date to request an exam review by a third grader.