Certification Exam Review

If you feel that an error has been made in the processing or grading of your exam, you may request an exam review. You must request a review within six months of receiving your exam results. An exam review has two possible outcomes:

  1. If processing or grading errors that would alter the outcome are identified, the grade is reversed from Fail to Pass.
  2. If the reviewer upholds the grade of Fail, the candidate receives a fuller explanation of why the exam did not meet the standards for ATA certification.

All review requests are kept confidential. Your identity will not be revealed to those performing the review. Reviews are conducted after the close of the examination year, which runs from January to December.

Review Procedure

  • After scrutinizing all exam-related documents for possible processing errors, copies of the exam are sent to a reviewer to grade the exam again and to evaluate the errors marked by the original graders. The reviewer will then decide to uphold or reverse the grade of Fail.
  • If the reviewer reverses the grade of Fail, the candidate will be awarded certification dated back to the original notice of failure, given all the rights and privileges of certification, and refunded the review fee in full. The candidate's name will be published in The ATA Chronicle along with the names of other recently certified members. No disclosure will ever be made that the certification was awarded based on a review.
  • If the reviewer upholds the grade of Fail, the marking of errors supporting at least the minimum standard for failure will be recorded on a clean review copy of the translation. The nature of the errors will be indicated. The review copy of the failed passages and the original source texts and evaluation summary for those passages will be sent to the candidate. This is the final step for most candidates, and no further information will be supplied to the candidate or anyone else regarding the review.

 

Appeal Certification Exam Review

If you disagree with the outcome of your exam review, you may request to appeal the review. You must request an appeal within six months of receiving your review results. After an appeal is conducted, there is no further recourse available. When you elect to take the exam, request a review, or request an appeal, you agree to abide by the outcome of these procedures.

Appeal Procedure

  • A panel of three graders will consider each appeal but may also consult other graders and outside experts as necessary.
The panel will include:
    • a Certification Committee member or Language Chair to chair the panel, monitor compliance with program policies and procedures, and document the process for record-keeping;
    • the original reviewer or the workgroup Language Chair; and
    • one grader who has not graded this exam before.
The panel will decide whether to uphold or reverse the grade of Fail. The panel's decision is final.

 

  • If the panel reverses the grade of Fail, the candidate will be awarded certification dated back to the original notice of failure, given all the rights and privileges of certification, and refunded the review and appeal fee in full. The candidate's name will be published in The ATA Chronicle along with the names of other recently certified members. No disclosure will ever be made that the certification was awarded based on a review.
  • The Certification Committee reserves the right to disqualify a candidate from the appeal process who
    • does not follow the instructions;
    • attempts to challenge the exam outcome in any way not specifically permitted under ATA's Certification Program policy;
    • includes unprofessional statements (e.g., threats, invective, or personal attacks) in any written or oral communication about the review addressed to ATA Certification Program volunteers or staff.
If the Certification Committee disqualifies a candidate who has paid the appeal fee, the appeal fee only will be refunded.

  • The Certification Program Manager handles all communications from candidates about exam outcomes, reviews, and appeals. Communications addressed to anyone else will not be read or forwarded.

 

How to Request an Appeal

  1. Photocopy the graded review of your exam. (Keep the original review for your records.)
  2. On the copy, insert an asterisk beside each error marking you choose to dispute, and number them in the order they appear.
  3. In a separate document, list each numbered error marking and give specific reasons why you disagree.
    • State why the graders should accept your rendition or penalize it with fewer error points in the context of the exam passage.
    • For renditions marked as translation errors, support your statements with citations from dictionaries and/or other reference materials (complete with publication data). Keep in mind that not all renditions found in a multilingual dictionary apply in a given context.
    • For renditions marked as target-language errors (e.g., grammar, punctuation, spelling, usage), support your statements with citations from reputable usage and style guides and/or other reference materials (complete with publication data).
    • If you cite Internet search results to support your statements, give the complete URL and the date accessed. Quote as much of the content as necessary to establish the context and provide information justifying the authoritative character of the site.
  4. Mark each page of all supporting documentation with the test number that appears in the upper right-hand corner of your exam. Do not identify yourself by name in these materials.
  5. Read and complete the Request to Appeal Exam Review
    • Make sure you read the ATA Review Appeal Policy and sign that you agree to abide by the decision of the panel. This document will go on file at ATA.
    • You may pay the appeal fee by completing the credit card information on the form or by including a check payable to the American Translators Association.

For more information, contact ATA at +1-703-683-6100 or Certification Program Manager.