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Practice Test or Sneak Preview?

May/June 2024 Issue

By David Stephenson In recent years, we in the Certification Program have repeatedly emphasized the value of the practice test as a way to prepare for the certification exam and gauge one’s prospects of success. This has fallen on receptive ears, as the volume of practice tests ordered and completed has increased steadily over the […]

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Who Are ATA’s Certification Graders?

March/April 2024 Issue

By David Stephenson Currently, ATA’s Certification Program enlists the services of more than 130 ATA members, who are commonly known as “graders.” That name, however, doesn’t do full justice to the range of activities performed by these individuals on behalf of ATA and the program. Who are these people, how are they selected and trained, […]

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How I Became a Member of the “ATA Class of 2023”

January/February 2024 Issue

By Melanie Meyer I had been toying with the thought of becoming ATA-certified since I started translating full-time in 2010 and becoming an ATA member in 2011. The main thing holding me back was the intimidating statistics. Not only had I heard about the low passing rate of less than 20%, but I knew some […]

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Why Isn’t ATA Certification Offered in My Language?

November/December 2023 Issue

By David Stephenson ATA currently offers certification in 34 language pairs, but there’s always room for more as long as certain criteria are met. As a member-driven organization, ATA provides support for establishing certification in new language pairs, but the work required to reach this milestone must be done by members who work in those […]

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The Knapp Review Three Years On: Upward and Onward!

September/October 2023 Issue

By David Stephenson In early 2020, ATA’s Board engaged Knapp & Associates International, Inc., a firm specializing in certification and credentialing, to perform a review of the Certification Program. Besides presenting an opinion on “decoupling” (making ATA certification independent of ATA membership)1, Knapp also made more than 30 recommendations for improving ATA’s certification system. That […]

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Certification Pass Rates 2011–2021

May/June 2023 Issue

By Geoffrey S. Koby It has been several years since statistics on the Certification Program’s pass rates have been published. The most recent previous set was 2004-2014. This article compares that set to the most recent set of 11 years of complete data (2011–2021). To describe the results effectively and avoid distortion, the information has […]

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Keys to Success: Exam Preparation Workshops for Spanish<>English Translators

March/April 2023 Issue

By Diego Mansilla and Holly Mikkelson ATA’s certification exam is a rigorous test of professional-level translation skills, and with good reason. Despite the common misconception that being bilingual is enough to make you a translator, we practitioners know how difficult it is to become a proficient professional translator. The exam has a relatively low pass […]

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Improving Exam Accessibility

January/February 2023 Issue

By David Stephenson As the April 1st beginning of the certification exam year draws near, it’s a good time to look at the progress we’ve made in improving accessibility to the exam. To recall: as recently as 2015, all exams were administered in physical sittings and were handwritten. Fast forward to 2022, when the exam […]

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“I Failed the Practice Test. Now What?”

November/December 2022 Issue

By David Stephenson By now most people are aware that taking a practice test is a highly effective way to assess one’s readiness to take ATA’s certification exam. Each practice test is a former exam passage that’s evaluated by a member of the same team that grades the actual exam, applying the same grading standards […]

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