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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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Rites of Passage: Selecting and Preparing Source Texts for the Certification Exam

September/October 2022 Issue

Ask an ATA certification exam grader to name the most difficult thing about the job, and chances are they’ll reply, “passage selection.” You might wonder what’s so hard about this task. If a group of graders needs a new passage, don’t they just find a random article in an online newspaper, copy and paste a […]

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Level of Performance Targeted by ATA’s Certification Credential

July/August 2022 Issue

In 2020, Knapp & Associates International, Inc., presented its “Review of the ATA Certification Program”1 to ATA’s Board of Directors. This review included a number of recommendations for enhancing the validity and standing of ATA’s certification credential, many of which have already been implemented by the Certification Committee. The following were among the highest priorities […]

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The Certification Exam: In Demand and On Demand!

May/June 2022 Issue

ATA recently launched its second year of offering the certification exam online. In 2021, we began partnering with ExamRoom.AI, an international remote testing platform, to allow candidates to take the exam from home. After some initial hiccups, this proved to be a successful and popular collaboration. In all, 150 candidates took the online exam, whereas […]

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Demystifying ATA’s Certification Exam: Better Off “Literal” or “Free”?

March/April 2022 Issue

A common misconception about ATA’s certification exam is that candidates must translate literally or word-for-word to be successful. Even those who aren’t susceptible to this myth might wonder how much latitude they have when translating a given text. This column will clarify the difference between an excessively literal translation and a precisely accurate one, and […]

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Practical Tips for Taking ATA’S Certification Exam Online

November/December 2021 Issue

You can now take ATA’s certification exam online anywhere, but how does it really work? As a past exam taker, I would like to share some practical tips for those preparing for the online exam.1 Prepping for the Exam Familiarize yourself with ATA’s explanation of error categories, the flowchart for error point decisions, and framework […]

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