Translation Certification Study Resources
Please note that many links are external. They were verified in February 2018, but I, Helen Eby, am not responsible for the maintenance of external sites. Please email me if any of these links are not accurate.
What is a translation?
- Translator and Interpreter Descriptions – 2016-03-05
- ILR SKILL LEVEL DESCRIPTIONS FOR TRANSLATION PERFORMANCE
- Canadian definitions of the professions by the Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council
Helpful resources for study
- Translation checklist – Helen’s view of what makes a good translation
- Helen’s ATA translation into Spanish style guide
- Common Errors Found in the English>Spanish Certification Exam – published in the ATA Chronicle in September 2019 by Mercedes De la Rosa-Sherman, ATA Certification Committee member and grader of ATA English > Spanish exams for over 10 years.
- How to set up a document as a table.
- Terminology database worksheet
- Death by 1000 Cuts – how to pass the exam
- Analyzing the Message – a book review on Eugene Nida
- Take the Message and Jump! by Christiane Nord, posted on ATA Savvy Newcomer
- Thoughts on translation history and translation teaching, from a review Helen Eby wrote on a book by Edgar Moros, published in the ATA Spanish Language Division Intercambios Online blog and reblogged on The Savvy Newcomer
From the ATA Certification program
- ATA Certification Exam Overview
- Framework for Standardized Error Marking of Translations
- ATA Style Guide for Translation Exams (Into-English Grading Standards) updated in 2017
- ATA Tips for Candidates
- Guidelines for ATA Exam Candidates (Computerized)
Gaucha Translations version
Exam registration and pass rates
- ATA Certification Registration Form
- ATA Certification Pass Rates 2003-2013, 2004-2014, and Statistical Trends, by Geoffrey S. Koby, reblogged on ATA Savvy Newcomer
ATA Computerized exam
- Online resource list
- Differences between ATA written and keyboarded exams – a personal account by Helen Eby, published on The Savvy Newcomer on January 10, 2017
Not allowed in the exam, but very useful in daily work:
From the WA DSHS Certification program
- Professional Language Certification Examination Manual – State of Washington Department of Social and Health Services. Full details on the certification program are on this page.
Steps for terminology research
- Research the meaning of the term in the source language in a monolingual dictionary,
- Think independently of a term that would fit in the target language,
- Look the potential target term up in a monolingual dictionary in the target language.
- Make sure that the dictionaries in question are up to date, online, and give examples of usage in context.
- If you use a bilingual dictionary, follow the steps above anyway.
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus Online
- Merriam-Webster Visual Dictionary Online
- American Heritage Dictionary
- Synonym, a lexical database for the English language
- Corpus of contemporary English – COCA. Please note that you can’t register with a .com website. You are also highly encouraged to pay a $25 annual donation for individual use for unlimited access.
- Wordnet – a lexical database for English by Princeton University. Free.
- Chicago Manual of Style – one-month free trial, subscription after that
- CMOS Shop Talk for Students
- Chicago Manual of Style proofreaders’ marks
- Chicago Manual of Style Guidelines Bar Chart – link verified January 29, 2020.
- AP Stylebook – for purchase, has online access tools
- Mother Jones’ Style Guide
- EASE Guidelines for Authors and Translators of Scientific Articles to be Published in English. A free resource from the European Association of Science Editors. This link leads to the guidelines in 28 languages.
- University of Washington accessibility resources
- Section 508 accessibility requirements for digital content
Other writing resources
- Copy-Editors’ Knowledge Base, by Katherine O’Moore-Klopf
- Guide to Grammar and Writing
- The Punctuation Guide
- How to write well for the United Nations
- Daily writing tips
- Grant writing resources – in case you ever have to translate a grant.
- Google NGram Viewer. Good for comparing how much something is used, and even at what time in history it was used. You can even do this at the ATA exam. What you can’t do is use Google Translate.
- Diagramming sentences – an intro from Capital Community College
- Diccionario Clave
- Diccionario del español de México – includes links to spelling, punctuation, and other topics.
- Diccionario de ideas afines
- Diccionario de la Lengua Española – the latest update of the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española
- Corpus del español del Siglo XXI (CORPES)
- Sinónimos y antónimos
- Abreviaturas convencionales más comunes en español según la RAE
- Manual de estilo AP – subscription based online tool
- Principales novedades de la última edición de la Ortografía de la lengua española (2010) (artículo de la RAE)
- Diccionario panhispánico de dudas
- Cambios de la ortografía de la RAE del 2010 – por Helen Eby, publicado en ¡Al rescate del español!
- Enclave RAE: por una tarifa anual, todos los recursos de ASALE en un sitio web.
- Abreviaturas convencionales más comunes en español según la RAE
- Siglas, según Fundeu
- ¡Al rescate del español! (Recursos)
- ILR Spanish Roadmap
- Cursos de Cálamo y Cran – corrección de estilo, redacción, etc. Muchos en línea.
- Introducción a la corrección de estilo – MOOC de dos semanas gratuito por Mexico Digital. 11 de julio a 5 de agosto de 2016
- ATA Spanish Division resources
- Símbolos de corrección de estilo en español
- Principios de redacción del español
- Word Reference
- Word Magic
- Google Translate and Proz are not approved resources for the ATA computerized exam. No interactive resource (where you can ask a live question on a forum) is approved. The resources listed above are OK.
- Click here to see the official ATA guidelines for computerized exams.
- 5 Steps to Plain Language, from the Center for Plain Language
- NIH Plain Language training site
- Plain Language in the Sciences – from www.plainlanguage.gov
- Readability score: text – how to measure how readable your text is. This is just a starting point!
- Programa INFLESZ – a Creative Commons Spanish readability score program
- Analizador de legibilidad de texto: legible.es
Este incluye el Inflesz y varios otros. Es un punto de partida.
Copy Editing Resources
- UC San Diego Extension – Copy editing certificate
- UC Berkeley Extension – Professional Sequence in Editing (Certificate program)
- Poynter News University Certificate in Editing – discount for ACES members
- Definitions of skills and roles of people involved in publications, from the EFA
- Copyeditors’ Knowledge Base: http://www.kokedit.com/ckb.php
Canada (includes certification)
- Editors Canada: Definitions of Editorial Skills
- Copy editing certification – available from Editors Canada. Courses in the United States do not issue certification. They only issue Certificates of Successful Completion.
- Editing Certificate, from Simon Fraser University
- Plain Language Certificate, from Simon Fraser University – overlaps with Editing Certificate
Medical (AMWA has a certification program)
- How to become a medical editor – a blog post with links and steps to improve your medical editing skills, which will make you a better translator of medical texts.
- Johns Hopkins Masters or Certificate in Science Writing (Online with 7 to 10 day residency)
- Medical Writing and Editing Certificate – University of Chicago Graham School (online)
- American Medical Writers Association Certificates
- AMA Manual of Style – I believe medical translators should submit documents in such a way that medical copy editors do not have to update them to meet AMA guidelines.
Check the American Bar Association blog on Legal Writing. Bryan Garner shows up a lot in this blog. He is one of the driving forces for clear writing in the legal field, and is an author of the Chicago Manual of Style. He has written the following books, among others:
- The Redbook, a Manual on Legal Style
- Black’s Law Dictionary
- HBR Guide to Better Business Writing. Engage readers. Tighten and brighten. Make your case.
- The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation
Tools to produce clean documents
Note: These tools may not be used at the ATA exam.
- Words n Sync: a set of macros to clean documents.
- PerfectIt: a set of macros by Intelligent Editing
- Grammar Checker comparison, by Serenity Software (another grammar checker)
- Macros – training and sample macros on how to use them by Archive Publications. Here is a video by the author on how to do a macro.
Resources from other translation certification programs
- Translation Test State Dept sample questions
- US Department of State – Translating. See tabs at the bottom on Guidance.
- US Department of State – Link to Application Form is on this page.
- How to prepare for the DipTrans test – with sample graded papers
- Canadian Translators Certification page – see the links on the translation exam: The Candidate’s Guide and the Marker’s Guide.
See the information on the role of translators.
What do we mean by “main language”?
At the UN, “main language” generally refers to the language of an individual’s higher education. For linguists outside the UN, on the other hand, “main language” is usually taken to mean the “target language” into which an individual works.
- What to expect at a UN Translator exam
- Translator job copied from UN site on January 4 2018
- Spanish translation handbook, 2012 update
- UN Editorial Manual, 1983 (searchable version)
- Writing for the UN – a tutorial
Other training on translation, technology, and other issues
- Rafa Lombardino teaches on translation technology and other issues.
- Intralingo online courses on Spanish to English literary translation
- Fundamentals for Translation English/Español, by Eta Trabing
- See the ATA Member-to-Member services for additional help.
- See the Education-Courses heading on the Resources page of the ATA Savvy Newcomer website
- New York University Masters in Translation and Diploma programs (online)
- There is a listing of college programs on the NAJIT resources page