English <> Spanish Translation Certification by Teleconference

See the Syllabus for a detailed schedule.

Instructor Bios

Online resource list

To register, please email gaucha@gauchatranslations.com. Prices are listed at the bottom of this page.

The ATA exam has a pass rate of under 20%. For Spanish into English, it is 10.64%, and for English into Spanish it is 11.61%. Why work to pass this test? Because the 2014 ATA compensation survey shows that certified translators earn an average of $10,000 more per year than non-certified translators. Helen Eby has found that with adequate preparation, having met certain prerequisites, candidates can have a much higher rate of success. This course is designed to prepare candidates for the ATA Spanish certification exams. However, it also covers translation best practices, techniques to review a translation, issues that challenge translators, useful reference materials, and experience in teamwork. The goal is to provide a well-rounded preparation for professional work after passing the ATA certification exam. This is not a lecture series. It is an interactive, homework-based training with weekly teleconferences to discuss progress and provide input based on translation theory. Attendance and homework are critical to getting the most learning from this course. Helen Eby and Daniela Guanipa co-teach this course and are available for one-on-one consultation at their discretion.


We can only translate what we can understand and what we can write. Therefore, solid writing skills in writing are expected. The Spanish writing class is given in the fall to prepare students for the translation class.

Who is this class for?

There is an admission test before acceptance to the class because this is the final step for preparation for the ATA Certification exam. Therefore, participants are expected to have a background in translation or interpreting and demonstrate good writing and language transfer skills before admission.  Many participants are certified interpreters or have studied translation as a certificate program or a graduate program, and most have experience in the field. Many have already taken the ATA exam or the practice test. Some are interpreters who want to improve their translation skills and in turn improve their interpreting skills. Interpreters often provide transcription-translation services, so translation skills are important.

This is a Gaucha Translations program, not an ATA program. Helen Eby is not an ATA Certification Exam Grader. The text written on this website, the blog posts are written by the instructors and other materials reflect the opinion of the instructors, not the view of ATA unless otherwise expressed explicitly. Gaucha Translations and the instructors make no guarantees of participants passing any particular exam because passing an exam depends on many variables. As a matter of fact, no instructor ever guarantees that all students will pass the class final exam!

Thursdays from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM, Pacific Time from January 10 to May 23, 2019.

Registration for 2019 closed

To sign up for 2020, please email gaucha@gauchatranslations.com.

CE Credits for 2019

  • 10 language-specific CE credits granted by Court Language Access Services (Oregon) for Oregon Court Interpreters
  • 10 CEU for WA AOC for Washington state credentialed interpreters
  • 1.5 CEU per session attended for WA DSHS, #163 (if participant attends all 17 sessions, 17×1.5=25.5)

Technical requirements

  • Computer with good internet connection (participants will be entering answers on their computers on a regular basis)
  • Headset (using speakers for audio creates echoes for the other listeners)
  • Microphone (all participants will be interacting live on their microphones)

How does the program work?

This program meets online. See the Syllabus for a detailed schedule. Login details will be sent to registered participants.

The program involves a combination of homework assignments, class participation, and guest speakers. Class participation is key. Some sessions will be led by guest speakers. Their bios can be found in the link above, and the dates are listed in the Syllabus. The other sessions will be led by Daniela Guanipa and Helen Eby.

Homework assignments are done in several steps.

  1. Homework translation is assigned.
  2. Students are set up in translation/reviewer pairs.
  3. Each member of the pair does an independent translation and reviews the partner’s work after doing their own translation. We learn to spot our own mistakes by learning how to spot other people’s mistakes. We also learn how to think of creative solutions by seeing what others have done. At first, students find this difficult. Towards the end, they are comfortable with the process and understand the ATA grading criteria.
  4. The reviewed translation is submitted to the instructors 2 days before class.
  5. The instructors review the homework and integrate it into the lesson plan.
  6. Pairs are changed every few weeks.

Highly recommended books

Other shorter and very helpful resources

  • Ortografía escolar de la lengua española. In 63 pages, it covers most of what is needed for spelling and punctuation. It does not cover stylistic issues such as use of italics.
  • Gramática súper fácil de la lengua española, de Leonardo Gómez Torrego. In 64 pages, it covers the most common mistakes in Spanish writing.
  • Style guide for Spanish writing, by Helen Eby. Online.
  • Verb tenses and their use in Spanish, by Helen Eby. Online.
  • Diccionario del español de México. It includes guides to spelling and grammar.

Cost for this training

There is a discount for members of professional associations such as the American Translators Association or other professional associations for interpreters, translators or copy editors.

Price per month (4 payments) $225 $200
Total for 4 months $900 $800
Discounted price for payment in full $800 $720

Washington State DSHS Document Translator Certification Exam and ATA Certification exam compared

Costs involved in taking the ATA certification exam:


What we expect the participants to accomplish

  • Understand the ATA grading scale in greater depth, and internalize it so they can “think like a grader.”
  • Transfer the skills they acquire to their daily work.
  • Identify their own strengths and weaknesses in translation, and evaluate which language pair is stronger.
  • Make a plan of future steps for improvement in translation.
  • Understand the results of the ATA Practice test when they receive them so they can take steps for improvement before taking an ATA certification exam.

The program does not provide

  • A guarantee that participants will pass their Spanish translation certification exams. No program can ever make that promise! See this article for pass rates for the ATA exam.
  • A series of lectures with no participant involvement.


Register For Translation Training

Registration for 2019 open.

To sign up, please email gaucha@gauchatranslations.com.