How Choosing NAATI and ATA Certified Interpretation

Last Updated On: January 24, 2020


NAATI certified, ATA certified, Translators, Interpreters, certified

When choosing an interpreter to perform a translation that will gain 100% acceptance from the agency or organization asking for the interpretation, a National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) interpreter is without a doubt the best choice. This is because the NAATI accreditation system has a strict form of assessment before an interpreter is considered competent to take on interpretation tasks for Australian bodies like the court system, for medical professionals, in schools and other public and private authorities that require accurate communication to take place between people who speak a language other than English such as refugees, asylum seekers, new migrants and their families.

The NAATI Certification System

You can be sure you will get a great interpreter as NAATI’s certification has been designed in a way that it successfully evaluates if a candidate can demonstrate the skills required to practice as an interpreter for Australia’s market. NAATI Certification just gives the peace of mind that anyone who engages an interpreter to help communication between an English and a non-English speaker can effectively interact with one other. NAATI doesn’t work alone but works with professionals in different industries so that minimum standards are set for performance in the key competency areas. A NAATI interpreter will only be certified once he/she has been assessed through tests set by NAATI.


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    There are a series of pathways for those interpreters who want to take advantage of the lucrative interpretation market. Applicants are required to show they can meet the requirements for the certification type prior to taking the NAATI test. These requirements are known as Certification prerequisites.
    NAATI certification permits interpreters to quickly and easily demonstrate to clients and agencies their ability. There are various types of interpreting fields such as medical and legal interpretation which have their own competency expectations as determined by NAATI before interpreters can take an interpreting job. The example below is the competency requirements for a certified interpreter.

    Certified interpreter

    To become a NAATI certified interpreter the following has to be present:

    • To be able to transfer a complex but non-specialised message between a source language and a target language using either spoken or sign language that reflects with accuracy the meaning.
    • Understands and produces 2 languages in different contexts or situations using appropriate but non-specialised language as well as both common and less common expressions.
    • Comprehends how language and culture interact and be able to identify significant nuances and culture-specific facts in both spoken or signed language, and can apply this knowledge to interpreting tasks.
    • Knows and comprehends a broad spectrum of both complex but non-specialised situations, subject areas and current events, including when a specialist of a domain either speak or sign with an audience which is non-specialist.
    • Possesses full understanding and knowledge of relevant codes of ethics and can apply them to situations prevalent in interpreting situations.

    Most organizations in Australia will expect an interpreter to be certified with NAATI. So, if you meet the standards set by NAATI and you pass the certification test then you will receive a certification. After being awarded certification after 3 years you will be required to meet specific criteria set by NAATI if you wish to retain your certification status.

    American Translators Association (ATA) certification

    The ATA Certification process is in place to increase professional standards in the translation industry in the U.S.A. It helps to promote a high standard of individual performance, and it identifies translators who can show they have high levels of professional translation skills. To get ATA certification the candidate has to successfully pass a 3-hour exam in a particular source to target language pair. Of course these days in particular not all language pairs can be tested as they may be languages with few speakers and no exam has been created by the ATA. If this is the case the translator cannot use ATA certification to prove translation competence in that language pair but has to prove his/her ability to translate. There is from time to time communication between NAATI and ATA when establishing standard competencies for certification by the two agencies.
    Overall, anyone needing a translator should seriously consider translators or interpreters who have certification from one of these two agencies which take standards seriously.

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