ATA Certification Exam Undergoes Changes

02/03/2017 11:51 AM | Meghan McCallum (Administrator)

ATA Certification Exam Undergoes Changes

By Thaís Passos, MATI Director

Becoming ATA certified requires passing a translation exam consisting of two passages of roughly 250 words each. The ATA Certification Program is going through some changes intended to improve accessibility and enhance the value of the ATA Certification Exam. Four major changes went into effect on January 1, 2017:

  1. There are no longer any education or experience requirements. The only requirements are ATA membership and agreement to the ATA Code of Ethics and Professional Practice.
  2. There are only general passages. Candidates are presented with three general passages and must choose two to translate. These are typically commentaries or essay-type articles. The exam will no longer include any medical, technical, or scientific texts or texts on legal, commercial, or financial subjects.
  3. More computerized exam sittings will be offered. Several computerized sittings have already been scheduled for 2017. On computerized exams, candidates can use their own laptops and non-interactive Internet resources, such as electronic dictionaries and glossaries. Candidates may not use CAT tools, translation memories, email, chat rooms, forums, or machine translation tools such as Google Translate. Candidates will save their translations on an ATA-supplied USB drive with grammar and spell check utilities disabled. Candidates may still bring and use their own print resources, and can also opt to handwrite their exam.
  4. Candidates will have more opportunities and accessibility for preparation and practice. In the near future, the ATA Certification Program will make the practice tests available for downloading (practice tests cost $80 per passage for ATA members and $120 per passage for non-members). In addition, the ATA Certification Committee is working to increase the availability of Candidate Preparation Workshops as both live sessions and webinars.

For an up-to-date list of upcoming exam sittings, please visit