Membership – the best way to demonstrate your qualifications & professionalism!
You should definitely consider joining a professional language translation association if you plan to stand out from the crowd as a translator.
“You’re English, you can translate this”
was a phrase I often heard in the past. Today – luckily – more people
realise that translation involves more than simply an understanding of a second
Even so, the online marketplace for German translation and a growing belief in the power of machine translation
is putting downward pressure on prices. Added to that, anyone can call themselves a translator.
Translators have to overcome these obstacles if they want to make a proper living as professional language service providers.
By creating a strong personal brand, specialising in particular translation niches, and demonstrating professionalism through active membership of an official language translation association.
Benefits of membership....
Membership of a language translation association = official recognition
of your abilities & language-related qualifications = reassurance
Membership is a qualification in itself (not everyone can join!).
Many language translation associations notify members of jobs & publish an online directory of their members for clients to search.
Professional support: surveys, information & advice (e.g. average rates, better rates for professional insurance etc.).
Ongoing seminars and courses for continued professional development
Peer recognition is a great feeling and confidence booster!
Events are a great chance to networkand create partnerships.
.... and for translation clients?
Members of a professional language translation association are:
Judged to be qualified by an authoritative body (membership often requires references as well as exams).
Signed up to maintaining professional standards in translation.
If you work in German translation and your language pair is German<>English, the following language translation associations are the most relevant for you:
1. International language translation associations
AITC – International
Association of Conference Translators. All members have demonstrated work experience in conference translating. 3 categories ofmembership according to experience.
EST – European
Society for Translation Studies This language translation association undertakes research into translation & interpreting, and offers a forum for
exchange and dissemination of new ideas and insights into translation studies.
Internationale des Traducteurs = IFT,
International Federation of Translators, an umbrella body for over 100 associations of
translators, interpreters & terminologists from 55 countries, designed to promote professionalism
in the industry (not for individual members).
GALA – Globalization
& Localization Association: International industry association for the
translation, internationalization, localization & globalization industry
Translators without Borders – a non-profit organisation designed to provide free translations for NGOs. Only accept qualified translators. A good one for the CV.
2. Language translation assocations in English-speaking countries
ATA – American
Translators Association: An
absolute mine of useful information for translators & purchasers of
translation services. Members are sent their periodical ATA
Chronicle. The ATA runs its own translation certification exams which
are probably the most widely recognized in the US.
ALTA – American
Literary Translators Association: Awards annual prize for literary translation & has a great blog
NAJIT – The
National Association of Judiciary Interpreters & Translators: Promotes
the work of court interpreters & translators. Newsletter Proteus.
TIG – The
Translators & Interpreters Guild: The national union for translators
& interpreters. Provides a translator referral service.
CIOL – Chartered
Institute of Linguists: The CIOL
promotes the interests of linguists both in the UK and around the world, & runs its own professional
certification exams. They publish a linguist list of members who are available
for work. This language translation association publishes a newsletter, The Linguist, six times a year, and runs online
discussion forums for members. (I’m a member and have taken their Diploma in
ITI – Institute
of Translation & Interpreting: Professional
membership association & standard-setting institute. Referral service for
members, publishes the bi-monthly ITI Bulletin.
ACJT – Canadian
Association of Legal Translators: the website only seems available in French! For holders of a law degree only.
ATIx regional associations: ATIO – Association
of Translators & Interpreters in Ontario (ATIM = Manitoba, ATIS = Saskatchewan, ATIS = Alberta, ATINS = Nova Scotia:, all affiliated with CTTIC) Promotes
the interests of translators & interpreters, and runs exams for the
title of “certified translator” which gives legal recognition of professional
qualification across Canada. Directory of members.
CTTIC – Canadian
Translators, Terminologist and Interpreters Council www.cttic.org National
body representing professional translators, interpreters and terminologists,
contributes to high quality inter-language and intercultural communication.
LTAC – Literary
Translator’s Association of Canada: Advances
status of literary translation in Canada, annual translation award.
Australia & New
AUSIT – Australian
Institute of Interpreters and Translators: National
Australian professional body for interpreters & translators. Publishes quarterly
newsletter, runs workshops & seminars, electronic forum for member
discussions. Regional branches across the country.
NAATI – National
Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters: Sets
and monitors standards for translation & interpretation in Australia. Runs
own tests & officially recognizes qualifications.
NZSTI – New
Zealand Society of Translators & Interpreters: National
body of translators & interpreters, provides networking forum &
represents members' interests.
3. Language translation associations in German-speaking countries
ATICOM – Fachverband der
Berüfsübersetzer und Berufsdolmetscher e. V: Association
of professional translators & interpreters representing their members‘
interests, directory of members available for work.
BDÜ – Bundesverband
der Dolmetscher und Übersetzer e.V = Federal
Association of Interpreters & Translators. Publishes national databank of
around 6,000 qualified translators & interpreters in Germany.
DGÜD – Deutschen
Gesellschaft für Übersetzungs- und Dolmetschwissenschaft = German
Association of Translation & Interpreting Studies. Promoting research into
translation & interpreting.
VDÜ – Verband
deutschsprachiger Übersetzer literarischer und wissenschaftlicher Werke e.V = National
association for German translators of literary &scientific works. Website
VÜD – Verband
der Übersetzer und Dolmetscher e.V = Association
of translators & interpreters. Around 160 members with university degrees
ACCI – Austrian
Association of Certified Court Interpreters: Promotes
the professional & business interests of sworn and certified court interpreters
Universitas – Austrian
Interpreters' and Translators' Association: This
is the primary association representing language professionals in Austria.
Members all hold degrees in translation or translation-related subjects.
ASTTI – Swiss
Association of Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters. Website in
German,Italian and French. Promotes awareness of the industry & its
VZGDÜ – Verband
der Zürcher Gerichtsdolmetscher und -Übersetzer: Association
of court interpreters & translators in Zurich.
Even if you decide that membership is not for you, many of the language
translation association websites above are mines of useful information
on translation matters in general - so go grab yourself some of the benefits!