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Do you swear?

I do. Mostly when I’m alone and my CAT tool isn’t responding. I wouldn’t do it here, of course. Do you need or feel the need to swear you are a translator, earn a certificate or any other kind of peer-reviewed credential?

I, for one, have a BA in languages (Spanish and German) plus over 20 years living in the country of my source language (Spanish). That has been enough to feed the family and the dog too, so I have never bothered to look any further. However, you might be asking yourself: “Do I need to be certified to translate?” Well, the answer is usually NO. Being good, fast and reliable is the best certificate you could possibly earn. And you will probably not be paid more for being certified.

In fact, the translation market that most of us are participating in is what is called an open shop. In other words, anyone who wants to translate can translate in theory, but of course to be able to translate, you can’t be just anyone. Other professions and trades fall within what is called a closed shop. Doctors, lawyers and accountants, to name a few, need several years of study followed by peer-reviewed approval and a subsequent license to practice. Quite a different story.

However, there are some instances in which you really do need a certificate:

You feel more secure knowing that you have studied and/or passed a test for that piece of paper (or PDF) saying that you are who you say you are and do what you say you do. You might even get to put some letters after your name, which is always cool. DipTrans is the one I’ve seen from UK translators. All of this combined may make you feel more secure, so for that reason alone, it is a valid choice.

Some countries are stricter when it comes to accreditation. I know that German agencies require a certain number of years of study as well as certification for you to be hired by them. There are other countries like Brazil that require court translators to be sworn, meaning that they have to pass a test. As far as I know, the US isn’t big on certification and many times, all you need is to say that you are a competent translator and that you translated the document to the best of your belief followed by a notary’s stamp.

So, for those of you who are certified, does it make a difference? How about for those who have no certification?

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