Translators Associations North America: ATIO

Tradition in translation

Translators Associations North America: ATIOThe Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO) is the oldest organisation joining together translators, conference interpreters, court interpreters and terminologists in Canada. It was founded in 1920, with the name “Association Technologique de Langue Française d’ Ottawa”. The following year, it was incorporated under Ontario Letters Patent.

In 1962, the translators association adopted the current designation. ATIO was also the first translation association in the world to have its certified members considered professionals by law. In February 1989, certified members of ATIO were granted a reserved title by the Province of Ontario, through the Association of Translators and Interpreters Act.

The main purpose of the Ontario translators association is “to promote a high level of competence in the fields of translation, conference interpretation, court interpretation and terminology”. For this to be accomplished, ATIO wishes to be its members’ collective voice, at the same time as it promotes their professional development. Furthermore, the organisation wants to apply standardised, national criteria to recognise the competence of professional translators, conference interpreters, court interpreters and terminologists.

ATIO belongs to a network of sister provincial translation associations, all of them associates of the Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council (CTTIC), which is a member of the International Translators Federation (FIT). FIT is a worldwide organisation composed of many national translators associations that has earned the status of official UNESCO consultative agency.

ATIO prides itself in being able to help other people’s businesses in several ways. The directory of members – which includes freelancers, employees of translation companies, etc. – is a valuable tool for those who are seeking language services. In order to obtain a copy, you should get in touch with the association’s secretariat. They also provide clients and the general public with information on several aspects and working conditions of the professions represented by the translation association.

In addition, ATIO provides a job offer distribution service that helps employers to contact professionals directly when they wish to recruit translators, interpreters or terminologists. All job offers received by the association are forwarded directly to all its members.

ATIO’s arbitration committee plays an advisory role. Both members and clients can call on to it to settle any disputes concerning translation, interpretation or terminology issues.

The translators association from Ontario ensures that “the public at large is served”. Through its professional standards and certification examination, it guarantees that its members’ clients as well as the public receive “superior quality work”.

ATIO has professional development programmes available both in Ottawa and in Toronto.

On-dossier Certification

The Canadian translation association is an organisation of certified professionals. In order to request certification by dossier, you must be a candidate for certification of ATIO. If you wish to submit a request for certification by dossier, you must first obtain the status of candidate for certification in the relevant category.

On-dossier certification is a new method, intended for practising professionals who can provide evidence of at least five years of full-time experience (or two years in case they hold a honour’s bachelor degree or equivalent in their occupational category). The assessment does not rely solely on a single time-limited examination but rather on an entire portfolio. This file must include substantial and varied examples of work produced by the candidate during his regular work either as a translator, interpreter (conference or court) or terminologist.

The translators association committee presented a report to CTTIC in October 1996, explaining the advantages of on-dossier certification over certification by examination. The document was very clear in one point: “the criteria for the new method, although different, were to be just as stringent as those for the examination, both in fact and in perception”. According to ATIO, “these criteria might be seen by some as being more difficult or demanding”. The translation association states that “on-dossier certification is hardly an open-door policy; it requires extensive professional experience, proof of the various diplomas, experience, work; confirmation from clients and managers, etc”. The simple getting of a portfolio together might prove to be such a formidable task that it “could even dissuade some candidates”.

Candidates for on-dossier certification must be proposed by three certified members of the translators association (or another CTTIC member organisation, or another association deemed equivalent). The proposers are certified in the same language combination as the candidate. These sponsors demonstrate, amongst other things, their knowledge of the candidate’s professional activities (quantitative and qualitative). By this, ATIO wishes to ensure that sponsors are not just “friends” but certified professionals who can answer specific questions concerning the candidate’s skills.

The dossier, once completed, is assessed by the on-dossier certification committee. The members of the committee will evaluate its content based on established criteria, “specifically the breadth and nature of experience, diplomas, the relevance of the confirmations from clients, employers and supervisors, the evaluation of the work submitted, the opinions of the three sponsors, if required, and finally an overall judgement accompanied by explanations”.

Keep in mind that Canada’s two main languages are English (58.8 % of the population) and French (23.2 %). In Ontario, there are over 12 million inhabitants, the large majority of which speak English. Around the world, there are around 328 million native English speakers (the actual figures are estimated to be much higher), whereas French native speakers are about 125 millions.

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