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Translation qualifications

I’m delighted to report (somewhat belatedly) that earlier this year successfully passed the ITI membership exam and can now call myself a Qualified Member (MITI) of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (I’m already a full member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists). Woop woop (does air punches at her desk)!

Before I get too excited though (complacency is a dangerous trap to fall into, after all), it’s important to take stock of what this ‘qualification’ really means, and what it doesn’t. Whilst MITI status is not a qualification as such, in the same way an MA in Translation is, it’s probably the most widely-recognized mark of experience and expertise across the British translation industry. The criteria for the route I took are:

  • At least 3 years’ translation experience (usually expressed in number of words)
  • A pass in the ITI membership exam, which includes a text of the examiners’ choice (you only get to select the general subject area, so when you do receive the test document it’s a nice – read terrifying – surprise ). The exam also requires you to write a ‘linguistic commentary’ about the translation.

It’s a tough process to get through, as it should be, but MITI status should not be a badge that says a translator is definitely a wondrous human being and is 100% certain to be the best translator in the world ever. To quote a saying (sort of), you’re only as good as your last translation. Incidentally, it doesn’t mean that Associate members of the ITI aren’t just as good. They might even be better in some cases, and just haven’t chosen to upgrade to MITI membership (oh, it costs twice as much as Associate membership, too).

I always seen a lot of debate both offline and in the blogosphere about translation qualifications, and which is the ‘best’ one to get. In general, whilst of course qualifications are no substitute for real, practical experience, I am wholly in favour of more ‘letters after your name’ if they have a clear professional purpose. I will come back to the topic of translation qualifications, and plan to provide a brief overview of MAs vs. the DipTrans.

In the mean time, take a look at There’s Something About Translation for more details of the requirements for MITI status, and information on the Chartered Institute of Linguists’ new Chartered Linguist qualification.  I am also considering applying for Chartered Linguist status at some point in the future, so there’ll probably be more on this later. Watch this space.

Interestingly, a slightly different viewpoint is expressed on Brazen Careerist today. A platform for debate…


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  1. Transubstantiation

    June 19, 2008

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June 19, 2008

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