ATA Certified

Today (October 17th, 2017), I’ve learned that I’ve become a certified translator (#530856 – English to Spanish) by the American Translators Association:

ATA Certification

Founded in 1959, the American Translators Association (ATA) is the voice of interpreters and translators in the United States of America. This professional association has nearly 11,000 members in more than 95 countries. ATA’s primary goals include fostering and supporting the professional development of translators and interpreters and promoting the translation and interpreting professions.

A passion for communication and foreign languages led me to pursue professional translation. My career began in 2004 when I started working for Deutsche Bank. Since then, I’ve been working for more than fourteen years on contracts and reports, documents and certificates, manuals, fiction, marketing, software, and websites.

READ: Experience

Although I founded BPM Traducciones in 2011, I had only been able to pursue freelance translation and management part-time. This was because I always had salaried jobs that occupied most of my time. Fortunately, most of my jobs included communicating with clients in several languages, which would lead at times to translations and corrections.

However, after seven years of working at Banco Sabadell, I was feeling stuck in a monotonous job. I wasn’t learning anything new, and possibilities seemed to vanish. Most importantly, I realized that I wasn’t in charge of my professional career. I couldn’t rely anymore on an employer that didn’t care about me. I had placed my hopes and dreams in the wrong place.

‘I am thankful to all those who said no to me. It’s because of them I did it myself.’ – Albert Einstein

My personal circumstances brought me from Barcelona to Chicago in 2016. I decided this would be my chance to commit myself to a full-time career as a freelance translator. After all, I had decided at age 14 that I’d study to become a translator. Finally, I had understood that fear was preventing me from trying. Endless possibilities were awaiting. I could choose the clients myself, so: new country, new approach!

We’re always told that whenever we want different results, we can’t continue doing things as we did before. Change is not easy. It takes time and courage to get out of the comfort zone. It may hurt at first. Fear can be a powerful tool, mainly when used by a [bad] manager at work. It’s also comfortable to rely on a stable, effortless job that pays the bills every month.

Some people believe that one can’t like his/her job. While I think that paying one’s dues/bills is essential, happiness needs to come first. We only have one life, and we’re meant to make the best of it. I certainly don’t want to be one of those that reach retirement age and realize that they have spent most of their lives complaining about work. My father (of blessed memory) was one of them.

After I quit the bank to focus on my freelance career, I began preparing for my move to America. Since I was going to start anew, I chose self-employment to increase my income and enjoy the work.


Before I started seeking new clients to work with, I chose to become a member of the ATA. Among other benefits, it allowed me to take the exam to become a certified translator. ATA certification is one of the industry’s most respected and recognized credentials. It seeks to elevate professional standards, enhance individual performance, and recognize translators who possess the knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality translations.

To earn ATA certification, a translator must pass a challenging three-hour exam, which comprises three text passages (two out of the three passages must be translated). The exam assesses the language skills of a professional translator: comprehension of the source-language text, translation techniques, and writing in the target language. The current overall pass rate is below 20%.

I took the exam for the first time in the summer of 2016. The exam wasn’t difficult at all. Unfortunately, it had to be a hand-written exam. This meant that one could only rely on paper dictionaries and glossaries. I failed, but I learned how to do it well the next time. A year later, I was ready for a retake. This time, it was computerized. I brought my laptop and used approved electronic resources. The second time around, I passed!

In the meantime, I got my bachelor’s degree recognized by the American University System. I earned this 4-year degree in Translation and Interpreting from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). I majored in Translation from English into Catalan and Spanish, and minored in Linguistic and Cultural Studies in French, German and Russian.

Since relocating to America, I’ve been happily working. Not only as a translator but also as an editor. I mostly do work from English to Spanish, and from Catalan to Spanish. Occasionally, I’ve done some work from Spanish to English as well. I’ve even begun writing articles for one of my favorite magazines. My professional services also include teaching Spanish and Catalan.

My clientele now includes companies like Nike, Dell, GoPro, Intel, Google, American Jewish University, Deluxe, SDL and Stratus Video. You can trust my expertise to contribute to your development. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Some weeks later, the ATA Chronicle included me on their November/December 2017 issue:

ATA Chronicle - New Members (Nov/Dec 2017 issue)

4 thoughts on “ATA Certified

Share your Words