Chartered Institute
of Linguists

CertTrans - a professional benchmark

The CIOL team have been working hard to create a new level 6 translation qualification to meet demand: staff members from different departments explain what the CertTrans means to them

Rob Beswick, Head of Membership

From a membership perspective, I am really pleased to see the development of the CertTrans (Certificate in Translation). For established translators it can be a means to recognition in further languages. At the same time, we know from our membership surveys that it can be hard for people to launch their careers as translators. The CertTrans will be an ideal qualification to develop and progress a career as a language professional and, of course, to take the first steps onto the CIOL membership ladder – all the way to full Chartered Linguist status.

Sam Taylor, CIOLQ Senior Quality and Development Consultant

This has been a labour of love for me! I really enjoy both new qualification development and my role in assuring CIOLQ quality and compliance. The research we did with past candidates and stakeholders showed clearly that there is a need, candidate demand and stakeholder support for what we are now calling the CertTrans.

It is also important to candidates and employers that this qualification is recognised by the UK’s Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual). It is vital for CIOLQ that the quality of our flagship exams is monitored independently and formally recognised by Ofqual. This reassures candidates that any qualifications they take with us are of the highest standard and have consistency, fairness and transparency built in.

The CertTrans provides a recognised credential for those seeking to enter the translation profession and those at the start of their career as professional translators, as well as for those who want to add languages to their portfolio, or enter or progress in the world of work as a professional with proven language skills. It can serve many different needs. Success in the CertTrans means candidates have demonstrated that they can use their languages in a professional and a translation context – and these are vital skills for the economy and for society.

Ela Kwasny-Spechko, CIOLQ Head of Qualifications & Responsible Officer

I am very proud of what the team has achieved here. We are enormously grateful to John Worne for his vision and enthusiasm, to CIOL Council and especially to the ETB (Educational Trust Board) for their advice, support and guidance in defining, specifying and launching this important new qualification. As a lifelong language assessment professional, and the longest-standing member of the CIOLQ team, it feels exciting and exhilarating to be launching a wholly new qualification – especially one for which we think there is such a strong and obvious need.

The CertTrans joins our existing portfolio of professional qualifications, which have stood the test of time and are widely considered benchmark and gold standard qualifications across professions. Our approach is rigorous and in depth, which assures holders of our qualifications that they have the languages skills, techniques and approach to take on a broad range of assignments.

Recent graduates and linguists of all ages, at different stages of their careers, will want to take the CertTrans to demonstrate their professional capabilities. As we all know, one language is never enough, so I look forward to candidates adding further languages to their repertoires in the coming months and years.

John Worne, Chief Executive

Work began in earnest this time last year, following the annual CIOL Council and CIOLQ ETB awayday in April 2021, where we resolved to do more to support early career linguists. The Master’s level (level 7) DipTrans is the gold standard qualification for professional translators – and it has been for over 30 years. As part of managing through the pandemic, we have refreshed and renewed UK and international interest in the DipTrans by moving it wholly online; and candidates from over 30 countries took the exam in January 2022.

However, we felt that there was space to develop a complementary degree-level translation qualification (level 6), which would both be a new professional benchmark for those starting a career as language professionals, and could also be of interest to established translators and DipTrans holders wanting to certify additional and further languages, as well as for those working in, or looking to work in, international organisations.

We also wanted an answer to the challenge faced by many language graduates of how to get started in their career and move from the academic study of languages to their actual use in a professional context. One year on, and after much research, development of a specification, learning outcomes, a mark scheme, governance oversight and entry onto the Ofqual Register of Recognised Qualifications, we can proudly announce the launch of the CIOL Qualifications Level 6 CertTrans, with the first exam session planned for this November.

See ciol.org.uk/ciol-qualifications for further details or if you are interested in taking the CertTrans exam.

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