Most importantly, there’s much more to being a NAATI accredited translator than just speaking another language fluently. Yes, bi-lingual language skills are crucial, but possessing other skills like good grammar, cultural understanding and excellent general knowledge is vital. Some translators also specialise in certain areas such as medical, law or finance.
Many people who sit the NAATI exam have undergone prior language training. It is important to note that this is not essential, however training equips the NAATI translator with theories and thought processes that are extremely helpful when professionally translating. This training can include, TAFE courses, Post Graduate Degrees and short courses, all of which aid the NAATI translator in establishing a better understanding of how to convey meaning and sense across language and cultures.
To become an accredited NAATI translator, the NAATI exam must be taken. Each exam is set in a specific translation direction. For example, English to Greek or vice versa. If a native English speaker becomes accredited in translating into Greek, it doesn’t mean they’re qualified to translate in the other direction; in this case, the translator must also take the exam from Greek to English.
The duration of the exam is 3 hours, which includes the translation of two texts (approximately 250 words each) and answering two ethical questions. NAATI ensures that the translators they give accreditation to are not only linguistic specialists, but also ethically responsible. The exam is then cross-marked and if there is a large discrepancy, is marked by a third examiner.
Essentially, it’s no easy feat to become a NAATI accredited translator and it takes not only linguistic skills, but also a passion for culture and a professional outlook to obtain accreditation.