FAQs

Translators, what do they do?

A translator is a professional who translates written materials from one language into another while maintaining the style and meaning of the original work. 

Translation: Getting it Right is an informative publication by the American Translators Association.

Interpreting: Getting it Right is an informative publication by the American Translators Association.

Community interpreters, what do they do?

A community interpreter is a professional responsible for enabling a professional and a client with very different backgrounds and perceptions to orally communicate to their mutual satisfaction.

The role of a community interpreter is to deliver, as faithfully as possible, messages transmitted between persons who do not speak English or French and service providers in a diverse range of educational, social and community service settings.

Court interpreters, what do they do?

A court interpreter is a professional who plays an essential role in civil society, by enabling people with limited knowledge of languages spoken in legal and other administrative tribunals to participate in court and other legal proceedings.

Medical interpreters, what do they do?

A medical interpreter is a professional who facilitates communication between patients and their physicians, nurses, lab technicians and other healthcare providers.

Conference interpreters, what do they do?

A conference interpreter is a language professional who conveys the meaning of a speaker's message from one language into another, naturally and fluently, adopting the delivery, tone and convictions of the speaker. This is a highly specialized field and usually involves the use of specialized equipment.

Terminologist, what do they do?

A terminologist is a professional specializing in terminological research, who identifies a term designating a concept specific to a field of use or who establishes the definition to be associated with a term found in context.

What do Translator/Interpreters charge?

Each professional sets his/her own rates. It depends on such factors as the services provided, the complexity of the task, and timing. Always explain in detail the type of services you need, the requirements you must meet, and any information that may be important for the professional to provide you with an accurate cost and delivery time.

What if there are no Translators in my language combination listed?

Please click here to search in the directories of our sister provincial associations.

I need a certified translation of my document. What do I do?

Only a professional certified translator can provide a certified translation of a document. Certification involves preparing an official signed translator’s declaration and rubber-stamping or embossing each page of the document with the translator's professional seal. In other words, a certified translation comes with a guarantee of quality, because the translator's skills and experience have been certified by an official governing body (one of the provincial associations in Canada that is a member of CTTIC).

I need to translate my passport. Do I need a certified translator for that?

Yes, you do. Passport Canada only accepts translations that are produced by a certified translator whose certification can be confirmed by a stamp or membership number with a professional translation association. Please see this website  for more information.

I am applying for citizenship and I need my documents translated. What do I do?

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, documents translated by translators who are certified members in good standing of one of the provincial or territorial organizations of translators and interpreters of Canada do not need to supply an affidavit. It means that the translator only needs to attach his or her Translator's Declaration to the translated and original documents.

Any other translator needs to attach an affidavit (a sworn declaration made by the translator before a notary or commissioner for oaths).

I need my driver's license translated. Do I need a certified translator for that?

Not necessarily. In Alberta, an ATIA certified or associate translator is qualified to prepare the translation of your driver's license. The translator will provide a Translator's Declaration with the translation.

I need my document translated and notarized. What do I do?

Contact the translator in the appropriate language combination and let him/her know that you need your translations notarized. Any translator can provide a notarized translation. The only official aspect in the process is that the translator swears an oath and signs an affidavit before a notary. The notary simply affirms that the translator has given his/her word that the translation is a true representation of the original, but does not assess the quality of the work.

What is a notary public?

In Alberta, a Notary Public administers oaths and affirmations, takes and receives affidavits and statutory declarations, and witnesses and authenticates the execution of certain classes of documents for use within Alberta, as well as jurisdictions outside Alberta.

What is a Commissioner for Oaths?

In Alberta, a Commissioner of Oath administers oaths and commission affidavits, affirmations and statutory declarations in and for Alberta only.

If you need to provide a certified true copy of a document, you will need to use a Notary Public to prepare the copy from the original document. A Commissioner for Oaths in Alberta cannot certify true copies.

Do I need a translation agency to translate my documents?

Translation agencies are companies that offer translation services in many language combinations, and work as intermediaries between the final user (you) and the translator. They will charge you an additional fee over the translator’s payment. You can contact a Certified Translator directly from ATIA’s directory, without using an intermediary translation agency. 

Please bear in mind that some translation agencies do not work with Certified Translators. If you decide to work with a translation agency, make sure to ask for your documents to be translated by an ATIA-Certified Translator, in order to guarantee quality and confidentiality.

I have a multi-lingual project.  Do I need a translation agency?

In the past, members with different language combinations have successfully worked together in multi-lingual projects for one sole client.  The professionalism of our members allows clients to work with the peace of mind that the documents will be treated with confidentiality and care.  If your company has an employee assigned to the project, he/she can work directly with our members, without an intermediary agency.  Translation agencies work as intermediaries between the final user (you) and the translator, and they will charge an additional fee over the translator’s payment. Please keep in mind that agencies are not obliged to use certified translators.  If you decide to use the services of a translation agency, make sure to ask for your documents to be translated by a Certified Translator to guarantee quality and confidentiality.

My documents are highly confidential.  How can I trust that my information will be kept as such?

All our members are bound by a Code of Ethics that protects your confidentiality.  In the unlikely event that a member violates ATIA’s Code of Ethics, the member will be subjected to disciplinary action that may include the member’s definitive expulsion from the Association.

Can my community interpreter work as my court interpreter?

No.  Alberta Courts only accepts ATIA members that are Certified or Associate Court Interpreters.  Apart from the basic knowledge and skills of a Community Interpreter, a Court Interpreter possesses the legal knowledge and additional interpreting skills required in a legal setting.

Can my community interpreter translate my birth certificate or marriage certificate?

No, unless your Community Interpreter is also a Certified Translator. Canada Immigration and Citizenship and other federal and provincial agencies accept translations prepared by Certified Translators only. Our Community Interpreter assessment process does not assess the member’s written skills. Community Interpreters are aware of this limitation and are bound by a Code of Ethics not to accept translation assignments unless they are also certified translators with ATIA.

I had my documents translated a couple of years ago, but the Certified Translator’s stamp expired last year.  Are my documents still valid?

Yes. The expiry date indicates that the translator was a member of ATIA in good standing when your documents were translated. Your documents are valid and accepted by any governmental agency, such as CIC or Alberta Registries.

Do all Certified Translators and Interpreters carry insurance on errors and omissions?

No.  Insurance is optional and not mandatory to our members.  Only 20% of our members carry errors and omissions insurance.  If your project requires insurance, please ask your translator if he/she has insurance.

I had a document translated by a translator, but it was rejected when I submitted it. What do I do?

If the translator is a member of ATIA, please submit an official complaint to our association. You will need to provide detailed information for your complaint to move forward. Our members are bound by a Code of Ethics. Please contact us for further information.

If the translator is not a member of ATIA, you should contact the translator and ask for a refund. If the translator refuses to refund your money, you may file a claim with the Province of Alberta's Small Claims Courts and advise the translator of your claim. Even though the claim can take time, you may succeed with your claim and send a powerful message to unscrupulous individuals.