Accreditation in South Africa

The language profession in South Africa is currently unregulated. This means there is no government requirement or provision for accreditation or any other form of proof of competence. This will change in the near future, as legislation has been passed to establish a language practitioners' council. 


Clients, however, often require assurance that the language practitioner they employ is able to do a good job. For this reason, SATI began a system of voluntary accreditation in late 1990. Only accredited members have voting rights within the Institute.


Accreditation is voluntary, but the system has become widely recognised and is used as a recommendation or prerequisite for job applications by a number of institutions. It should, however, be borne in mind that there are also good language practitioners who have not been accredited – either because they have felt no need to do so or because accreditation is not yet available in their language or discipline.


Accreditation is available only to members of the Institute and can be applied for after three months of membership. If membership of the Institute lapses, accreditation lapses as well. Members need to have certain qualifications and/or levels of experience in order to do an exam or a practice test. Details are given in the pamphlet below.


Although SATI recognises that accreditation is offered by other organisations, the Institute does not accept these for purposes of accreditation with SATI. Members can acquire SATI accreditation ONLY through testing. Academic qualifications are also not considered in the granting of accreditation.


All SATI accreditation is based on practical testing of the candidate’s competence in the discipline and languages concerned. Owing to the historical disadvantages suffered by some South Africans under apartheid, it was decided that SATI accreditation would not be based on formal or academic qualifications, but only on proof of competence in practice. This ensures a level playing field for all candidates.


Accreditation is offered at professional level only. This means that a high standard is required of candidates and that a high percentage do not pass the exams. Over the years it has been shown that it is rare for candidates without a reasonable amount of experience to pass the exams.


A practice test is available in certain disciplines and certain languages, which enables prospective candidates to ascertain whether they are proficient enough to attempt an exam.


The accreditation system is expanded as required and where the necessary resources are available. The following types of accreditation are currently available:

  • Translation
  • Sworn translation
  • Simultaneous (conference) interpreting
  • Language editing
  • Terminology
  • Corporate accreditation (for language offices only)


Candidates who do not pass an accreditation exam may apply to write another only after 12 months.


You can download a general pamphlet on the accreditation system for individuals by clicking on the link below.

Further information is available on the other menu items under Accreditation.




SATI accreditation for individuals (27112 bytes)




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