Translation accreditation

Translation accreditation is available in combinations of all 11 of the official languages, as well as a range of foreign languages that includes French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. Prospective candidates who are uncertain should check with the SATI office whether accreditation is available in their particular language combination.


In certain cases where adequate expertise is not readily available locally, the Institute may arrange for candidates to be tested under the accreditation scheme of other associations that they deem to be compatible with SATI accreditation. In such cases, the form of testing and the fees involved may differ from SATI’s general accreditation. At present this applies to testing for translation in Arabic, Chinese and Russian, which is carried out in association with the Australian accreditation authority, NAATI.


What the exam involves

  • The translation accreditation examination is a written examination.
  • Three questions out of approximately eight, covering a variety of fields, have to be completed.
  • One question (a general text) is compulsory.
  • The main objective is to test the final translation product that the candidate can present.
  • Candidates are therefore allowed 24 hours to complete the exam.
  • Candidates are also free to use all and any sources that they may have available. They may not, however, consult another person.


Criteria for assessment

Examinations are assessed on the basis of a system of major and minor errors originally drawn up by the American Translators Association. Major and minor errors are defined as follows:

  • Major errors: Gross mistranslation, in which the meaning of the original word or phrase is lost altogether omission of vital words or other information insertion of information not contained in the original inclusion of alternate translations, where the translator should have made a choice and any important failure in target-language grammar.
  • Minor errors: Mistranslation that distorts somewhat, but does not wholly falsify, the intent of the original omission of words that contribute only slightly to meaning presentation of alternate translations where the terms offered are synonymous or nearly so and ‘inelegance’ in target-language grammar.


To pass the exam a candidate must have:

  • No more than 20 minor errors in the exam as a whole
  • No more than 10 minor errors in any one text
  • No more than one major error in the exam as a whole
  • No more than six minor errors in a text that contains a major error


Two or more major errors in one text, or one major error and seven minor errors in a text, means that one fails the examination as a whole.



Examination scripts are submitted to two markers and are marked independently and anonymously. The identity of the candidate also remains secret. If both examiners pass a candidate, they pass if both fail the candidate, they fail. In the event of one examiner passing and the other failing a candidate, the script is submitted to a third examiner, whose decision is final. The papers are also moderated by the examinations officer.


Markers are generally accredited members of the Institute, but in certain cases it is necessary to use the services of other markers. The Institute then makes sure that such persons are appropriately qualified to undertake the assessment and understand the basis on which the assessment should be done. The persons utilised would be university lecturers and reputable practitioners, for example.



Translation accreditation is operated on a distance basis. This means the following:

  • Candidates must provide the name of a responsible person to act as invigilator (any responsible adult who is not related to or living with the candidate this can be a colleague, a superior at work, a lecturer, a neighbour, etc.).
  • The examination paper is sent to the invigilator. When it has been received, the invigilator should inform the candidate and agree on a day on which the exam will be written.
  • The invigilator does not need to sit with the candidate all the time they are writing. They must break the seal on the exam in the candidate’s presence, give the exam to the candidate and ensure that the candidate returns the completed exam within 24 hours. They must then witness the statement (included in the package) by the candidate to the effect that they have complied with the requirements and seal the script and other documentation in an envelope in the candidate’s presence, ready for return to the Institute.
  • Candidates may work on the examination for up to 24 hours. They may not have the examination paper in their possession for more than 24 hours.
  • The invigilator must post the completed exam back to the examinations officer. An electronic copy of the translations should also be submitted if at all possible (by e-mail).
  • The completed examination must be returned within one month of being posted to the invigilator.



The marking process may unfortunately take several months, as markers are not always readily available. Results are conveyed to candidates by e-mail or post as soon as practicable. Candidates who pass are issued with a certificate indicating the details of their accreditation and may then use the appropriate abbreviations behind their name to indicate their professional accredited status.


Further information

Download more detailed information from the links below.

Sign into the Members Only area and then go to Accreditation > Application forms for an application form for an exam.

Any queries can be directed to the SATI office.




General guidelines on translation accreditation (16330 bytes)

Majors and minors (24551 bytes)

Translation accreditation marking framework (33659 bytes)

Overview of general translation accreditation (pptx) (1543194 bytes)




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