Terminology accreditation

Terminology is a highly specialised field and this type of accreditation is accordingly taken less often. Terminology accreditation can be undertaken in combinations of English and one of the other 10 official languages. Candidates are required to work in both directions for this type of accreditation.


What the exam involves

The exam involves the compilation of a technical dictionary to exhibit that the candidate has the requisite skills for this type of work.

  • Candidates have to compile a bilingual, bi-directional technical dictionary in a subject field of their choice. Candidates may indicate a subject field in which they are interested, e.g. natural sciences, biological sciences, human sciences, social sciences, commercial sciences, life sciences, engineering, technology, and sport and recreation, and adequate documentation in this field will be made available to them to complete the assignment.
  • Candidates must excerpt terms in the source language (SL) and provide term equivalents in their mother tongue.
  • The dictionary must contain at least 200 lemmas in the SL and at least 200 lemmas in the target language. The lemmas must be arranged in alphabetical order, complete with appropriate information fields (i.e. explicit and implicit information with appropriate information units).
  • Candidates must define at least 20% (40) core terms in the source language.
  • The dictionary must include appropriate front matter with indications of how the dictionary was compiled and problems experienced in its compilation.
  • Candidates must give an account of the macrostructure and the microstructure of the dictionary and indicate the target group.
  • Candidates must indicate how the user should go about using the dictionary.
  • The dictionary must also contain back matter (i.e. bibliography, names of subject specialists, linguists consulted, etc.). (Note: Although candidates may request some assistance on terminology problems from the Terminology Division of the National Language Service, they should be able to prove that they dealt with the majority of terms on their own. Candidates should include a list of the terms with which assistance was given by the Terminology Division.)
  • Candidates are allowed a period of two weeks to complete the exam.



The dictionary will be assessed by experienced terminologists and language experts on the basis of how well the candidate has complied with the requirements. Markers are required to motivate their decisions regarding the skill and expertise of the candidate.


The dictionary is assessed independently and anonymously by at least two markers. The identity of the candidate also remains secret.


Markers generally include accredited members of the Institute and experts in the languages and fields concerned.



Terminology 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 date on which they will begin the assignment.
  • On that day the invigilator breaks the seal on the exam in the candidate’s presence and gives the exam to the candidate. The invigilator must ensure that the candidate returns the completed exam within the two-week period allowed. 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 14 days.
  • The invigilator must post the completed exam back to the accreditation officer. An electronic copy of the assignment should also be submitted if at all possible (by e-mail).
  • The completed examination must be returned within six weeks 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

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.




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