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What is CATI?

CATI, or the Carolina Association of Translators and Interpreters is an association of working translators and interpreters in North and South Carolina. CATI is a chapter of the American Translators Association. CATI is not a translation company or agency. Membership in CATI is open to anyone interested in translation or interpretation who supports the aims of the association. See "The Scope and Purpose of CATI" for a listing of these aims.

Where can I find a professional translator or interpreter?

Please search CATI's online Directory of Professional Translators and Interpreters. Please do not call the CATI office for individual referrals. If you do not have time to peruse the individual listings, or do not see a listing for the language you need, please contact one of our corporate members. They will be happy to assist you with your project. Or look in the Yellow Pages under "Translators." Please note that all terms of business must be arranged directly with the individual or corporate member. Also please note that the information in the online Directory is provided by the members themselves. Inclusion of a member does not constitute an endorsement, either by CATI or its directors and officers. CATI does not evaluate, control or guarantee its members' work.

Does CATI have any publications I can subscribe to?

As an active CATI member, you will receive a subscription to the My CATI Blog (previously the CATI Quarterly) with posts focusing on translation and interpretation in the Carolinas and beyond, in-depth articles, and features. CATI also publishes "Translation: Your Access to the World," a leaflet designed to guide the prospective client in selecting and working with professional translators.

What activities does CATI provide for its members?

Local groups meet in some metropolitan areas. Their activities include informative programs relevant to translating and interpreting, as well as networking social events. Networking is an important benefit of participation. It is possible to call another member in your region or language and get together on an informal basis. Workshops, seminars and our annual conference provide for professional development and contact with a wider circle of colleagues. ATA certification examinations, sponsored once each year, are one way for members to demonstrate their translation competence. Only ATA members may sit for these exams. Please see the website of the American Translators Association for more information.

Is CATI's membership year the same as the calendar year?

Yes. The dues are for the current year, ending December 31. Dues are prorated for new individual and institutional members joining after July 1 but before November 1. New individual, institutional, and corporate members joining after November 1 pay for the coming full year and receive the remainder of the current year free of charge. For the complete dues schedule for new members, click here (and scroll down to CATI Membership Types and Fees).

If I am a member of the American Translators Association (ATA) am I then automatically a member of CATI, as its local chapter?

No. ATA membership is separate from CATI membership. If you are a member of ATA you must join CATI separately.

Where can I get certified as a translator or interpreter?

  • ATA has established a certification program to enable individual translators to demonstrate that they meet professional standards. Translators who pass a written examination are certified by ATA in a specific language pair and direction (from or into English). For further information, please contact the ATA directly for membership and other information. Their website is www.atanet.org.
  • For interpreters, there is a U.S. (federal) certification for court interpreters in three languages (Spanish, Haitian-Creole, Navajo).
  • There is a state court certification exam available through the National Center for State Court's Consortium (of which North Carolina is a member, but not South Carolina) in nine languages (Arabic, Cantonese, Haitian-Creole, Hmong, Korean, Laotian, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese), with others being added as tests are developed and graders trained.
  • If you are interested in the state court certification exam in Spanish, please contact the NC Interpreter Certification Project, at the Administrative Office of the Courts in Raleigh, NC, at (919) 715-1672. If you need information on other language exams, please contact the National Center for State Courts at (757) 259-1831.
  • If you are interested in the Consortium program for Court Interpreters, which is part of the National Center for State Courts, please visit their website at: www.ncsconline.org/D_Research/CourtInterp.html. This will give you information on all the states that participate in the Consortium, of which NC is one. It will also give you certification exam dates in other states that have reciprocity with NC.
  • The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) has developed a "national interpretation examination." Check out their website: www.najit.org.

Can anyone who is bilingual become a translator or interpreter?

Yes, but... please see Looking Beyond Bilingualism

How do I get started as a translator or interpreter?

Please see Looking Beyond Bilingualism.

Where can I study to become an interpreter or translator?

  • The ATA puts out a publication called Translation and Interpretation Programs in North America: A Survey, by Dr. William M. Park, that lists all the teaching institutions, both public and private, that offer either individual classes or full programs on translation and interpretation. It can be purchased from the ATA for around $25.00.
  • In North Carolina, the Department of Languages and Culture Studies at UNC Charlotte offers an undergraduate Certificate in Translating (CT) in English<>French, English<>German, and English<>Spanish language combinations. At the graduate level, it offers a Master of Arts in Spanish with an 18-24 credit-hour track in Translating and Translation Studies (TTS). For information, visit www.uncc.edu or call the main department office at (704) 687-2337.
  • In South Carolina, The University of Charleston offers a Certificate program (Master's level) in court interpretation. Contact the Graduate School Office at (843) 953-5614 or e-mail to gradsch@cofc.edu.
  • The Agnese Haury Institute for Court Interpretation gives intensive 3-week courses in Spanish only, every July at the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. Contact them at (850) 621-3615 or e-mail to ncitrp@pop.u.arizona.edu.
  • For individual practice audio tapes and transcripts for consecutive and simultaneous interpretation, see the excellent materials offered in Spanish and Korean by ACEBO of Spreckles, California. Locally, contact JCB Associates in Atlanta, GA, telephone (404) 373-3483  for price lists and order forms, or fax them at (404) 378-9608.
  • If you are interested in the NC program for Court Interpreters, see the NC Administrative Office of the Courts website: www.nccourts.org/Citizens/CPrograms/Foreign/Default.asp. This site also lists the state and federal court interpreters certified and available for work in NC.
  • If you are interested in taking community/social services interpreting courses, contact Marie Miranda Robles, AHEC Training Coordinator, e-mail: marie.Miranda-Robles@ncmail.net or call her direct line (919) 431-1639, at the Office of Minority Health of the Dept. of Health and Human Services. There are three levels and these are given in certain key cities around the state. These courses do not provide a certification, simply a certificate of attendance, nothing more. The Wake Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is one of nine AHEC centers located throughout North Carolina and is affiliated with the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program of the School of Medicine of the University of North Carolina.
  • Call the Wake AHEC at (919) 350-8547or visit their website at www.wakeahec.org.
  • For individual practice audio tapes and CD-ROMs and transcripts for consecutive and simultaneous interpretation, see the excellent materials offered in Spanish and Korean by ACEBO of Spreckles, California (www.acebo.com). Locally, contact: JCB Associates in Atlanta, GA, telephone (404) 373-3483for price lists and order forms, or fax them at (404) 378-9608.
  • The Agnese Haury Institute for Court Interpretation gives intensive 3-week courses in Spanish only, every July at the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. Contact them at (850) 621-3615 or e-mail to ncitrp@pop.u.arizona.edu.
  • Some community colleges in NC are beginning to offer translation and interpretation courses in Spanish as sequels to language study. Call your local CC and check their offerings out carefully.

What should I charge for my translation or interpretation work?

Like in any business in a free market, what you charge is negotiated between you and your client. Just for your information, translations are usually charged by the number of words in the target language (occasionally in the source language); in Europe, translations are charged by the number of lines in the target language. Translations are almost never charged by the page. Interpretations are charged by the hour or by the day, if the job is for a whole day or is located out of town.

Some of the things you want to consider in estimating your cost for a translation are:

  • Language (due to supply and demand, some languages pay less or more than others).
  • Difficulty of the text (how much research time will be involved, do you have the appropriate dictionaries, who will edit your translation, how much information and help with the client provide).
  • Turnaround time of job (how long is the text, is there a rush deadline, do you have to stay up all night to finish it, do you have ample time to do it correctly).
  • Is this for a translation company or a direct client (obviously, a translation company will pay you less than a direct client, as they have to bear all the costs of marketing, translating, editing, desk-top publishing, collecting, etc., etc.).
  • Hardware/software (do you have the equipment necessary for the job, do you know how to use it, what is the client/translation company requiring in terms of the format of the finished product).
  • Skill/experience (how well do you know the subject, is it your specialty or not, is this your 1st job or your 500th , what special skills do you bring to this job)

When estimating your cost for an interpreting job, consider the following:

  • Is the job for consecutive or simultaneous interpreting (do you know how to interpret simultaneously, do you have equipment for simultaneous interpretation, will you charge the client for providing this equipment, who is going to partner you, is the client getting another interpreter or should you)?
  • Is the job for a business meeting, a court case or a medical case (do you have the appropriate certifications or proof of ability and qualifications)?
  • Are you properly familiar with the subject matter that the client needs (how much material will the client provide so you can study, how much research will you have to do on your own)?
  • Is the job in town or out of town (is the client paying for your travel expenses and travel time, is a long trip worth it to you in terms of family members or pets/plants that must be looked after while you are gone)?
  • Where is the job taking place (some places around the country/world are more expensive than others, can you combine this job with a holiday, do you really want to go to that city/country, is it safe to go)?
  • Will all of your travel expenses be paid for by the client (airfare, hotel, meals, mileage, parking, ground transportation, travel time), as well as your daily/hourly fee?

Be aware that in some states or cities, professional fees are higher than in others, depending on the market there; i.e., rural areas typically pay less than urban areas. If you are interpreting for the courts, the state or federal court usually has assigned amounts it will pay for interpreting and/or mileage and you will have to accept those or not do the job. Each time you accept an interpreting job be sure and ask who is to be invoiced and how quickly you can expect payment, so you don't get the nasty shock of finding that you have just "volunteered" because there is no budget to pay interpreters! Remember, this is a business!