Certification by way of mentorship

Through the mentorship program, candidates work with experienced certified translators who provide guidance and help them obtain the official recognition of their abilities, certification.Amentor is an experienced certified translator with at least five years of experience. The mentor is certified by a Canadian professional translators' association in the language combination in which the candidate is seeking certification, and accepted as a mentor by the CTINB.

There are two types of mentorship targeting employees of a translation service and self-employed translators respectively. The mentorship program is open to any CTINB candidate for certification who has at least two years' work experience in translation.>Each candidate will submit a total of at least 30,000 words to the mentor. Normally, a rate of approximately 5000 words per month (which may be divided into several submissions) over a period of six months will be expected. During this period, the mentor will meet with the candidate at least once a month to offer feedback, advice and guidance.


Candidates for certification wishing to participate in the mentorship program must have either:
a. a university degree in translation or a related field and at least two years of relevant full-time experience or the equivalent of 200,000 words translated in the past two years.
b. at least four years of proven, relevant full-time experience or the equivalent of 400,000  words translated within the last four years. At the end of this period, the mentor will make one of three recommendations:

  1. That the candidate be certified.
  2. That the candidate not be certified.
  3. That the mentorship be extended.The cost to the participant is $600.

The CTTIC Certification Exam


The Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council (CTTIC), the umbrella organization for all the provincial and territorial associations of translators, terminologists, and interpreters, administers a certification exam in written translation once a year, in April. All candidates across Canada write the exam on the same day. Certification exams for court and conference interpreters and for terminologists are organized on an irregular basis. This article deals mainly with the translation exam. However, all CTINB members are notified of all certification exams about two months prior to the registration deadline and can obtain more information from the CTINB certification exam coordinator ( ctinb@nbnet.nb.ca). Please note that the Act governing the CTINB does not include a court interpreter category and therefore the CTINB does not organize court interpretation exams.The translation exam is offered in a wide variety of language combinations, although the two official language combinations are by far the most popular. The CTTIC cannot guarantee a certification exam in every desired language combination. It must first determine whether qualified markers are available.

Eligibility for Registration

In New Brunswick, only CTINB members in good standing (i.e., those who have paid their dues) are eligible to register for the certification exam. In addition, article 10(b.1) of the CTINB Bylaws stipulates that in order to register for the exam, new candidates for certification must have applied for this membership status at least six months prior to the exam registration deadline established by the CTINB. The reason for this requirement is to allow time to organize an admission exam if necessary.

As well, candidates for certification wishing to register for the certification exam must have either:

a. university degree in translation or a related field and at least two years of relevant full-time experience or the equivalent of 200,000 words translated in the past two years;


b. at least four years of proven, relevant full-time experience or the equivalent of 400,000 words translated within the last four years.

The reason for this requirement is to preserve the portability of the title of certified translator, certified terminologist, or certified interpreter from one province to another across Canada.

Also according to the CTINB Bylaws, the names of candidates for certification who have not become certified after five years are removed from the register of members, unless the CTINB Board decides otherwise. Those whose names have been removed must wait at least one year before re-applying for membership as candidates for certification.

The registration fee is $367.25 (CTTIC taxes and CTINB management fees included) for the on-site certification exam and $423.75 (CTTIC taxes and CTINB management fees included) for the on-line certification exam

Exam Procedures

The translation exam is written by hand, in special numbered booklets. The CTTIC and the markers do not receive the candidates' names, only the numbered booklets. It is up to each provincial exam coordinator to match the numbers with the candidates' names and send them the results after marking. This system guarantees the candidates' anonymity.

The exam lasts three hours. Each candidate is required to translate two texts of about 200 words each. The first text is compulsory for all candidates, whereas for the second one, they have a choice between two texts. All three source texts are general in nature, but deal with different topics. Candidates may bring any dictionaries or written reference materials they wish. If the source texts contain specialized terminology not found in a standard dictionary, this will be taken into account during the marking process. The pass mark is 70.

The CTINB always offers at least two exam sessions, one in Fredericton and one in Moncton. Sessions may also be organized in other communities if warranted by the number of candidates registered.

Preparing for the Exam

In recent years, the CTINB has organized a preparation workshop for candidates writing the exam in the two official-language combinations. The workshop is offered free of charge. Using texts from previous exams, the facilitator gives candidates the opportunity to translate short passages and points out problem areas.

Also, candidates can obtain past exam texts from the certification exam coordinator ( ctinb@nbnet.nb.ca) to help them prepare for the exam.


After the exam, the candidates' papers are returned to the CTTIC office, where the process of organizing marking centres begins. Each exam is evaluated by a team of at least two markers, using a pre-established marking guide. The markers must agree on the candidate's final score.

Candidates can expect to receive the exam results in June or July. Those who do not pass will receive a marking sheet containing a few general comments on their performance and some examples of the weaknesses in their translations. They will also be informed of their actual mark to help them decide whether it is worthwhile to appeal the result. The deadline for appeals and the required fee will be specified in the letter informing the candidates of their marks. Candidates may ask to see their corrected exam before deciding whether or not to appeal.

Successful candidates will receive a certified member's certificate issued by the CTINB.


In the event of an appeal, the candidate's translations are submitted to an independent third marker (fees apply), who may either re-mark the paper or uphold the original markers' decision. The appeal decision is final.

Certification on Dossier

As you are most likely aware, the CTINB has been accepting applications for certification on dossier since 1998. This certification method will no doubt please several people, because even though the standardised CTTIC exam still has a role to play in assessing the professional skills of future certified members of the CTINB, it does not necessarily suit everyone. Here are a few details for professionals who are thinking of applying but who, for various reasons, are still hesitant to do so.

What is certification on dossier?

Certification on dossier is a certification method that enables candidates to apply for the title of certified translator, interpreter or terminologist without having to sit the traditional exam, i.e., the standardised CTTIC exam. These individuals must present a dossier detailing their qualifications and professional achievements. Each dossier is assessed by a peer committee, which reports to the CTINB.  The fee for dossier examination ($375).

Who is eligible for this method of certification?

Any CTINB candidate for certification who meets the following criteria:

a. Holds a university degree in translation or a related field and has at least two years of relevant full-time experience or the equivalent of 200,000 words translated in the past two years;


b. Possesses at least four years of proven, relevant full-time experience or the equivalent of 400,000 words translated within the last four years.

Are standards for certification on dossier the same for all professions?

Yes. Standards for certification on dossier are similar for all categories (translators, interpreters and terminologists). In addition, in order to be able to submit a dossier, the candidate has to be admitted as a candidate for certification of the CTINB. Only those applications that have met the minimum criteria first will be accepted.

What should the dossier include?

The dossier must include the application form (pdf) along with the dossier examination fee ($375) a curriculum vitae and a signed copy of the Declaration form. Copies of diplomas, certificates and transcripts, certified true to the originals, must accompany the application. To establish his or her experience, the candidate must submit confirmations of the period of employment from employers or clients, substantial and varied examples of work, as well as proofs and testimonials from clients or employers showing that the candidate is indeed the author of the work submitted for evaluation. The candidate can also submit proof of success in professional exams and copies of other documents that could serve to support his application (diplomas, certificates, confirmations, etc.). This may seem tedious and complicated, but if you think about it carefully, all language professionals who have been practicing for a few years already have or can easily obtain the documents, confirmations and supporting letters required to prepare a dossier.

Is certification on dossier by the CTINB recognised by the other professional associations?

Yes. As in the case of certification by examination, CTTIC member associations recognise members who have been certified on dossier.

What is the procedure for submitting a dossier?

To submit a dossier, it is first necessary to obtain an application form and the document entitled Certification on Dossier: Regulations and Procedures (pdf).  On the form, candidates provide personal information and details of their training, experience, professional record, sponsors and referees. Then, to put a dossier together, they must make sure they meet the criteria listed in the document on regulations and procedures. After collecting everything to be included in their dossier, candidates send it to the CTINB in a single envelope to the following address:

Certification on dossier coordinator

P.O. Box 427
Fredericton, New Brunswick
E3B 4Z9

What is the difference between a sponsor and a referee?

Sponsors, who are certified members of a recognised association (CTINB, OTTIAQ, ATIO or another), demonstrate, among other things, their knowledge of the candidate's professional activity. The CTINB thus ensures that sponsors are not simply "friends" but certified professionals who can give formal confirmation of the candidate's activity and qualities. A referee is an employer, reviser or client who is very closely familiar with the candidate's work and who can confirm its nature and quality. It is recommended that the support of three referees be obtained before the collaboration of three sponsors is sought.

How long does one have to wait before receiving an answer?

The application is only considered once the dossier is deemed complete and the fee has been paid. Dossiers are studied by a committee made up of certified CTINB members who devote time and energy to the Corporation. Naturally, there is no question of a sponsor or referee being called on to study the dossier of a candidate he has sponsored or whose application he has supported. When a dossier is considered complete, it can take three to six months before the evaluation committee announces its decision. This is quite normal, considering the importance of the process and the job to be done. The Certification on Dossier Committee carries out its evaluation based on the established criteria, in particular the breadth and nature of experience, diplomas, evaluation of work submitted, and the opinions of the three sponsors and three referees. Once the committee has accepted a candidate's application, it recommends certification to the CTINB, which delivers a certification certificate similar in every respect to the one received by candidates who pass the CTTIC exam. A candidate who rejected despite a complete dossier has two options: to can re-apply, filling in the gaps noted by the evaluation committee and paying the dossier examination fee again, or, for candidates who consider that their dossier did not receive the attention it deserves, to can appeal the decision to the CTINB Board. The fee for submitting an appeal is $80. This route to certification offered by the CTINB should enable a greater number of practicing professionals, especially those who hesitate to sit the standardised exam, to join the ranks of certified members of their Corporation.