Introduction

Alan K. Melby
2013 Translation and Interpreting : the International Journal of Translation and Interpreting Research  
This special issue consists of a collection of eleven peer-reviewed articles, an invited commentary, and a book review. All these items are directly or indirectly relevant to certification of translators and/or interpreters. The main research question that ties them all together is what constitutes professional competence for a translator or an interpreter and how to demonstrate it. One thing that everyone seems to agree on is that even an indepth knowledge of translation theory is not
more » ... t to demonstrate professional competence. Thus, working translators are usually more interested in practical applications of theory than in abstract theory. However, the first article in this collection (Marais) points out that any assessment is necessarily based on theory, whether implicit or explicit. If Marais is correct, his thesis has implications for both education and certification, and it would suggest that the theoretical and practical branches of translation studies would do well to interact more closely. The second article (Hlavac) provides a survey of translator and interpreter certification procedures in 21 countries. One conclusion drawn from the research behind this article is that there is actually little consistency in the criteria for certification in various countries. Hlavac raises the question of whether it would be possible to establish common minimum requirements for all certification programs around the world. He notes that over the last decade there has been some convergence between countries that previously relied only on academic degrees as a benchmark of certification and countries that relied mainly on administratively-organized testing as a benchmark. Both academic and externally administered and conferred credentials are now widely recognized as complementary, rather than unrelated attributes. From the macro-level, the process of establishing a common denominator for certification is being led by the implementation of standard practices in certification, such as ISO 17024 (General requirements for bodies operating the certification of persons). A note about terminology is in order. In Australia and some other English-speaking countries, the term accreditation is used when referring to determining the professional competence of an individual; however, in this collection, the term certification is used instead, and accreditation is used to refer to the process of determining whether an organization that certifies translators and/or interpreters has met the requirements of ISO 17024 or some other accreditation standard.
doi:10.12807/ti.105201.2013.r01 fatcat:2l3ghjkmynckdncgo3yashk3qe