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Certification – Rules



ABRATES has established a certification program to formally recognize the professional competence of its members in translating from one specific language into another.

Certification is granted upon approval of the candidate in an exam taken under controlled conditions.

Certification is available to professionals who are members in good standing of ABRATES, for the language pairs listed in publications of ABRATES.

Benefits of Certification

Certification is the objective evidence of the translator’s professional competence before clients and colleagues.

Certified translators may refer to their certification in their CVs, business cards, websites, and other promotional materials, always indicating the specific language combination.


Any member with dues paid up one month prior to the date of the exam are eligible to take the exam.


Certified members who have reached 60 years of age and continue to be members of ABRATES, i.e., with dues paid up, are exempt from retaking the exam.

Certification Committee and Board of Examiners

A Board of Examiners, consisting of professionals renowned in their specific areas of specialization, translators or non-translators, will be appointed.


Registration for the certification exams will follow the biennial schedule of the exam sittings. Sittings will be held once every two years at dates to be determined by the Board of Directors. The schedule will be published by ABRATES with sufficient time in advance. Candidates will be registered upon payment of a fee to be determined by the Board of Directors and published by ABRATES with sufficient time in advance. The fee is to cover all administrative expenses related to the exams. Candidates may register for only ONE LANGUAGE PAIR per exam.

Exam Sittings

For each specific language pair, the candidates will have three hours to translate three out of the five passages presented, of approximately 300 words each in the following subject matter areas:

  • From a foreign language to Portuguese: general, medical-scientific, technical, legal-commercial, and literary.
  • From Portuguese to a foreign language: general, medical-scientific, technical, legal-commercial, and journalism.

Candidates will have to select three passages to translate, which will then be evaluated by the Board of Examiners.

The exams will be taken using the candidates’ computers (notebooks). Technical requirements: Windows 7/8 or MacOS with word processing program installed (Word or other allowing the candidate to save in .docx format), pendrive-compatible.

During the exam, the candidate may consult any paper or electronic dictionary, including e-books saved on a specific device, as well as personal glossary files. Candidates may not access the Internet for assistance.

Evaluating the Exams

The exams will be numbered without showing the candidate’s identity and distributed to the graders responsible for the respective texts for evaluation. Each translated passage will be marked “Pass” or “Fail” according to the evaluation criteria defined below.

The candidate receiving a Passing grade in all three passages will “Pass.”

The candidate receiving a Passing grade in only one passage or none will be considered “Fail.”

If the candidate receives a Passing grade in only two passages, the respective exam will be forwarded to the Chair of the Board of Examiners for a decision. The “Pass” or “Fail” decision of the Chair will be final.

Exam Evaluation Criteria

The exams will be evaluated for general adequacy and for translation errors.

Grammar and Terminology

Any passage of an exam will be considered and marked “Fail” if it has:

• two or more major errors, or

• one major error and more than three minor errors, or

• no major error and six or more minor errors.

The passage will be considered and marked “Pass” if the number of errors is smaller than the above limits.

Examples of major errors:

Translation errors:

• failing to translate part of the text, titles, or sentences;

• misunderstanding of words, sentences, or grammatical constructions;

• excessively literal translation in cases where this is not necessary.

Terminology errors:

• incorrect choice of word due to lack of technical knowledge in the subject area

Grammatical errors:

• spelling errors

• agreement and collocation errors

• gross punctuation errors

Examples of minor errors:

• use of a register different from the one used in the source text

• unjustified addition of text not clearly included in the original

• minor spelling and punctuation errors


Candidates will be informed only of the final result without any comments by the examiners. The exams will not be returned to the candidates.

Revision of the exam

Candidates who failed the exam may request revision of the exam within 30 days from the communication of the results. The request for revision must be made in writing to the Certification Committee accompanied by the specific fee for this purpose, equal to 1/3 of the registration fee for the exam.

The exams of the candidates having requested revision will be re-evaluated by the Chair of the Board of Examiners, who may consult the grader of the exam and shall present the final decision within 60 days.

If the “Fail” result is maintained, the candidate will receive a copy of the exam with the relevant comments.

If the initial “Fail” result is overturned, the candidate will be entitled to a Translation Certificate and the revision fee is refunded.

Publication of the results

The list of approved candidates will be published via the official communication media of ABRATES and will be available to the candidates at the Headquarters of ABRATES within six weeks from the date of publication of the results.

Translation Certificate

ABRATES will issue a Translation Certificate for each candidate having passed the certification exam.