The ATA Chronicle - May/June 2020 - 38

CERTIFICATION FORUM

BY DAVID STEPHENSON

COVID-19 and Certification

T

he impact of the COVID-19 crisis
on ATA's Certification Program
has been and remains profound.
Although the situation continues to
unfold, here are how things stand at this
writing (early May).
■	

All exam sittings scheduled for
March, April, and May have been
cancelled. Registration for future
sittings is on hold while ATA
Headquarters and the Certification
Committee assess the situation.
Moreover, ATA is not accepting
requests from chapters and local
groups to schedule sittings later in
2020. This shutdown will continue to
be evaluated week-by-week.

■	

The Certification Committee meeting
and the Language Chairs meeting
scheduled for mid-April in Alexandria,
Virginia, were cancelled. The committee
held a Zoom meeting instead.

■	

ATA is refunding registration fees for
those whose sittings were cancelled,
and will apply a liberal refund policy
to existing registrants for the rest of
the year. Even if sittings resume later
in 2020, registrants can receive a
full refund if they prefer not to risk
traveling or sitting in a room with
other candidates.

The Certification Program is stepping
up efforts to offer candidate preparation
sessions online. Besides the obvious
benefit of allowing high-quality
instructional content to be disseminated
safely, offering sessions remotely and
thus free of geographic constraints
also opens the door to workshops for
language pairs other than Spanish.
Speaking of online offerings,
conferences and other events that have
been moved online are still eligible for
continuing education points (CEPs).
If it's a live online event (conference
or webinar), it counts for CEPs under
Category A, with the same points
awarded and the same restrictions
as a live, in-person event. Anything

38

The ATA Chronicle | May/June 2020

Registration for future sittings is on hold while ATA Headquarters and
the Certification Committee assess the situation.

recorded and reviewed at one's own
leisure can also count, but under
Category B. An example of this would
be the ATA58 recording recently made
available for free to the membership
(https://bit.ly/ATA58-virtual). For
more information about CEPs, visit
https://bit.ly/ATA-CE-points.
One aspect of the program that
remains unaffected is the practice test.
In the absence of exam activities, this is
a great time to take one or more practice
tests. These are retired exam passages
that the candidate purchases online,
translates, and returns for grading and
feedback. For more details, visit http://
bit.ly/ATA-practice-test.
As in so many other areas of life,
the realities of social distancing and
stay-at-home orders are motivating the
Certification Program to think about
ways to alleviate similar situations in the
future. One obvious focus is on ways

to administer the exam remotely (i.e.,
allow candidates to take the exam from
home). It has been five years since ATA
last considered options in that regard,
which at the time were found lacking
from the standpoint of logistics and,
most of all, security. But five years is
a long time, and the pandemic is no
doubt spurring the development of all
sorts of new solutions for functioning
remotely. The Certification Committee
intends to keep a close eye on
possibilities in this area.
David Stephenson, CT is the chair
of ATA's Certification Committee.
An ATA-certified German>English,
Dutch>English, and
Croatian>English translator,
he has been an independent
translator for over 30 years, specializing in civil
litigation and creative nonfiction.
Contact: david@stephensontranslations.com.

www.atanet.org


https://www.bit.ly/ATA58-virtual https://www.bit.ly/ATA-CE-points http://www.bit.ly/ATA-practice-test http://www.bit.ly/ATA-practice-test http://www.atanet.org

The ATA Chronicle - May/June 2020

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