Grading Procedure

Exams take up to 16 weeks to grade. The procedure for processing and grading exams assures anonymity, objectivity, and consistently applied error marking.

  1. Copies of the exam, identified by code number only, are sent to two graders.
  2. If the two graders agree, grading is complete.
  3. If the two graders disagree, the exam is sent to a third grader.

Pass or Fail

Candidates must translate two passages to complete the exam. Candidates must receive a Pass on both passages from both graders to receive certification.

  • A passage with 0-17 error points is marked Pass.
  • A passage with 18 error points or higher is marked Fail.

Candidates who fail the exam may apply for certification exam review.

Who Grades the Exam?

Graders are ATA-certified translators who passed the exam with superior performance. They participate in ongoing training sessions to maintain consistent practices and uphold program standards.

Grading Metrics and Tools

Several tools have been painstakingly developed and are periodically revised to maximize objectivity and ensure grading is consistent and equitable across all language pairs and directions that are being tested.

Framework for Standardized Error Marking

Used to determine the kind of error in the translation.

View Framework

Flowchart for Error Point Decisions

Used to determine the point value of an error; the greater the disruption, the higher the point value.

View Flowchart

Explanation of Error Categories

Defines the various terms used in the grading forms.

View Categories

Into-English Grading Standards

Set of language-specific guidelines used for all into-English exams.

View Standards

Standard for Passing

The ATA standard for a passing exam is a level of obvious competence with some room for growth. Candidates can obtain an idea of what this means in practical terms by consulting the ILR Skill Level Descriptions for Translation Performance. A passing grade on the ATA exam is roughly equivalent to a minimum of Level 3 as described in the ILR document.