Validating Translation Skills – The Oregon Example

As many states and entities seek to define standards for the translation and interpreting profession, the State of Oregon serves as a great example of a robust set of standards. In order to prepare to meet these standards, many take translation courses. Such courses can serve as proof to clients who require proof of having taken translation training or as an opportunity to practice taking an exam and verifying their skills.

How does the Oregon Department of Administrative Services (DAS) verify translation skills?

According to the 2019 translation Price Agreement issued by the Department of Administrative Services, these are the top ways to demonstrate translation skills:

Top preference:


  • Washington State DSHS Document Translator Certification
  • Score of at least 10 on the ALTA Translation Assessment
  • Certification for translation services in Canada
  • ILR 2+ on the Interagency Language Roundtable Exam
  • Four-year academic degree in translation from a US or international university
  • Certificate of completion from a formal translation training program of 40 to 99 hours

See the complete list of credentials accepted by the State of Oregon.

In the cases of languages for which the American Translators Association does not offer a certification, preference is given to those who can demonstrate verifiable translation competency or interpreting competency (as defined in the document linked above through, among other things, exams, fluency tests, degrees in another language), language proficiency, paid translation experience, active membership in a professional language organization, academic higher education degree from an institution of higher education, diploma of completion in secondary education, or diploma of completion in primary education.We believe that the State of Oregon may have taken this approach for the following reasons:

Why does DAS offer so many choices?

  • Not all language combinations are tested by ATA.
  • The government has a responsibility to be vendor neutral and accept more than one way to verify skills.
  • The government is also accepting interpreting credentials, since it is assumed for interpreters to be highly literate in both their working languages. Interpreters often supplement their interpreting income by doing translation.

Image source: Pixabay

About heleneby

Helen Eby grew up in Argentina, the land of the gauchos. She is certified as an English Spanish translator by ATA and as a Spanish interpreter by the Oregon Judicial Department and by the Oregon Health Authority. She co-founded The Savvy Newcomer and the ¡Al rescate del español! blogs, both of which are team efforts to provide resources for other language professionals. She is also a founding board member of the Spanish Editors Association.