In Preparation for Certification Exams…

Yesterday, a friend and I spent the morning and part of the afternoon at Montreal’s courthouse, the Palais de justice de Montréal. We had the time to meet interpreters and seek their advice (more of this will follow in another entry).

I mentioned the above information to say this: one of the interpreters suggested my friend and I visit a bookstore across from the courthouse to browse through documents that use a series of legal terms. Of the documents we perused, we noticed recent versions of the Code civil du Québec/Civil Code of Québec and the Criminal Code of Canada/Code criminel du Canada. We then noticed that this bookstore, Wilson & Lafleur Ltée, sold a number of general and specialized dictionaries, as well as grammar guides. I was immediately interested in leafing some of the specialized reference materials, including a French<>English dictionary of trade, business, and economic word entries. Browsing through this document made me think about sitting translation certification exams, particularly those of the Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council (CTTIC) and the American Translators Association (ATA).

I consulted both websites to find out more about their certification exams. The exam descriptions are identical on both sides of the border: you translate a mandatory general text, and you translate one of two specialized texts. The second text may be technical, scientific, or medical in nature, and the third may be financial, business, legal, economic, or administrative. Considering the types of texts I will be expected to translate, I’d like to invest in purchasing bilingual, unilingual French/Spanish, and unilingual English dictionaries in one of the above specialized fields. To do this, I have a few questions to ask:

  • Do any of you specialize in the fields I mentioned?
  • What dictionaries do you recommend I purchase?
  • On average, how much do specialized dictionaries cost?
  • Where do you suggest I purchase these reference materials?

I don’t fancy the idea of lugging these large-print dictionaries to exams. The trouble is, I cannot use any electronic devices. I hope that changes in months and years to come.

I look forward to hearing from all of you. Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

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