Are Translation Certifications Worth It?

I know I already used this photo, but it’s too perfect not to use for this post.

I have been considering the idea of engaging in professional translation for some time. (Notice I did not say that I want to be a professional translator. This would be more of a temporary position, as I want to return to school next year. Though after that, I would not mind becoming a professional translator.) For a while, I was thinking of doing translation, but I knew I did not have a high enough level of Russian to do so. Now I think I have a high enough level, I just need practice and experience.

Which brings me to my point: what are your thoughts on translation certifications? I know there are some programs in the United States that offer a certification in translation of a certain language pair (NYU’s program comes to mind). I think they sound like loads of fun, but I can’t decide if they’re actually worth it. Plus, I have had trouble finding one with Russian-English, but that’s a different problem altogether.

The ATA (American Translators Association) also offers a certification exam but I know I don’t meet the requirements for that yet. Plus, it’s expensive (you have to be an ATA member to even take it) and I wouldn’t want to invest in it unless I were going to become a professional translator full-time, which isn’t something I want to do quite yet. (I’m not done with academia. There are too many hilarious experiences to be had. I mean, have you looked at my “Adventures in Academia” tag? So many crazy experiences, and so many more I haven’t even written about.)

Translators – any thoughts on certification? Are you certified? Why or why not?