• Translation professionalism
  • Certification Counts
  • Sheer Focus
  • Value of Community
  • Bridge or Barrier
Translation professionalism Commercial translation requires sheer professionalism Professionals over the world need continuous study and lifelong career development ACTA, a platform of commercial translators, for the commercial translators and by the commercial translators
Certification Counts In face of too many choices of service providers, the determination relies on certification Certification offers convenience in making choices and means guarantee of quality and qualification
Sheer Focus Focus on business translation, keep on focusing Accuracy, professionality and reliability can be achieved only by focus ACTA, definite definer of excellent commercial documentation
Value of Community Learn in the community, grow in the community and contribute in the community ACTA, best community of elite commecial translators and interpreters of the world
Bridge or Barrier Good translation is a bridge, connecting the world; bad translation is a barrier, breaking the cultures ACTA, standard provider of commercial translation serves as the bridge designer of the commercial world

Translation is a spirit

Translation buying a non-conmmodity


Translation Getting it Right


  • Association Introduction
  • News & Insights
  • International News
  • Member Introduction

American Commercial Translation Association (ACTA) is located in Colorado, United States of America; and formally known as commercial translation association (CTA) with the members coming from American Chamber of Commerce, professors of various colleges and universities, senior translators and translation companies.

At the preliminary period, CTA was affiliated with American Chamber of Commerce, the largest commercial association in America and provided 3 million members with business translation and interpretation services.

From the year of 1995, the establishment of WTO, CTA, as a non-government association has been devoted to providing business translation services which promote business exchange, personnel communications, business cooperation, meeting services and other aspects among American enterprises and country members of WTO, playing an important role in trans-country trading communication and business cooperation while obtaining general recognition from the government, translation association, enterprises and colleges and universities with comprehensive influences and international authorities.

The permanent body of CTA gradually reaches out of America with growing influence. From 2010, the international translation association, namely American Commercial Translation Association began to be prepared and ACTA was established in 2012. ACTA adopts membership management system and the unit members include 120 organization member in over 60 countries and regions around the world. In 2016, China officially became an organizational member of the council.

Organization structure:

ACTA constitutes of seven institutions, including the secretary department, the standing committee, qualification verification committee, union of universities, union of business associations, united committee of joint industries and overseas marketing center, and the institutions as a whole are responsible for coordinating various association affairs in and outside of America. The overseas marketing center is responsible for the establishment of subordinate organizations in mature member countries

Mission of ACTA:

Protect mental and material interests and intelligence properties of business translators;

Promote the identity acknowledgement of the translation industries from the society and enhance the status of translators in the society;

Discover, cultivate, and integrate application translation talents who conform to modern business demands;

Standardize international business translation criterion and promote the professional development of business translators;

Facilitate the close association and effective labor division of business documents translation among translation companies of the world;


 Supporting the enterprises:

ACTA is committed to the promotion of the comprehensive service of internal translation talents in the translation enterprises. ACTA provides company and personal members with the internal training, which greatly increases the language services and the cultural adaption ability of translators and plays an important role in American enterprises’ integration into overseas area. In 2000, ACTA is entrusted by American Chamber of Commerce to take charge of business translation profession verification and professional training for internal translators of various enterprise members of American Chamber of Commerce.

Industry exchange:

ACTA takes the normalization and standardization of translation of business documents as the main duties and devotes efforts to improve the preciseness and effectiveness of business communications. ACTA has unified the inter-language translation standard of Hindi, Portuguese and Russian business documents; greatly promoted the business communication among American Chamber of Commerce, American Iron and Steel association, American Procurement Association and various commerce chambers and the BRIC (except China); enhanced the integration of the translation industry.

Cooperation with Universities:

ACTA carries out the training of business language ability and fundamental translation ability, participates in reviewing the foreign teaching materials, and improves the normalization of the business education system, cooperating with University of Colorado, Harvard Commercial College, MIT Sloan School of Management and other commercial colleges.

ACTA compiles the supplementary materials of the business translation together with various translation colleges and ensures that the trainees reach the latest requirements of the business translation. The cooperation colleges and universities include Monterey Institute of International Studies, University of California Berkeley, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Chicago.

In order for more overseas students in America and language learners to understand the translation industry and access professionals and managers in translation industry, ACTA unites ESL training school to hold various language exchange activities.

Convention organization:

ACTA holds the industry summits annually and invites outstanding related persons from translation companies, advanced translation colleges and transnational enterprises to share the business translation knowledge, industry trends and latest achievements among the industry for the purpose of mutual development.

Professional certification:

International business translator: The certification of profession issued by ACTA is classified into four levels: Primary, Middle, Advanced and Senior. The certificate is approved by US Department of Commerce and notarized by China Embassy in New York of America. The certificate has international authority and is the essential precondition for the key posts of international exchange business.

Development in China:

In Mar. 2016, China officially became the member of council;

In Apr. 2016, China was granted the qualification for the certification of the translation profession by ACTA through assessment;

In May 2016, ACTA Certificate Center of North China was established.  

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Frequently Asked Questions - American Commercial Translation Association

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is ACTA?

ACTA stands for America Commercial Translation Association the US's premier independent, professional association for freelance and salaried translators and interpreters, translation and interpreting companies and educational bodies teaching translation and interpreting. ACTA is a professional membership association and standard-setting institute that can also put potential clients in touch with qualified translation and interpreting service providers.

2. What ACTA is not?

ACTA is not a translation and interpreting company nor is it a teaching college or university. Please do not apply directly to ACTA for posts related to translation and interpreting and associated services, or for freelance work (please see question 5). If you wish to apply for membership of ACTA, please consult the Join ACTA pages on this website or contact ACTA office  for further details.

3. Can ACTA help me find the translation or interpreting services for my particular requirements? 

ACTA can assist by referring you, free of charge, to its members who are qualified, experienced, freelance translators and interpreters with relevant specialist knowledge. These individuals have passed ACTA admission standards, and uphold a Code of Professional Conduct monitored by a Professional Standards Committee.
ACTA  can also refer enquirers to translation/interpreting companies who are its corporate members. Such companies are often able to supply a range of services outside the scope of most individual translators and interpreters. Corporate members of ACTA also abide by a Code of Professional Conduct. ACTA itself is not a translation company nor an agency taking commission on assignments. It does not set fixed rates of remuneration for its members, who will specify their own charges.

In addition to translation or interpreting, many members of ACTA offer one or more of the following services: language training, proof-reading, abstracting, DTP/typesetting, editing, revising, subtitling, voiceovers, transcription of tapes, software localization, and copywriting.
To find a supplier to meet your needs, in the first instance please access our online Directory of Members. The most comprehensive directory of its kind in the US, it allows the user to specify a range of search criteria to help locate suppliers meeting their specific needs. Alternatively, please call the ACTA office for help.


4. I need an "official" or "certified" translation, can ACTA help me? 

For most purposes, this usually requires either using the services of a sworn translator (this would be a translator sworn before a court in a non-US jurisdiction). You can also have the translation notarized before a Notary Public or Notary Scrivener (usually listed in Yellow Pages). ACTA publishes a set of guidelines and seals for self-certification by its members.


5. How can I find work as a translator and interpreter? 

You may find it useful to read some of ACTA's careers orientated literature, which can be obtained using our Publications Order Form or downloaded from this website. Freelance work and staff vacancies in translation/interpreting companies or in other organizations are often advertised in the national press, and especially in specialist trade media. These include ACTA's own bulletin (free to ACTA members), Multilingual and many newsgroups/organizations’ websites on the World Wide Web. You can also advertise your own services in different media, including some of those mentioned above.
Work is also obtained by referrals from colleagues, networking and approaching companies in relevant sectors directly. Company details can be obtained from various sources, such as business/local library directories, Yellow Pages and mailing list companies. Further information can be found by exploring both the ACTA Resources and Publications sheets.


6. Can I be a member of ACTA if I am resident abroad or not a US citizen?

You may become an ACTA member even if you are not a US citizen. You may also be a member if you are resident abroad. Although there is no legal obligation on individuals to join ACTA to be able to practice as translators or interpreters in the US, membership offers a range of benefits (see question 14 below), not least of which is that many companies prefer to use ACTA members to meet their needs. ACTA does not advise on taxation issues (e.g. VAT) directly, refer to the Resources sheet on the website for other organizations to contact and also some useful information for those setting up or running small businesses.


7. Does ACTA offer courses in translation/interpreting? 

ACTA is not a teaching college or university. It does not offer undergraduate or postgraduate diplomas/degrees in translation or interpreting. However it does offer short professional development courses and workshops aimed at developing the business, linguistic and technological skills of translators and interpreters. It also holds a prestigious annual conference. All ACTA and other non-ACTA translation or interpreting-related events are announced in the Calendar of Events of the ACTA bulletin (available on subscription) and also through the Events pages on this website. ACTA produces a list of translation and interpreting courses available in the US, available as a download from this site.


8. I want to study on a translation/interpreting course in the US, but will my foreign (non-US) qualifications be recognized? 

You should consult the admissions department or the department running the course at the institution where you hope to study to see whether your current qualifications are acceptable and meet their minimum entry requirements. You may also find useful information available from NARIC (National Academic Recognition Information Centre) whose contact details can be found on the Resources sheet.


9. Can ACTA recommend a postgraduate course in translation and interpreting? 

ACTA cannot recommend one postgraduate level qualification over another one. You should examine each qualification and course on offer carefully. Consider the structure of the course, the qualifications of those teaching, try and talk to current and previous students and find out where the majority of students who pass out of the course are now employed. AGCAS (Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services) have produced a survey of postgraduate T/I courses that may also be of interest. Refer to the Resources sheet.


10. Is it possible to work as a translator or interpreter without having a degree or a specialized language qualification (e.g. translation/interpreting diploma)? 

It is possible (especially in the case where no high-level preparatory courses and qualifications exist for certain languages), but not necessarily easy. You would generally need to have strong, prior, relevant work experience in translation and interpreting and may be asked to validate your specialist linguistic competencies through tests demanded by potential clients (e.g. translation companies).


11. Do I need professional indemnity insurance as a translator or interpreter? 

ACTA has always wished to be regarded as the country's premier professional body for the freelance translator and interpreter. We continually strive to demonstrate that the use of an ACTA member guarantees both quality and integrity of service.
ACTA is now in the enviable position where members can take advantage of specially negotiated rates with a leading insurer.


12. How do I advertise in the ACTA bulletin, or in ACTA's Directory of Translators and Interpreters? 

We have a range of advertising possibilities available within the bi-monthly ACTA bulletin and on the website. For full details, including rates, refer to bulletin pages on the website.


13. How can I get in touch with other national translation and interpreting associations? 

A good place to start is to contact FIT (International Federation of Translators) which is a federation of many such bodies www.fit-ift.org. The Translator's Handbook, published by ASLIB www.aslib.co.US email aslib@aslib.co.US also lists some contact details for other associations.

14. Why should I join the ACTA? 

Membership is available at a number of levels.
Benefits of membership include:
Professional recognition. Being a membe is a mark of quality.
Professional development. ACTA and our Network and Regional Groups run short courses and events to develop your business and linguistic skills, with discounted access for members. Participation in the language Networks and Regional groups' activities can offer invaluable support and help solve problems, as well as being a source of new referrals for work.
Professional solidarity. ACTA campaigns to promote protect and represent your interests.

15. How do I join the ACTA? 

For details of membership criteria and application forms, please contact ACTA office or download the necessary forms from this website.
This document (and a list of useful resources) is also available for download as a pdf (portable document format).
Frequently Asked Questions about ACTA and Translation/Interpreting
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