Accreditation Test for Translators and Interpreters in China

2019/7/22 16:15:54作者:中国外文局翻译专业资格考评中心来源:中国外文局翻译专业资格考评中心

I. About CATTI

     Entrusted by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the People’s Republic of China and implemented and administrated by the China International Publishing Group (CIPG), China Accreditation Test for Translators and Interpreters (CATTI) is the most authoritative translation and interpretation proficiency accreditation test, which has been implemented throughout the country according to uniform standards and in compliance with the national system of professional qualification certificates. It is designed to assess the proficiency and competence of candidate translators and interpreters.

    The CATTI was launched to meet the needs of China’s economic development and its entrance to the World Trade Organization, to upgrade the quality of foreign language translation professionals in the country, to scientifically, objectively, and impartially evaluate the level and capabilities of professional translators and interpreters, to further regulate the translation market, and to strengthen the management of the translation industry, so as to further align with international standards and serve China’s opening up.The new era has bestowed the CATTI with a new historical mission – selecting more fine-quality translators and interpreters to feed the urgent need of China’s great progress, to better serve the country's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) construction, the construction of a foreign communication discourse system, and the big picture of opening up in an all-round way.


II. Validity

    The CATTI has been officially included in the list of national occupational qualification tests. Those who pass the CATTI will obtain the Translation and Interpretation Proficiency Qualification Certificate of the People's Republic of China issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, which is valid throughout the country.

1.Those with a translation qualification certificate can be appointed for a corresponding translation professional and technical position.

    The CATTI has been formally incorporated into the national occupational qualification certificate system. For those who have obtained the certificate and meet the requirements, the employer may appoint corresponding positions as required: Level-3 certificate recipient for assistant translator, Level-2 for translator, and Level-1 for assistant senior translator after assessment, and finally, senior translator after assessment.

2.Candidates for master's degree in translation and interpretation must take the CATTI Level 2.

    By the end of 2018, 250 pilot MTIs involved in the CATTI in China. According to relevant national policies, a postgraduate for master’s degree majoring in translation and interpretation without a certificate of Level 2 or above must pass the exam during his/her study in the college.

    According to the policy, the CATTI has been adopted by the National Translation Masters Professional Education Degree Committee, to the quality control system for the teaching management of the translation master's professional colleges and universities. In addition, the passing result of Level 2 has been held as an important indicator for evaluating the school translation profession.

   Such campaigns have accumulated successful experience for the transformation of postgraduate education in China and accelerating the reform of postgraduate education.

3.Those with a translation qualification certificate can apply for the membership of the Translators Association of China (TAC).

    According to TAC’s policies, those who obtain the Translation/Interpretation Proficiency Qualification Certificate for Level 3 and above are qualified to become TAC members. Those with the Certificate for Level 1 and above are qualified to become TAC’s senior members.

    The implementation of such policies has drawn a large number of certified personnel to join the TAC, thus injecting vigor and vitality into the organization.

4.The Certificate has become an essential or priority condition for employment.

    Today, the Certificate has become a “national standard” for evaluating the level of translation talents. Many translation-oriented agencies across China have taken it as an essential or priority condition for employment, which is accountable. For example, those without a Certificate for Level 2 or above are not qualified for a chance to work at the CIPG or China Translation.


     The CATTI is a professional qualification examination for the whole country. Any person who abides by the Constitution, the laws of the People's Republic of China and professional ethics, and has a certain level of foreign language skills can apply for corresponding language tests, Level 2 and 3, irrespective of age, education background, qualifications and status. Foreigners with work permit in China and professionals from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan are also welcomed to sign up.

IV. Languages, Levels, Categories

      The seven languages to be tested in the CATTI include English, Japanese, French, Russian, German, Spanish, and Arabic, for three levels – 1, 2, and 3. The tests for English, Japanese, French, and Arabic Levels 1, 2, and 3 are held in the first half of the year; November sees the tests for English Level-2 and -3 translating and interpreting as well as simultaneous interpreting, in addition to those for Russian, German and Spanish Level 1, 2 and 3.

Level 1 Translator/Interpreter: Candidates who have rich scientific and cultural knowledge and a high competence for bilingual translation and interpretation are qualified for extensive and difficult translation and interpretation, solving difficult problems arising in translation and interpretation, and are capable of interpreting at important international conferences or finalizing translations.

Level 2 Translator/Interpreter: Candidates who have some scientific and cultural knowledge, have a good competence for bilingual translation and interpretation, and are capable of translating and interpreting in certain sectors, with certain difficulties.

Level 3 Translator/Interpreter: Candidates who have rudimentary scientific and cultural knowledge and a general competence for bilingual translation and interpretation, and can accomplish general translation work.

V. Subjects, Methods & Time

    The comprehensive-ability subjects mainly examine the basic knowledge of the candidates. Questions mainly include vocabulary, grammar, reading and listening comprehension, and filling in blanks; the practical subjects mainly test candidates' translation practice abilities. Questions mainly include translations from foreign languages into Chinese, and from Chinese into foreign languages.


LevelSubjectMethodTime (mins)
1Translating Practice

(Note: Candidates for Translating

 Practice can bring two dictionaries.)

2Translating Comprehensive Aptitude120
Translating Practice180
3Translating Comprehensive Aptitude120
Translating Practice180

CategoryLevel Subject Method Time (mins)
Consecutive Interpreting1Interpreting PracticeComputer-based testing60
2Interpreting Comprehensive Aptitude60
Interpreting Practice60
3Interpreting Comprehensive Aptitude60
Interpreting Practice30
Simultaneous interpretingInterpreting Comprehensive Aptitude60
Interpreting Practice60

VI. The Team of Experts

    An experts’ committee has been established for each of the language for the CATTI, composed of senior translation experts from the fields of foreign affairs, international communication, press and publication, economics and trade, science and technology, document translation, and translation teaching and research. The experts are responsible for formulating evaluation standards and examination outlines for national-level translation professionals, and they play a central role in the examination with regards to setting questions, reviewing questions and going over exam papers.

VII. 15-Year Footprints

2004: First launch of Japanese and French Level 2 and 3.

2005: First launch of English simultaneous interpreting.

2006: First launch of Russian, German, Spanish, and Arabic Level 2 and 3.

2007: Establishing a unified system of shifting tenures of seven-lingual expert committee.

2008: Integrating China Accreditation Test for Translators and Interpreters (CATTI) and Master of Translation and Interpreting (MTI).

2009: Convention of the national meeting on test points of translation and interpretation.

2010: Visiting Australia’s NAATI and New Zealand’s NZSTI.

2011: The number of test registration reaches nearly 250,000.

2012: First launch of English Level 1.

2013: First launch of other six languages Level 1.

2014: The number of followers of microblog Yilutong exceeds 800,000.

2015: The convention of the Forum on the Integration of China Accreditation Test for Translators and Interpreters (CATTI) and Master of Translation and Interpreting (MTI).

2016: The CATTI is cited as one of China’s Top 13 Tests by the mainstream media in the country.

2017: The number of applicants for the CATTI reaches 150,000, and the cumulative number of applications exceeds 720,000, 98,000 of whom obtain certificates. The CATTI is included in the list of national occupational qualification examinations.

2018: The number of applicants exceeds 210,000, an increase of 40 percent year-on-year. The cumulative number of applicants for the CATTIsurpassed 930,000, over 123,000 of whom receive certificates.

VIII. International Influence

   The rapid development of the CATTI has attracted great attention from both home and abroad. Every year, netizens from more than 50 countries learn about the test through the CATTI website.

    Liu Chongjie, president of the International Translation Association, spoke highly of the CATTI.

    The excellent performance has drawn increasing attention from translation and interpretation counterparts and relevant institutions from other countries and regions, such as Mexico, Australia, South Korea, and Singapore, as well as China’s Taiwan and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, who have come for academic exchanges.

    Many of the Chinese translation experts have been invited to important international occasions to share the experience of the CATTI.

   In 2019, the National Translation Test and Appraisal Center (NTTAC) under the China International Publishing Group (CIPG) and the Belarusian State University formally signed a cooperation agreement on the establishment of a translation professional qualification testing center in Belarus, marking the first step in the internationalization of the translation and interpretation talent evaluation results in China.