ATA Certification Exam
Certification by the ATA (American Translators Association; www.atanet.org), while not a prerequisite for getting work as a translator, is a recognized indicator of translator competence and a good credential to have on your résumé.
ATA currently offers certification in 26 language pairs. You must be a member of the ATA and fulfill certain eligibility requirements to take the exam. A complete explanation of the exam, its grading policies, eligibility requirements, and a list of current exam sites and dates are on the ATA website. ATA also offers practice tests, which can be helpful in preparing to take the actual exam.
NCTA proctors the ATA certification exam once or twice annually in San Francisco, usually in the spring and fall. Exam dates are posted on the registration page soon as they are available.
Upcoming certification exam sittings in California (and nearby):
San Francisco: t.b.d., September 2014
San Diego: March 29, 2014
Certification Exam Workshop
NCTA also offers an orientation workshop in alternating years to acquaint attendees with the ATA certification program and exam (nature of the passages, skills to be tested, exam grading, taking the examination, planning ahead, tips for candidates etc.). This workshop usually takes place in August or September in San Francisco.
The next NCTA Certification Exam Workshop: t.b.d.
Another resource: ATA offers a free webinar, "Preparing to Take the ATA Certification Exam" that can be viewed online at any time.