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Yet another IoL Dip Trans query
Thread poster: Krys Williams

Krys Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:05
Member (2003)
Polish to English
+ ...
Jan 2, 2004

Hello all,

I've been going back and forth about whether to contemplate the IoL Dip Trans. Here are my problems, which at present appear as insurmountable obstacles given the huge investment required to attempt the test without a reasonable guarantee of passing:

1. My best source language is Croatian, because I lived in Zagreb for 5 years and worked there as translator, editor, lab assistant and librarian. It is the one language in which I can operate reasonably actively as well as passively. I think I could probably update myself fairly easily on current events, political structures, etc by monitoring the web sites of a couple of Croatian newspapers. However, I have a problem in that no IoL DipTrans past papers are available for Croatian, nor is there any course for the Croatian-English combination. Therefore, I really do not have any mechanism by which I can find out what to expect and thus no way to monitor my readiness to take the exam.

What has been the experience of others with the less frequent language combinations in this respect? How did you cope with the total lack of resources and training in your language pair?

2. I am primarily a medical translator, and a good one! I have done some governmental and general translations out of Croatian as well, with not too many problems. However, I have a problem with the IoL "semi-specialised" papers. The first group gives me a choice of technology or other subjects. Technology includes medicine, which I could do even without a dictionary or other reference material. However, if I choose this paper, I risk getting engineering or IT instead, with which I cannot cope in my mother tongue let alone a foreign one! So, because I have experience playing round with poetry, fiction and literary criticism between Esperanto and English (translating both ways and original works in both languages), I would probably choose the Literary branch, thus ironically eliminating my area of true expertise! For the second paper, however, "science" seems the only realistic option. If it turns out to be biology, biochemistry, or pharma I will have no problems. Chemistry will depend on the specific field of chemistry. However, mathematics and physics are once again subject areas I cannot cope with in English, let alone in other languages. I'm finding it difficult to cope with the concept that one needs to be equally comfortable with biochemistry (yes, easy) and mathematics (a foreign language in its own right).

I would welcome input from scientifically-biased DipTrans candidates as to your experiences on this rather crazy subject distribution.

Finally, does anyone have any other recommendations as to another suitable qualification route for a UK-based biomedical specialist with no formal linguistic training - it has to be distance education, or else based in Nottingham!


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:05
German to English
+ ...
Join ITI Jan 2, 2004

Finally, does anyone have any other recommendations as to another suitable qualification route for a UK-based biomedical specialist with no formal linguistic training

If by qualification you are more interested at this stage in proving your competence than obtaining it, call Isobel Ryan at the ITI on 01908 325252.


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Richard Benham  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:05
German to English
+ ...
Some comments: Jan 2, 2004

I think it's a pity that there are no past papers, but not an insurmountable problem.

It might be worth reading Peter Newmark's "Textbook of Translation", as he seems to be a revered figure at the IoL. This should compensate for your lack of theoretical training.

The semi-specialized options are just that. They are not highly specialized. They should be achievable by any competent translator with a good dictionary for the relevant subject matter area. Of course, there may be a particularly nasty text for one or other of the options, and so you should be prepared to do a different option from the one you were planning. (I did so in both the optional papers for French>English.) This means having dictionaries with you that you may never use again (don't count on it!), and scanning through all three questions before making up your mind which one to do. Or at least scanning through your preferred option for potential hazards before starting out on it.

There are other ways of getting accredited, such as the ITI, but I understand that their testing procedure is at least as rigorous, and it doesn't actually result in your being awarded a diploma. Once you have a diploma, you keep it, and you need have no further association with the organization that granted it.

Anyway, you have a few months to make up your mind. Whatever you choose to do, good luck!

PS Is medicine really in Technology? I thought it was in Science!

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