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Questions related to training in order to get established
Thread poster: J Brown
J Brown
Local time: 15:25
French to English
May 8, 2007

I would like to ask a few questions:

1) I am thinking about paying to sit for the IOL Diploma in Translation examination. Can anyone give me some feedback as to whether this qualification has actually helped them to gain work?
I already have a Master's in Translation Studies, but am finding it difficult to find an in-house translation job, or freelance work. If this qualification would help, then I would go for it with gusto.

2) Is it likely that, even with this Diploma in Translation, I would still find it difficult to find work, as I do not have an area of specialisation that I have an enormous amount of experience in? Would passing the ILEX Law examinations qualify me to work as a legal translator, or would I have to train fully as a solicitor (i.e. complete the GDL, and CPE, and then a Training contract)?

3) Does anyone have any specific contacts/know of any specific companies who would be willing to take on a trainee translator? I would be willing to move and live abroad.

4) Are any of you established translators, who have too much translation work, and would be prepared to pass some of this to me? I would do this for free, in return for the experience/training it would offer me.

Thank you.

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Claire Titchmarsh  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:25
Italian to English
+ ...
Don't do anything for free!!! May 9, 2007

Hello J

In answer to your questions:

1) I passed the IOL exam 2 years ago and it has had no effect whatsoever on the level or quality of work I receive. However, it was well worth it because it gave me a little bit of extra security and confidence. It's just a kind of benchmark to measure your skills against but formal qualifications are by no means the most important thing when it comes to commercial translation.

2) Given that the translation industry is unregulated, there are no qualifications you "need" to be a legal translator, although hands-on experience in your field is invaluable. There are also specialist legal translation courses and seminars you can attend (search these Forums for details).

3) Just get your CV out to as many agencies as possible. It can take 6 months to a year to get established.

4) Set a rate you are happy with and stick to it. If you start offering your services for free you'll be inundated with people trying to take advantage of you, and these are not usually the kind of people you can learn from. If you don't have much work just keep applying to agencies and make sure what you do produce is perfect.

Bonne chance!

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Carole Paquis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:25
Member (2007)
English to French
Membership CIoL May 9, 2007


If you already have some University qualification, it might be worth investigating whether you would be eligible for a membership of the Chartered Institute of Linguists without taking the Dip. Trans. (see their admission literature)...

Even thought I took the exam, I have found that it's not so much the exam as it is the letters MCIL that open doors...

I very much agree with Claire: do not do anything for free.


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J Brown
Local time: 15:25
French to English
Thank you May 9, 2007

Thank you both for your advice and comments. I will look into my eligibility for membership to the Chartered Institute of Linguists, and also into those specialist legal translation courses/seminars.

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Phil Bird
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
MSc + DipTrans? Sep 18, 2008

This is related to this query....

I had been studying for the DipTrans exam, when I decided that a Masters in Translation would be the right option for me, so I enrolled on the MSc in Scientific and Technical Translation at Imperial College London, which I am due to start in October.

I am wondering if there would be any point in going back to take the DipTrans exam at any point in the future? Would someone be better considered by agencies/clients/employers if they had both qualifications?

As far as I am aware a Masters in Translation is sufficient for membership of the CIoL (with 1 year's experience) and that this would be a definate boost to my career, but would there be any point in doing the diploma itself?

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