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Thread poster: Mark Thompson
Dip Trans qualification from Chartered Institute of Linguists

Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:18
German to English
+ ...
Papers back? Jul 1, 2009


Charlie Bavington wrote:
I was looking back at my file the other day for the purposes of another thread elsewhere, and looked at the papers I did (and passed, fwiw). One of the texts I translated is one I would definitely decline now - as was the other option for that paper.


I'm so confused. You got your graded papers back? Other than the certificate they sent, I never saw a thing.


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:18
German to English
+ ...
Prep course + suitcase Jul 1, 2009

And now a bit more on-topic:
I highly recommend a distance prep course. Doesn't cost very much. I did mine at City U in London and it was fabulous. Especially useful very close to exam time, when you simulate actual test conditions.

My tutor recommended among other things a "dictionary of foreign words" (in German: Fremdwörter, a small Duden publication). It includes a lot of Latin phrases for instance. Don't know how relevant this is for you, but it literally saved my hide in the exam. I also have a Dictionary of Science and Technology (Chambers) and was able to look up something about the printing press for the exam. It depends a bit on your specializations though I suppose.

This is of course assuming they still allow you to bring own reference materials. If so, I recommend filling a wheeled suitcase with all your dictionaries, textbooks, references, etc. It sounds silly but it's a great way to transport them and you have everything at hand should you need it. For instance I was able to look up something in my old organic chemistry book from university. Plus you can pack in water, snacks, etc., because even with a lunch break, it's a really intense experience.


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:18
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Absolutely Jul 1, 2009


Michele Johnson wrote:
This is of course assuming they still allow you to bring own reference materials. If so, I recommend filling a wheeled suitcase with all your dictionaries, textbooks, references, etc. It sounds silly but it's a great way to transport them and you have everything at hand should you need it. For instance I was able to look up something in my old organic chemistry book from university. Plus you can pack in water, snacks, etc., because even with a lunch break, it's a really intense experience.

I completely agree about the dictionaries. It does not matter how ridiculous you can feel carrying a suitcase when you are not going anywhere... But it is true. At least I would carry:
- Good monolingual dictionaries
- Good general bilingual dictionaries
- Dictionaries of phrasal verbs and idioms, ideally in the two languages
- Good technical dictionary if you do technical
- Good legal and business dictionaries if you do business
- Good science/medical dictionaries if you do science
- Comprehensive grammar and spelling manuals for the target language
- Bound printouts of your glossaries if you have the time, as a last reference
- Printouts about units of measurement, old and new and how to convert them if you need to (Wikipedia has quite good articles you can print)


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:18
French to English
Judicious use of pockets Jul 1, 2009


Michele Johnson wrote:


Charlie Bavington wrote:
I was looking back at my file the other day for the purposes of another thread elsewhere, and looked at the papers I did (and passed, fwiw). One of the texts I translated is one I would definitely decline now - as was the other option for that paper.


I'm so confused. You got your graded papers back? Other than the certificate they sent, I never saw a thing.

I just walked out of the exam room with the source text exam papers. I can't remember if that was allowed or not, but I always do that (I've got my O level exam papers in the loft somewhere!).
I did my Dip Trans in the mid 1990s, by the way, and did not have to specify in advance which option I was going for, IIRC.

It was the least they could do, since I had to walk uphill in the snow both ways to get there, without shoes or a shirt, nibbling on bits of gravel and dried sick for sustenance, and only my own tears to drink.

[Edited at 2009-07-01 23:38 GMT]


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:18
Member (2004)
Dutch to English
+ ...
2008 Jul 2, 2009


Michele Johnson wrote:


Lawyer-Linguist wrote:
You can choose on the day. You are given all of them and have enough time to read through each quickly to decide.


You lucky dog - are you serious?! I had to specify in advance and definitely didn't have a choice, although it worked out fine in the end. Maybe this has been introduced more recently - may I ask when you took the exam? I did mine in 2001. (And of course I had to walk uphill both ways in snow to get there. Barefoot.)

Michele


Hi Michele,

I wrote my semi-specialised papers in 2008. Specifically remember looking at doing something else rather than law -- but chickened out in the end and stuck to my comfort zone

Take care
Debs


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Paul Skidmore  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:18
German to English
Read the examiners' reports Jul 3, 2009

Hi Mark: I sat the DipTrans in January 2008 (German > English). As others have already pointed out, nothing beats sitting down under exam conditions - i.e. with the same paper dictionaries and resources as you will use in the exam - and practising on old papers.

I made myself practise the whole 7-hour session at home (I intended to take all 3 papers at one go). In addition, I bought the examiners' reports for the relevant years. (Don't know if these are available for the Portuguese > English papers). These I found particularly useful, as reading between the lines it became evident what the "pet hates" of the examiners were. For example, they particularly bemoaned the fact that many candidates reproduced German punctuation conventions and did not employ the appropriate English conventions, etc.

Everyone has their own strategy with regard to the semi-specialised options. I was quite clear in my mind what I was going to choose and stuck to those options.

In the exam, unlike in my particular translation business, some of the texts contained quite a lot of direct speech. It was useful to have practised this in advance - as my 'O' level English was quite a dim and distant memory.


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Matthew Austin
Local time: 20:18
Russian to English
+ ...
Practise! Jul 17, 2009

Hi! I took the DipTrans (Russian-English) in January - all three papers in one day. I have very little professional experience, so did a preparatory course by distance with City U. It was most helpful for reassuring me that I had adequate linguistic ability, but what also helped me was translating under exam conditions at home.

Although I passed, I think I could have made life a lot easier for myself by doing way more timed translations beforehand. I was extremely pushed for time in the exam and only finished each paper by the skin of my teeth. In fact, halfway through both semi-specialised papers, I was very concerned that I wouldn't get close to finishing.

I also agree with the comment above about glossaries of acronyms/abbreviations. I took so much reference material with me, but I only ended up using my monolingual and bilingual dictionaries, and my dictionary of abbreviations. Even then I came across one that I could only guess at from context. So building up a list of these before the exam is a very worthwhile exercise.

I have to say that this was the hardest day of exams I've ever had, but now I have the qualification I'm extremely glad I put myself through it. Good luck!


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chica nueva
Local time: 07:18
Chinese to English
another thread ... Jul 18, 2009

Here is another thread on IOL Dip Trans test preparation etc which may be of interest: http://www.proz.com/forum/professional_development/134029-how_should_i_proceed.html


[Edited at 2009-07-19 09:59 GMT]


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Mark Thompson  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:18
Member
Portuguese to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
Going for it! Jul 19, 2009

Thanks once again to all who've taken the time to post here. Your comments are most inspiring, and I'm going to go for it in January 2010 at the British Council in São Paulo.

I won't be able to do any prep courses so I'll be putting myself through it in my home office - exam conditions, glossary-building etc.

Please feel free to continue posting - for me, any scrap of first-hand knowledge is worth its weight in gold.

Success!


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Anne-Marie Grant  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:18
French to English
+ ...
If you don't mind a thread resurrection... Aug 1, 2009

I've been mulling over whether or not to sit the DipTrans next January, (French-English). I have an ancient postgraduate qualification and have recently returned to translation as a freelancer after many years away. I've been getting lots of German-English work, but not so much French-English and I wondered if the diploma might help. When I was planning to return to translation I did a very helpful distance course of past papers, so I know the standard.

I have one big question. In my day-to-day work I use the Internet far far more than paper dictionaries and I am sure most translators do the same these days. It therefore seems a bit antiquated to sit an exam for a professional qualification that you write out by hand and for which you have to lug a ton of reference material to the exam centre.

I'd be interested to hear others' opinions on this. Is it a matter of time before the nature of the exam changes to reflect modern professional practice, or is there really some merit in returning to the exam conditions of my youth?

[Edited at 2009-08-01 12:54 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:18
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A bit more resurrection Aug 1, 2009

Just in case it could be an option for you: as I am taking the exam in the British Council in Madrid next January, I thought I'd do some preparation with this course by the City University London on top of some separate preparation with the help of a great translator who helped me greatly to prepare for my ATA exam. I thought I'd mention the City University course in case it could be useful in your case.

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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:18
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
No Internet - Completely agree with it Aug 1, 2009


Anne-Marie Grant wrote:
I have one big question. In my day-to-day work I use the Internet far far more than paper dictionaries and I am sure most translators do the same these days. It therefore seems a bit antiquated to sit an exam for a professional qualification that you write out by hand and for which you have to lug a ton of reference material to the exam centre.

Well, they probably won't let you use calculus or structure calculation software when you sit an architectural maths exam. You are supposed to know how to make these calculations and do them right, even if you will rarely do manual calculation in real life projects after receiving your degree.

Given the tons of useful things you can do with Internet these days (even use automatic translation if you get stuck with the grammar of some sentence), it is better to test your abilities without Internet. Any good translator can find a workaround for that extra tricky sentence. And only good translators should get these certificates, I reckon. And after all, you are allowed to bring as many printed reference materials as you wish.


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Anne-Marie Grant  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:18
French to English
+ ...
Then perhaps Aug 1, 2009

all candidates should have access to the same reference materials!

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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:18
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Different texts, different references Aug 1, 2009


Anne-Marie Grant wrote:
all candidates should have access to the same reference materials!

I don't think so: each of us specialise in different things and are allowed to choose among different specific texts, so it's perfectly OK if we decide about the choice of dictionaries and reference books that best suit the needs of the texts we are likely to choose and get to translate in our real-world work.

I think the DipTrans's goal is to certify that you have the ability to translate on your own in a professional situation, which includes references of your choice.

As IOLET let you do the exam outside their premises, I think we cannot expect them to have a full set of dictionaries and references in each of the possible language pairs and examination sites. It would only mean that most of us would be disappointed about the references available in our pairs and our specialties. The psychology dictionary that would make you a happy person would be completely useless to me, and my preferred mechanical dictionary would be no use to you...

[Edited at 2009-08-01 19:25 GMT]


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Anne-Marie Grant  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:18
French to English
+ ...
OK Tomás, I do take your point. Aug 1, 2009

One more question...Are candidates allowed to use word processors? If so, do they provide these themselves or are they available at the exam centres?

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Dip Trans qualification from Chartered Institute of Linguists






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