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Dip Trans (IoL): resource materials.
Thread poster: Ewa Erdmann

Ewa Erdmann  Identity Verified

English to Polish
+ ...
Nov 16, 2009

Hello everyoneicon_smile.gif
I am taking a Diploma in Translation exam in January. The IoL allows the candidates to bring their own resource materials, such as glossiaries, dictionaries and other reference work. My question is (especially to those who have already taken the exam) what kind of reference work, apart from dictionaries would be of particular use. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to 'hear' it.

Thanks,
Ewa


 

Carole Paquis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:00
Member (2007)
English to French
What I took Nov 16, 2009

Hello,

Apart from the obvious bilingual and monolingual dictionaries, I took with me:

a smaller specialist dictionary in each of the topic (business and sciences if I remember well)

a one volume encyclopedia in the target language (in my case, the French 'QUID', check quid.fr to see what I am talking about)

my own glossaries on the topics I was most worried about : new technologies and science...

I used everything except my own glossaries which had taken me ages to compile...icon_frown.gif

I didn't take any grammar books as I felt confident about my own writing abilities, but some other candidates had taken grammar books to check on the finer points they might not be confident about.

I think the masterstroke was the all in one encyclopedia.

We had something about insurances and found a paragraph in the encyclopedia which had all the terminology I needed. Just as well because it was the paper I found the hardest, and I 'only' got a pass in it. So the encyclopedia probably saved the day...

All my books were recent. I had bought them that year in order to have the latest edition.

Oh, and I took all these books in a small suitcase with wheels on...

Good luck

Carole


 

Ewa Erdmann  Identity Verified

English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Wow Nov 16, 2009

Carol, thanks a lot!!! I had no idea that people bring so many resources with themicon_smile.gif Did everyone have a suitcase? And did time management coincide with looking things up? Overall how did you find the time limit, was it enough?
Once again thanks for most helpful adviceicon_smile.gif


 

Carole Paquis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:00
Member (2007)
English to French
time management ...and use of reference material... Nov 16, 2009

Most people had a small suitcase, esp. the ones who were retaking, so I felt quite smug, as I had never been there before!

As far as time management is concerned, I had done 4 or 5 papers in exam conditions at home: with the books I was going to take lined up on the table, the pens.... (I had to hand write the translations, I don't know if it still is the case)...

On the day of the exam I knew how to pace myself.

Carole


 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 06:00
Turkish to English
+ ...
Shopping trolleys Nov 16, 2009

Ewa Erdmann wrote:

Carol, thanks a lot!!! I had no idea that people bring so many resources with themicon_smile.gif Did everyone have a suitcase? And did time management coincide with looking things up? Overall how did you find the time limit, was it enough?
Once again thanks for most helpful adviceicon_smile.gif


When I took this exam in 2001, I remember seeing a lot of people turning up with shopping trolleys laden with reference material. I myself took a large holdall. I can still recall the effort of lugging it all there on the underground. At least I passed so it wasn't a waste of time!


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:00
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A big shopping trolley Nov 16, 2009

Just in case this is useful to you, there was a discussion about this recently, here. In that discussion, I recommended:

- Good monolingual dictionaries (for English I will have the Shorter Oxford Dictionary and a Chambers dictionary)
- 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), although I believe you are not expected to convert units of measurements (double-check yourself just in case!)

I am taking the exam for English-Spanish in January in Madrid. Good luck!


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:00
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
About time management Nov 16, 2009

I am right now doing a course with the City University London in preparation for the exam.

In the 8 texts I have to deliver in the course I am forcing myself to work with the conditions of the exam, i.e. 3 or 2 hours, with a computer with no Internet access, no electronic glossaries, and just the reference materials I plan to have at the venue.

In the course I am translating texts in areas I don't do often and that take longer because I have to spend time making sure I have the right terminology, which means checking dictionaries, etc.

My times in a 2-hour text are more or less the following:
- First reading, 5 minutes
- Second reading, marking up potential difficulties and writing down possible solutions to the main things, 10 minutes
- Going through the text in more detail and checking reference materials about the possible solutions, about 45 minutes
- Writing the translation in the computer, about 30 minutes
- 1st printout and comparison of the source and the translation, some 15 minutes
- 2nd printout and checking spelling and grammar, some 15 minutes

I must say that I am an ATA-certified translator with 15 years full-time experience, but even then I'd say that time could be scarce if you lose concentration. I sincerely encourage you to do some texts in the conditions of the exam, especially if you are handwriting the papers, so that you can time yourself accurately.


 

Paul Skidmore  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:00
German to English
Time management Nov 16, 2009

I took the exam in January 2008 and don't remember taking anything more than bilingual and monolingual dictionaries.

My view is that time management - best acquired through sitting practice papers under exam conditions at home - is one of the most important skills for this exam.

From reading examiners' reports - at least in my language combination - candidates who failed did not do so because of one obscure word they failed to find in their dictionary.

Instead, mistakes/weaknesses which led to failure were

1) an inability to write well in the target language. Here, punctuation, grammar, familiarity with handling direct and indirect speech and the appropriate register for the target audience were particularly important.

2) failure to decode the grammar/syntax of the source text - something a dictionary/encyclopaedia is unlikely to help with.

3) omissions in translation - either forgetting a whole sentence, or overlooking qualifying words e.g. "nearly/almost/generally/mainly/on the whole". You can use a highlighter pen to make sure you don't miss these.

However, if you are someone who likes the comfort of lots of books all around them, then why not take them in. I certainly saw people arrive with suitcases - in fact at the centre I took the exam, you could drop off your books the day before.

Good luck!
Paul


 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 06:00
Turkish to English
+ ...
No Internet? Nov 16, 2009

What I found quite ridiculous about the DipTrans exam was that the Internet - the resource that when I am actually working as a freelance translator I make more use of than anything else - is not available in this exam. Perhaps this has changed since I took it?

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:00
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Indeed! Nov 16, 2009

Paul Skidmore wrote:
3) omissions in translation - either forgetting a whole sentence, or overlooking qualifying words e.g. "nearly/almost/generally/mainly/on the whole". You can use a highlighter pen to make sure you don't miss these.

Absolutely! This is a true risk (it has happened to me twice in my mock papers). This is very good advice and I will take it.

However, may I add that another big risk --and here the dictionaries can be a big help if you lack enough expertise in the subject matter-- is the use of English words that sound similar to those of the target language but have completely different meanings. An example is "magistrate" vs. "magistrado" (this is from an actual DipTrans text), completely different things.

I strongly recommend to go to the dictionary for any term word you have never checked in a dictionary, just to avoid unwelcome surprises with cognates...icon_smile.gif


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:00
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
No Internet, and I strongly agree Nov 16, 2009

Tim Drayton wrote:
What I found quite ridiculous about the DipTrans exam was that the Internet - the resource that when I am actually working as a freelance translator I make more use of than anything else - is not available in this exam. Perhaps this has changed since I took it?

No, it hasn't changed, and I think it is good that there is no access to Internet. DipTrans as a measure of professional capability should be awarded to people who are able to produce a good translation with no help from Internet-based resources, automatic translation, or translator fora. Also, if you allowed access to the Internet during the exam, what would prevent candidates from exchanging information and tips in a chat room or receiving help in fora while at the exam? It would be really funny to see a Kudoz question like "URGENT! I'm in the DipTrans exam! Translation of 'estate'?"icon_wink.gif


 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 06:00
Turkish to English
+ ...
Good point Nov 16, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Tim Drayton wrote:
What I found quite ridiculous about the DipTrans exam was that the Internet - the resource that when I am actually working as a freelance translator I make more use of than anything else - is not available in this exam. Perhaps this has changed since I took it?

No, it hasn't changed, and I think it is good that there is no access to Internet. DipTrans as a measure of professional capability should be awarded to people who are able to produce a good translation with no help from Internet-based resources, automatic translation, or translator fora. Also, if you allowed access to the Internet during the exam, what would prevent candidates from exchanging information and tips in a chat room or receiving help in fora while at the exam? It would be really funny to see a Kudoz question like "URGENT! I'm in the DipTrans exam! Translation of 'estate'?"icon_wink.gif


Good point. I hadn't even thought about this kind of abuse. On the other hand, I do feel that the ability to use resouces like Google is an importamt skill for a translator nowadays.


 

Ewa Erdmann  Identity Verified

English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Big Big Thanks! Nov 16, 2009

I love you guys for your comments and invaluable adviceicon_smile.gif Now I'm seriously considering taking a rather large suitcase with me.
Paul- thanks for the specific points you mentioned. Sometimes you don't realise how important are those little bits you might otherwise ignore.
Tomas - I will definitely put the time management tips into practise.

If anyone still has some tips or funny exam anectotes to share, I'd love to hear themicon_smile.gif


 

Carole Paquis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:00
Member (2007)
English to French
Time management 2 Nov 16, 2009

Just thought of something. The best piece of advice I was given before the exam:

Don't decide in advance which options you are going to take (paper 2 & 3)

Glance at all the texts. Read carefully the first paragraph of each of them. If there are three difficult items in the first paragraph, don't bother, choose another one.

This procedure should take around 5 minutes.

Carole


 

Ewa Erdmann  Identity Verified

English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
options Nov 16, 2009

Carole Paquis wrote:


Don't decide in advance which options you are going to take (paper 2 & 3)





I decided to chose law and business but as I'm not comfortable with the latter I might take a look at the other texts.

But then does the option have any effect on your specialisation later on, I mean, is it stated in the certificate and do the employers care?

[Edited at 2009-11-16 21:34 GMT]


 
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