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Off topic: IOL's DipTrans exams January 21st - How did it go for you?
Thread poster: Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jan 21, 2010

Dear colleagues and nevertheless friends,

On my return home after doing all three papers of IOL's DipTrans exam, I can say I am not exhausted... but plain dead.

I am not sure we are allowed to discuss the texts we got in the papers, so let's act as if we don't remember. I just wanted to express my sympathy to all colleagues --both active translators and those who want to join this 50% nerve-wrecking but 100% delightful profession-- who, like me, are torturing themselves about this or that translation decision that could have given the extra magic touch.

Please, do sleep well tonight. Personally I am going to open a reasonably good bottle of wine and make a toast to all people who were nuts enough to endure the exams today.

Good luck with the results and take care everyone!
Tomás


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Karen Stokes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:37
Member (2003)
French to English
Best of luck! Jan 22, 2010

Hi Tomás,

If it's any comfort I remember feeling precisely the same when I came out of my Dip Trans - much worse than my finals at university!

Hope the wine was good and best of luck with your results.

Karen


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Anne Woodall
Local time: 07:37
Italian to English
+ ...
How long does it take to get your results? Jan 22, 2010

I'm just starting a prep course for the 2011 DipTrans. Up until now I have only been working as a translator part time. I'm curious: how long did it take you to prepare for the test? This path represents a considerable professional investment for me, and I am anxious to hear feedback that I am making the right step.
Best of luck on the results!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Preparation and results Jan 22, 2010

Anne wrote:
This path represents a considerable professional investment for me, and I am anxious to hear feedback that I am making the right step.
Best of luck on the results!

I think that you made a wise move doing a preparatory course which, if it is good, will expose you to tricky texts and a wide variety of challenges.

The degree of preparation you may need depends on your personal ability and experience when you start. I would say that very experienced translators might need a shorter course to be introduced to the method of the exam, the kind of texts translated, the challenges you are bound to face and the kind of approaches acceptable when facing a real translation difficulty at some level. If you only translate part-time and have a limited experience so far, it is best to prepare thoroughly as you plan to do.

All I can say is that the approximately 1,500 words translated in total in the three papers take a very long time to do as the papers probably condense the range of challenges you usually encounter in months of professional translation. That is at least how it felt...

Results are given in 4 months, i.e. May, as far as I am aware.

May I ask you who are you doing the prep course with? Just sheer Spanish curiosity!


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Rebecca Davis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:37
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
Preparation Hints Jan 22, 2010

Anne
It is a big investment and it's tough...But when I took all three French to English papers in 2005, I found that it was as much about speed and organisation as about the difficulty of the content. What I did was to get hold of all the past papers I could, made sure I could translate them with time to spare and then read through the examiners' comments very thoroughly...
If you are already translating professionally and practice a little, you should do very well.
Best of luck!
Rebecca


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Joanna M.
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:37
English to Polish
+ ...
:-) Jan 22, 2010

I sat the exam yesterday as well - 3 parts in one day - I have never felt that exhausted!!!
I got home too late last night but I will have a little drinkie today to all of you!
Good luck everyone!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good luck! Jan 23, 2010

moodget wrote:
I sat the exam yesterday as well - 3 parts in one day - I have never felt that exhausted!!!
I got home too late last night but I will have a little drinkie today to all of you!
Good luck everyone!

Good luck with the results!

Maybe this is wishful thinking, but I think that if you have seen the difficulty of the papers and have worked hard dealing with them, there are higher chances of passing. I was astonished to see that some people in my exam location were able to start typing right away and finish very early! I wonder whether I am just slow or they did not notice the many pitfalls in the texts.


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Joanna M.
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:37
English to Polish
+ ...
Same here! Jan 23, 2010

Got same feelings here. Don't think you are slow! All we can do now is sit and wait - all these months till we find out!!!!

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Lingua.Franca  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:37
German to English
+ ...
Discuss the text? Jan 23, 2010

Why would be not allowed to discuss the texts? Just curious...

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
From the regulations Jan 24, 2010

Lingua.Franca wrote:
Why would be not allowed to discuss the texts? Just curious...

This comes from the 2010 regulations:

In the interests of security candidates must not remove any examination material, including rough work, scripts and question papers, from the Examination Centre and are required to hand in all such material at the end of the examination. Examination material includes hard copies and / or electronic copies of scripts when IT facilities are used. Failure to hand in examination materials may be viewed as an attempt to cheat and would result in an automatic fail..

Indeed this does not say that we cannot discuss the contents of the exam in the open, but this script return regulation sounds as if they want to keep the exam alive and secret for other purposes. If we discussed our approaches to the challenges in the papers, we would act against that idea.


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Anne Woodall
Local time: 07:37
Italian to English
+ ...
Thanks for the encouragement! Jan 24, 2010

I'm taking the distance course from City University in London. I will definitely be taking Rebecca's advice to study past exams.

Even though I have a strong aptitude and language skills, I do feel like there are gaps because I've never had formal language training. I've been working with an agency at very low rates for three years with a few better paying private projects here and there. Even though most professionals would consider such rates an insult, I felt it was a way to get my foot in the door and get some experience with non-specialised texts.

I really hope that the DipTrans can help me make a jump in professional quality. My biggest preoccupation is specialising. I come from a humanities background, and we all know what a huge market there is for that!

For the moment I'm considering choosing business and social science for parts 2 and 3. I'm attracted to law but have no familiarity with the British legal system and that seems like too much of a jump. I've been warned that literature is exceedingly difficult.

Do you have any thoughts on the choice of specialisations in the exam?


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Lingua.Franca  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:37
German to English
+ ...
Discussing texts Jan 24, 2010

Hi,

Fair enough - I understand that we are not allowed to take the exam papers and any notes with us when we leave the examination hall (after all, they make money on selling them). However, there is nothing wrong with discussing the texts after the exam.

I took the exam on 20 January and found one of the texts impossible to translate within the allocated time (2 hours).

The only advice I have for other candidates is to learn how to use the dictionaries quickly, and to really watch the time, because the texts are difficult and 3 hours (or 2, depending on the text) is not a very long time.

TT


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Try it all during the course before choosing Jan 24, 2010

Anne Woodall wrote:
I really hope that the DipTrans can help me make a jump in professional quality. My biggest preoccupation is specialising. I come from a humanities background, and we all know what a huge market there is for that!

Well, I think that what should worry you is the exam itself. After taking it last Thursday, all I can say that you have to prepare for it as much as possible.

As for the topics, if you come from a humanities background you might want to take social science and literature. If you read a lot and have written yourself a bit, it might prove to be easier than you think, although I reckon it does demand a very good level of English and a lot of previous reading in English. I did NOT take the literature paper, so I cannot tell how hard it was this time. I have seen another paper from past exams during my course with the City University.

May I suggest that you tell your tutor that you'd like to do as many different texts as possible (even law for the sake of learning), so that you get a better grasp of the difficulty you can expect in the actual papers?


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Dictionaries Jan 24, 2010

Lingua.Franca wrote:
The only advice I have for other candidates is to learn how to use the dictionaries quickly, and to really watch the time, because the texts are difficult and 3 hours (or 2, depending on the text) is not a very long time.

I agree. You must time yourself very precisely as time is not really long for the texts.

Any person who uses dictionaries on a daily basis should be OK, but you might face a problem if you only use electronic dictionaries and don't even have paper dictionaries other than that old one your parents gave you as a gift when you got your degree. Yes, I mean that one that is still shrink-wrapped under your old sweaters from the 90's! I think that taking one bilingual dictionary and maybe a thesaurus are not a very good idea. Not enough!

It is a must to have at the very least a good monolingual dictionary in English, one or two good bilingual dictionaries, dictionaries of grammar and spelling for your language (or at least in the case of Spanish, given the breath of rules in place), a good monolingual dictionary in the target language, and as many specialised dictionaries you can gather. Maybe you won't have to use them, but better safe than sorry.


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Marie Weber  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:37
Member (2008)
English to German
time and specialisations Jan 24, 2010

I also took the exam on the 21st and must say I felt quite exhausted that evening... I think dead is the term Tomàs used, which might be more appropriate.

As Lingua.Franca states, the most exhausting aspect of the examination is the tight time frame, in my opinion. The texts always include several pitfalls, but are manageable. However, you need to maintain a high level of concentration throughout the whole day (if you take all units in one sitting, that is), and that can be a little nerve-wrecking.
I remember going through both the source and my target text in the last five minutes yet again, noticing that I had forgotten to translate a subordinate clause in the very last paragraph - and minute. Afterwards I wondered how I managed to come up with a half-decent translation in the remaining 20 seconds. Oh, the adrenaline.

Anne Woodall wrote:
Do you have any thoughts on the choice of specialisations in the exam?

Anne, I actually wouldn't make a final decision until the day of the exam. I also leaned towards Business and Social Science when I prepared for the exam, but ended up translating the Science text instead of Social Science after having carefully read through both texts. The papers can differ so widely regarding topic, language and/or tricky vocabulary that you might end up feeling more comfortable with a text that is actually not the specialisation you prepared for.

Once again, congratulations to all the examees - and a thank you to Tomás for opening up a thread for us.

Marie


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