Issues with keyboarded sittings at IoL exam
Thread poster: pikachupichu

pikachupichu  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 23:11
English to Japanese
+ ...
Apr 22, 2013

I had previously posted concerning the issues of translators with special needs.

http://www.proz.com/forum/getting_established/223214-certification_exam_which_is_computerized_instead_of_handwriting.html

I recently contacted IoL to find if I can write an exam with the keyboarded sitting.
Due to the severe tenosynovitis, I really can't write by hand.

Although they say that I can sit at one of three locations in London, England, there are clear differences in compared to other certification exams.

"Exam writers must print out the scripts within the exam hours, and take full responsibilities." "No extra time will be compensated even if there are any troubles out of exam writers controls such as paper jam, printer malfunctioning, networks slow connectivity and others."

Basically, IoL is maintaining the tough position regarding the printout. British Council in Tokyo advised me that they cannot let me take a keyboarded sitting because of the above reasons due to the shared printers in their office, but they advised me that they may purchase a standalone printer. Still they require the printout within the exam hours so it is still risky such as paper jams and troubles which could suddenly happen with the printer.

On Page 7 (Page 10 of the PDF file), the regulations say;
“That the time allowed for printing of the examination script is included in the time allowed by the IoLET for the examination. No extra time will be given for printing of answers.”

http://www.iol.org.uk/qualifications/CandidateRegulations2010SH.pdf

Is this a fair practise?

I will be disqualified in case of paper jams, networks malfunctioning and any troubles with printing after paying over a thousand dollars.

I have been in touch with IoL's Candidate Manager and British Council Tokyo's Exam Officer to find only their bureaucratic responses. I am looking for someone in the upper management of IoL to address the issue. What I am trying to do is to narrow the responsibilities of exam writers from preparing the printed papers to be submitted, to executing "print" command only within the exam hours.

Please advise if you know any idea concerning the senior people in IoL who could possible implement something on exceptions. I asked the people described in the above paragraph to let me know but they simply repeat the same answer described in the middle of this posting.

[Edited at 2013-04-22 23:17 GMT]


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Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:11
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Different in reality Apr 23, 2013

Hi,

Whilst I understand of course that you want to get confirmation prior to investing a large amount of money as well as your time, in my experience, the official line probably differs somewhat to reality.
I have taken two DipTrans exams in London and in one centre, you could print out your exam paper in the room and in the next centre, you didn't print it out at all, they provided you with a memory stick and you saved your exam on that and handed that in! They were also very friendly and accomodating so if you wanted to proofread on paper, the invigilator would go and get your paper printed for you. I don't think that an exam centre would take the risk of penalizing you for paper jams because if they do that to you, they do it to everyone and there would be an uproar.

I totally understand your wanting to type the exam. I would never have taken it in a centre that didn't offer those facilities as I am definitely more productive typing. Whether you can take the exam with a keyboard or not depends on the centre though, not on the IoL. You have to find a centre that offers IT facilities and still has places available when you apply. Certainly in the UK, most centres offer IT facilities (although in Spain they don't for example) but it's always best to check and confirm your place in advance.

However, I do understand that the IoL wants to underline the fact that if people can't finish their exams on time, then perhaps they shouldn't pass. If someone is good at translating, there is plenty of time to translate, proofread and print in the time given. It is a difficult exam though and that's one of the reasons it has such prestige. What they're not going to do is put in writing "oh, OK, you can break the rules if you want to and if you exceed the exam time it doesn't matter".

However, you'll find that once you're dealing with a person in an exam centre, their motivation will be to try to help and be as accomodating as possible without being unfair to others so I'm sure that it wouldn't occur to an invigilator to not accept your paper because of a paper jam that made you exceed the exam time by one minute.

One of the DipTrans exams I took coincided with a severe snow storm (why oh why do they insist on having it in January?) and some people got there late without being penalized.


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pikachupichu  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 23:11
English to Japanese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Many thanks Apr 25, 2013

Hi, Marie-Helene,

Thank you very much for your detailed knowledge and thoughts on your experiences.

I believe that I can write an exam at one of three IT facilities in London, England, although I have to come over all the way from Japan.


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:11
French to English
+ ...
Not discriminatory Apr 25, 2013

pikachupichu wrote:

Is this a fair practise?

I will be disqualified in case of paper jams, networks malfunctioning and any troubles with printing after paying over a thousand dollars.


The practice applies to all candidates sitting the exam in a centre with computing facilities (I don't really understand your phrase "keyboarded sitting" but I assume this is what you mean) who use those facilities. So this isn't discrimination against candidates with special needs. I took the exam in such a centre, because it was my preference rather than because of any injury/disability, and no-one had any problems with printing.

Perhaps you could negotiate with the British Council in Tokyo to bring your own printer, or pursue the option they mentioned, that they might buy a standalone printer. It seems quite drastic to come all the way to London when this problem could be solved locally.

Whichever you end up doing, I recommend printing a draft when you finish it (perhaps half-way through the exam time) to reassure yourself that the printer works and so you can read it through on paper.


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Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:11
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I had to travel Apr 25, 2013

though not from Japan (gasp!) to do the exams on both occasions. This was simply because I chose to do it on a keyboard and couldn't do this where I was living (in Spain and Belgium). If you do end up choosing to do the exam in London, feel free to write to me privately if you have any questions about anything, from the centre, the time, to travel/hotel recommendations.

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Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:11
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
another thing I've just remembered Apr 25, 2013

I strongly recommend buying past papers and doing the exam under exam conditions at home before actually sitting it, just so you have a feel for timing.
There is a publisher that sells the papers and e-mails them to you for a modest fee and it's listed on the CIoL website. It's well worth it I think.


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pikachupichu  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 23:11
English to Japanese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Keyboarded sitting - precisely "keyboarded exam sitting" Apr 26, 2013

Angela Dickson wrote:


The practice applies to all candidates sitting the exam in a centre with computing facilities (I don't really understand your phrase "keyboarded sitting" but I assume this is what you mean) who use those facilities.


Hi, Angela,

To the best of my knowledge, there are two types. One is to use a PC available at the exam centre like some London based centres for IoL exam. Another is to bring your own PC to the exam centre like ATA certification.

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/tradnorte/XSVkXhpzZRk/1x9447uDV3cJ

I believe that the practise of IoL is not discriminatory, but I feel not too friendly.

Anyway, British Council in Tokyo (BCT) maintains the firm position and they do not guarantee the functionality of the printer, while they are ready to penalise me should there be any BCT internal issues in printing. Currently, I am preparing for the exam in London, England because many people have taken the exams with keyboarded exam sittings in the past years and I have not heard that there had been any problems in printing so far.

I have the sufficient miles with my frequent flyer account to buy a round trip ticket to London Heathrow, and have booked a hotel room nearby one of the three exam centres.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:11
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Beg your pardon? Apr 26, 2013

pikachupichu wrote:
On Page 7 (Page 10 of the PDF file), the regulations say;
“That the time allowed for printing of the examination script is included in the time allowed by the IoLET for the examination. No extra time will be given for printing of answers.”

http://www.iol.org.uk/qualifications/CandidateRegulations2010SH.pdf

Is this a fair practise?

I will be disqualified in case of paper jams, networks malfunctioning and any troubles with printing after paying over a thousand dollars.

I don't see your point. You have problems writing by hand and are allowed another method to write your exam. If this method requires technical means and you have problems using them, it is not IOL's fault. It would be unfair to other candidates to give you more time to solve your problems.

If you see a risk of technical problems keeping you from handing out the printed exam on time... make sure you prepare things well and arrive at the venue with ample time to test it all before the exam starts, or reserve the first 10 minutes of the exam time to resolve any issues.

And as with anything in life, if you think the exam's conditions are unfair for whatever reason, your best option is not to vent your concerns here, but to communicate with IOL... or not take the exam at all.

[Edited at 2013-04-26 15:28 GMT]


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Jane Proctor  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:11
French to English
Tomas, I totally understand the asker's concerns Apr 26, 2013

If I were planning on sitting these (tough, I know, because I've done them) exams on my tod in Japan, I would be asking the very same question.

It's all very well (maybe) if there are technical problems in a group situation.. as Marie-Helene pointed out, there would be collective outrage if the printers kept jamming. But when it's just you... well that's another matter.

Indeed, against all logic, I opted to handwrite the exams, because I was so afraid of a technical hitch happening on the day!

Whatever you choose to do, Pikachupichu, very good luck to you.. do lots of practice translations and remember your papers are likely to be marked by someone of a certain age applying criteria of a very certain kind!!!!!


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