"The Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) is the gold standard..."
Thread poster: Neilson1235

Neilson1235  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 20:45
Japanese to English
+ ...
May 19, 2015

Hello all,

I'm looking to get some formal qualification as a translator and the DipTrans is at the top of my list, well, the only one on my list. But, upon browsing their website I stumbled across the claim that "The Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) is the gold standard".

I just wanted to know everyone's thoughts as to whether they think this holds any truth. I'm sure it's rigorous and a good standard, but THE gold standard...? It sounds like a bit of advertising "puff", if anything.

Thanks for reading.


 

David Hayes  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:45
Member (2009)
French to English
Hyperbole May 19, 2015

I think you can safely take this as hyperbole. I guess all institutions make similar claims about their exams.

Although I think the DipTrans is worth having, there are other options are open to you. If you have more time and money, perhaps you could consider an MA in translation. It would be interesting to have feedback from people who hold both the DipTrans and an MA in translation. Anyone out there care to comment?


 

Neilson1235  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 20:45
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Considered that May 19, 2015

Hi David, thanks for your reply. I did suspect it to be hyperbole.

I've applied for an MA and was accepted, and the offer is on the table now but I don't think I will take it. Firstly I've already got too many degrees, and secondly, since I've already worked in a translation environment I feel that I would be spending a lot of time (that could be spent actually working and "hustling") reinventing the wheel. Much better to just find alternate guidance and find a qualification that's less taxing in terms of finances and lifestyle!


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:45
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Don't take it literally May 19, 2015

Neilson1235 wrote:
Upon browsing their website I stumbled across the claim that "The Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) is the gold standard...".


It's not really a claim, but a statement. It occurs in the opening paragraph of a page whose purpose is to convince you that the diploma is worth having. As such, you should interpret it as a boast, not a claim.

[Edited at 2015-05-19 07:41 GMT]


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 12:45
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
It is useful and gets you recognised, but so do many other things May 19, 2015

Have you seen this thread?

http://www.proz.com/forum/marketing_for_translators/285941-diptrans_bdÜ_ciol_for_seasoned_translators.html

It is useful to have some kind of evidence that you can translate professionally, and are not simply a bilingual, however fine your other qualifications may be.

There is AFAIK no specific course for the DipTrans, but it shows that you have reached a level of professionalism and can produce results. That might be just what you need, as you already have a fair number of degrees. Translating is all about real life as well as studying, and you can't learn everything at university!

I did not take it - I was exempted on the strength of the translation diploma I already had from a Danish university. The DipTrans is not set in my source language very often.
At that stage, as a comparative beginner, I found the course very useful, but I would not recommend it to anyone who had already been translating for any length of time.

I think the 'Gold Standard' claim refers partly to the fact that in these days of proliferating diplomas and degrees, people know where they are with the DipTrans. It might be a good idea for you, if none of your other qualifications are specifically in translation, or it might be superfluous.


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 18:45
Chinese to English
In the land of the blind... May 19, 2015

There aren't that many translation standards out there, and the Diptrans is certainly among the best, so I don't think it's much of an exaggeration. If you have the diptrans, you can definitely walk up to any agency with a swagger in your step and say: look, I can do this.

But this is a completely open industry, and no-one needs a qualification to get started. If you can hustle, then hustle.


 

Mark Thompson  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:45
Portuguese to English
Can't hurt to have it May 19, 2015

I obtained the DipTrans in my pair in 2011, and it certainly hasn't done me any harm - another string to the bow, so to speak.

 

Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 12:45
German to Swedish
+ ...
Don't May 19, 2015

Don't study translation. Study the subjects that you would like to work with as a translator.
(Law, finance, management, tourism, electronics, whatever.)

Mine is probably a minority view here.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 12:45
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
A little study goes a long way May 19, 2015

Joakim Braun wrote:

Don't study translation. Study the subjects that you would like to work with as a translator.
(Law, finance, management, tourism, electronics, whatever.)

Mine is probably a minority view here.


I don't entirely disagree with this approach.
Once you are aware of what makes the difference between a real translator and just swapping the words in one language for the words in another, you can see it everywhere.

A little example: in the old British Highways code, there was focus on which stream of traffic had the 'right of way'. In the Danish equivalent the emphasis was almost always on the obligation to give way - there is no expression equivalent to 'right of way'.
So a translator has to re-word the sentence to fit.
(The modern British Highway Code is more balanced, but you still have to adapt in a translation to the expressions people actually use.)

Every trade and profession has its special language or jargon, and it is far more important to use the expressions people expect when translating. By studying the subjects you would like to work with, for one thing you will understand the finer points, which you cannot find in dictionaries or by googling for five minutes.
For another, you will learn the special language used, so it is important to study in both your source and your target languages and note the equivalnets and the differences.

There comes a point where you do not need to study academically for certificates and diplomas. As you say, you have enough: you can prove that you are able to read up on a subject when you need to.

'Study' your subject areas as close to hands-on as you can get: go and talk to the people who practise or work in the business, and read the instructions they follow, their professional literature, their employment contracts and product specifications or whatever documentation they use.

This will be far more useful to you as a working translator than years of discussion of linguistics and etymology, deixis and semiotics, Chomsky and Sapir-Whorf and all the others, fascinating as they may be. One of my professors called it Pragmatism...

If you have the DipTrans on your CV, then fine, but IMHO you need down-to-earth idiomatic translation skills, and that is what clients are really looking for.

Best of luck!


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Exactly May 20, 2015

Mark Thompson wrote:
I obtained the DipTrans in my pair in 2011, and it certainly hasn't done me any harm - another string to the bow, so to speak.

Exactly my thoughts. When I got my DipTrans (also in 2011), I had been translating for 16 years already and had obtained the ATA Certification three years earlier.

Personally I do find it reassuring when I see a DipTrans in a trained translator's CV. Other sources of peace of mind for me would be the ATA Certification, the Australian NAATI accreditation, membership of the British ITI, or the Canadian CTTIC Certification, to name the ones that come to mind.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Disagree May 20, 2015

Joakim Braun wrote:
Don't study translation. Study the subjects that you would like to work with as a translator.
(Law, finance, management, tourism, electronics, whatever.)

I began my university studies in translation when I had been translating for 18 years. While three years ago I would have agreed (to a certain extent, that is), today I firmly believe that higher education in translation gives you a completely different perspective and definitely improves your capabilities in a variety of senses.

I encourage all seasoned translators who came to this trade from a previous career to try higher education in translation, despite the extra effort and expense of working and studying at the same time.


 

Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 12:45
German to Swedish
+ ...
Yes but May 20, 2015

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

I encourage all seasoned translators who came to this trade from a previous career to try higher education in translation (...)


If you have had a previous non-translation career (and possibly higher education in "real" subjects), translation studies may well give you a new perspective on things that you already know in and out. But going on from high school to translation studies, which seems to be quite common? I wouldn't hire such translators (unless, of course, they were good - there's always that!).


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not a new perspective on your specialty... it's about translation May 20, 2015

Joakim Braun wrote:
If you have had a previous non-translation career (and possibly higher education in "real" subjects), translation studies may well give you a new perspective on things that you already know in and out.

Actually this is not what I tried to convey: What I mean is that translation can always do with REAL knowledge.... of translation itself! Translation studies do not give you a new perspective on mechanics, pharmaceuticals, or contracts. They give you knowledge on translation, and in my opinion it is very useful knowledge indeed.

On the other hand, I would definitely hire (and have hired in fact) people whose first career choice is translation, as long as they have a personal interest in whatever they translate about.

[Edited at 2015-05-20 18:46 GMT]


 

Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:45
Serbian to English
+ ...
a sensible minority May 20, 2015

Joakim Braun wrote:

Don't study translation. Study the subjects that you would like to work with as a translator.
(Law, finance, management, tourism, electronics, whatever.)

Mine is probably a minority view here.


Translation is partly technique, partly art - if you don't have the right "feel" for it, no amount of theory is going to be of much use.

OTOH in-depth knowledge of few subjects in two or more languages definitely helps...


 


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