IOL - classes or distance learning
Thread poster: Armorel Young

Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:14
German to English
Dec 5, 2002

I would like to do the course offered by City University which leads to the IOL Diploma in Translating, starting in January. The course can be done by distance learning or by attending classes once a week in London. I live some distance from London (2 hours by train) but am considering travelling down each week to go to the class, as I think it would be interesting and stimulating to do the course with other people rather than sit alone at home. But travelling to London will involve me in considerable time and expense (including possibly the need to stay overnight). Is there anyone who has done either the classes or the distance learning course who can comment on whether it is worth making the effort to attend the classes in person?


Lia Fail (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
ex-distance student for IOL Dec 6, 2002

Hi Armorel

I did the IOL by distance (Spanish-English at IH Barcelona). I think it\'s Ok by distance if you have had experience in translating, but it\'s a tough exam for people with little or no experience (Master\'s students are known to have failed it), so in that case attendance might be best.

Remember that the exam is entirely practical, and even the annotations are no longer compulsory. That said, some knowledge of theory is useful (we were recommended books by Peter Newmark - Approaches to Translation - and Mona Baker -In Other Words-).

Another thing about class attendance is whether you have the time, time to travel, etc. Yes you would benefit from working with other people, but you might be more effective working alone (groups tend to sit around and have endless discussions going nowhere sometimes!), particularly if you bear in mind the practical nature of the exam.


Ailish icon_smile.gif


Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:14
German to English
+ ...
Depends ... Dec 6, 2002

I haven\'t had any experience with the IOL course myself, so I can\'t really comment, but I would imagine the in-person course would have to be very rewarding to justify the time and expense of travelling 2 hours in and out of London!

Admittedly, it would involve more contact with other translators, more of that human feeling, rather than just sitting down in front of a computer all the time. And we all do enough of that as it is icon_wink.gif

Can you ask the course organisers for the contact details of a couple of the people who did it (by correspondence and in class) last year? I can\'t see why they should have a problem with that.



Who lives an hour from London but avoids it like the plague icon_lol.gif


Local time: 00:14
Italian to English
Ex - IOL distance learning student Dec 6, 2002

Last academic year, I did two terms of the IOL distance learning course in Translation IT>ENG. As already stated by another ex distance learner, we were given a suggested reading list. Then, each week, we were sent a script via e-mail, which we were required to translate and submit for marking. The marked script was then returned in hard copy form by post. In addition, we were allocated a 30 minute telephone tutorial each term, in order to discuss any issues with the tutor who had marked the scripts.

I, too, would be interested to hear from anyone who attended a course at the university itself, in order to find out whether there is anything to be gained from attending in person and to compare the two options. I did not do the Summer term of the course as I had other commitments but, if time allows, I may do it this year, with a view to sitting the exam in January 2004. As others have stated the exam is tough with, I\'ve heard, only a 20% pass rate and, as the fees are pretty steep, I want to be confident of passing before committing myself.

Margaret White MIL


Amy Sommer  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:14
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
Is it really that tough...? Dec 6, 2002

Now I am really worried as I will be sitting the exam in January... Only 20%... oh dear...

I have followed the City University distance learning course for the last year and have found it to be very good and I can fit it into my schedule whereas that would be difficult if I had to travel to class. On the other hand maybe there would have been more on the theoretical side in class. However, the proof is in the pudding and I will see how I manage the exam.


Nicole Tata  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:14
English to German
+ ...
distance learning worked for me ... Dec 9, 2002

Hi Armorel

I asked myself exactly the same question two years ago when I looked at all the available options. I live in Brighton (1 hour from London on a good day, of which there aren\'t all that many) and could have made the effort to attend classed in London. In the end, I decided to go for a correspondence course and sat the Dipl Trans exam locally -thus managing to avoid London twice!

My experience of the correspondence course was great, and I can heartily recommend Susanne James\' team for Ger-Engl. Basically, I was sent assignments (=past exam papers) to do at home which I then sent off to my \'tutor\' who returned them with comments. My main worries were how to do the papers in the time allowed (down to lots of practice in the end) and the dreaded annotations (no longer needed for a pass). My tutor\'s comments were very often critical but always helpful and encouraging. I also had two telephone tutorials which were useful since I had saved up about a million questions by then. I personally needed the peace and quiet to throw myself into translating whole-heartedly without distraction. I\'d done the student thing before so saw no need for more social life there. And I had something to prove to myself. I was in a hurry, totally focused and with grim determination to get through the exams. Thankfully, it worked.

On the other hand, it does get lonely when it seems you\'re the only one in the world doing the exam, with no-one to talk to who really understands. Depends on your personality, I suppose, and whether you are already working as a translator and know people. Had I known about ProZ then (or indeed any other network), I would have been a very active member!

Good luck



To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

IOL - classes or distance learning

Advanced search

Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »
memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search