Typos in the Dip. Trans!
Thread poster: Bee Bee

Bee Bee
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:52
Jul 14, 2010


I took the Dip. Trans. French to English this year and passed papers 1 and 3. I failed paper 2 and have just been retranslating it as my first assignment in preparation for a re-take.

I have spotted two typos on the exam paper ('Sarkosy' for 'Sarkozy' and 'ouvrer' for 'ouvrier'). I thought they could be traps, but have found the original text online and these are errors by the IOL! I find this unprofessional and annoying, given how perfect our punctuation and grammar must be to pass the exam. Of course they will never own up to mistakes like this. Grr!


Peggy Maeyer  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:52
English to German
Well, that actually mirrors a translator's real life Jul 15, 2010

Hi Bee Bee,

I do understand that you find it a bit annoying - but couldn't it be that the exam text was chosen because it was not "perfect" and contained mistakes like that? In "real" life, it happens rather often that a source text delivered by a customer contains mistakes of all sorts (spelling, grammar, misspelled names, wrong usage of words, etc., etc.) - and a "good" translator should spot these, i.e., should realize that a person's name is not written correctly and write it correctly in the translation. Or, if a problem for some reason cannot be solved independently nor clarified with the customer, to insert a translator's note pointing out the problem and indicating that the translation of a certain word/sentence/passage needs to be checked because the source text was not clear.
Maybe part of the exam was to test how the students would deal with such typical problems? And even if these "mistakes" were made on the part of the IOL - they might still haven been inserted on purpose for the above reason.
Interesting though that you spotted these mistakes only now that you translate the text for a second timeicon_wink.gif

Alle the best for your re-take!


Karen Stokes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:52
Member (2003)
French to English
Authentic texts Jul 15, 2010

It's a while since I did my DipTrans but I agree with Peggy - in the translation assignments I've been doing for my MA there's always a note in the rubric that says something to the effect that the text "may contain errors, which should be dealt with appropriately in your translation". Knowing how to deal with problems in the source text is part and parcel of your skills as a translator, to my mind, so it doesn't seem unreasonable to me to test it.


Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:52
English to Hungarian
+ ...
What does IoL say about it? Jul 15, 2010

The ATA gives the following guidelines for dealing with errors in the source text:

Q: What should I do if I find an error in the source text?
A: If you find a typographical error, please tell us in a note at the end of your translation of that passage. (Don’t just write it on the exam passage itself—it might not be noticed.)

If it’s clear from the context what the correct spelling or wording should be, adjust your translation accordingly.
Example: Brot un Butter instead of Brot und Butter (don’t translate as bread an butter).

If the error is debatable, do the best you can with what’s there. Example: If you think odd style should really be old style, translate odd style and add a note suggesting that there’s a typo. If you translate old style and you’re wrong about the typo, an error will be marked.

These are quite logical and reasonable. Doesn't IoL have similar recommendations? If they are published, candidates can be expected to be aware of them.

And while these typos seem annoying, I agree with Karen's assessment.

Kind regards,


Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:52
Spanish to English
+ ...
Introduced into the text on purpose! Jul 15, 2010

I find it very difficult to believe that the IOL introduced these typos into the text on purpose. It is far more likely that these typos have crept in. If it were the IOL's intention to text your "error recognition" skills, this possibility must naturally be drawn to your attention somehow, or there would be a guideline on it.

This is a one-off exam (not part of a course with a string of assignments) and you expect the piece to be error-free, and reasonably so too. All the more so, given the price of it and the ample time they allow themselves for marking the translations. But in your case, the typos made no difference to your performance in the exam as you didn't even notice them. So the typos are of anecdotal value only.

In real life of course translations can be peppered with minor errors. I was taught to correct them and not to say anything, and there is a lot to be said for this hassle-free approach.

Good luck with your retake.


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Typos in the Dip. Trans!

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