Failed IoL DipTrans
Thread poster: Suzanne Withers

Suzanne Withers  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:36
French to English
May 5, 2006

Hi, I'm a newbie here

I am hoping that translation will be my new vocation, after working as a software engineer for 8 years.

I took the DipTrans (all 3 papers) in January in FR>EN and have just received my results. I passed papers 1 and 2 but failed paper 3 (I took the Social Science option).

I am extremely disappointed as I had hoped to get the diploma and start trying to get translation work with a view to building up experience and becoming a freelancer over time. Waiting another year to retake is a major setback.

My question is, is it worth my starting to put out feelers anyway, despite the fact that I don' t have the full diploma (yet)? I know that many translators do not have diplomas but I guess what they do have is experience and a reputation, which I don't have.

Has anyone else failed a paper who would be willing to share their experience?

I'm just not sure how to proceed from here, so the thoughts of those who are in the know would be much appreciated.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:36
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Suggest you start to gather experience May 5, 2006

Hi Suze,

First of all, congratulations on already passing two papers! It is an exam which is set at a very high academic level.

Even though you do not have the full diploma yet, it would be a good idea to start gathering experience already. I was certainly translating a long time before I acquired the Diploma, and every translation that I did helped me to gather the experience required to pass the Diploma.

Somewhere in the literature about the Dip. Trans. it says that you are not supposed to be able to pass the exams directly after university, but rather that a pass in any of the papers constitutes a recognition of experience gained through working as a translator, and that experience is assumed in order to succeed in this exam.

If you have passed 2 papers out of 3, then you are most certainly in a position to offer your services to the translation agencies. Start by answering job advertisements on Proz and also by writing to agencies individually with your C.V. It is worth mentioning the papers you passed in your C.V. Remember that, if you have passed 2 papers out of 3, it does not mean to the world that you failed one. Many people only sit one paper per year in any case. You only have to pass all three within five years.

Quite possibly you failed Paper 3 due to having used up all your ability to concentrate on the first two papers. That happens to quite a lot of candidates. You will probably have no trouble passing it next year, since you will only be doing the one paper. Nevertheless, a year's experience in the meantime will be worth more than any preparatory courses, etc.

Good luck with finding a couple of agencies to work for!

Astrid


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Suzanne Withers  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:36
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your encouragement May 5, 2006

Thank you Astrid

When you put it like that, it doesn't seem so bad. I guess I need to stay positive and start getting out there and proving myself professionally.

I'm not used to failing exams, so it was one hell of a blow when I got the results. But I'm starting to be more philosophical about it.

Thanks again

Suzie


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FishX  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:36
Polish to English
+ ...
keep up the good work May 6, 2006

well, it's a pain to fail part of the exam, but you passed most of it, and that means a lot already, huh? I'm going to be taking the exam in January polish to english and already have plenty of experience, but I'm getting nervous anyway. I did notice that English agencies do require the exam generally, but not necessarily all of them, and the situation may be different in France for example. Actually I'm also trying to set myself up as a freelance so I don't have that much advice to give but one idea you might try is to contact an establish translator/agency and offer to be a sort of apprentice, so you work for a significantly smaller fee than the market rate, get your work checked and thus get the essential experience. And experience is essential. I glanced at the exam and it seems pretty easy to texts you get in the real world, at least in Poland. In any case I wouldn't hang around for a whole year twiddling my thumbs. I contacted all the agencies already and when/if I get my exam I'll just do it again. So far no English agency has hired me, even though I imagine my language combination is pretty rare and growing in popularity, but I did get some interest and you never know, you only need a few regular clients and you're away! Good luck anyway.

Adrian


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Abd Latiff Bidin  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:36
English to Malay
+ ...
I second Astrid's answer May 6, 2006

Hi Suzie,

Things may be different where I am but just like Astrid's case, I was translating part-time from 1978 before i went full-time in 1997 (at age 46) and obtained my diploma the following year. The earlier work I did helped me top-score in my examinations.

And after getting the diploma, while my ccursemates were struggling to find clients, I already had a small but growing clientele. So go for it, put out feelers, do all the marketing you need to and start showing your stuff. Don't be surprised if some of the clients you get now will remain with you for years to come so long as you produce good work and keep serving them well.

All the best
Abd Latiff Bidin
En>Ms Translator, Malaysia


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Suzanne Withers  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:36
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, and good luck Adrian! May 6, 2006

Thanks Abd and Adrian

I must say I'm very impressed with this online community. What a supportive bunch you are?

Adrian - good luck when you take the exam in January. I'm sure with your experience you'll be fine.

I did find it weird doing an exam after all that time, but the Cardiff university exam centre was very well equipped (we had PCs to use, unlike some other centres) and the atmosphere was really quite relaxed and unthreatening.

To be honest, the text I failed on was not particularly hard. I guess I must have made a slip-up on the decoding. Not worth dwelling on though, I need to get busy!

Thanks again, people


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FishX  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:36
Polish to English
+ ...
exam blues May 7, 2006

from what I saw of the exam it seemed really simple compared to what I've had to deal with in real life, so presuming you know your French, which I'm sure you do, I doubt that it was the difficulty that tripped you, like that lady said more likely it was concentration and time constraint. What I discovered when I started to take the job seriously is how easily mistakes can slip through the net, especially when you're tired. It's essential to have the right checking procedure, especially printing out your text onto paper and comparing sentence by sentence. Are you retaking the missing part in January. If so I'll send you some of my nervousness. Meanwhile good luck with your marketing, any ideas would be welcome. I've been walking into people's offices lately. Not my favourite pastime, I must say.

Adrian


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LESLEY LAWN  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:36
Member (2013)
French to English
+ ...
dip trans failed May 8, 2006

SuzeW wrote:

Hi, I'm a newbie here

I am hoping that translation will be my new vocation, after working as a software engineer for 8 years.

I took the DipTrans (all 3 papers) in January in FR>EN and have just received my results. I passed papers 1 and 2 but failed paper 3 (I took the Social Science option).

I am extremely disappointed as I had hoped to get the diploma and start trying to get translation work with a view to building up experience and becoming a freelancer over time. Waiting another year to retake is a major setback.

My question is, is it worth my starting to put out feelers anyway, despite the fact that I don' t have the full diploma (yet)? I know that many translators do not have diplomas but I guess what they do have is experience and a reputation, which I don't have.

Has anyone else failed a paper who would be willing to share their experience?

I'm just not sure how to proceed from here, so the thoughts of those who are in the know would be much appreciated.


Hi - I sympathise! I took all three papers too and failed two of them. I admit i am gutted as i thought i'd done a good job on the Lit. paper. [ Literary translation is what i am generally very good at] The Social Science I expected to do badly on as it was hard. It is good to read others comments in the forum - i know that i was so tired after paper 2 that my concentration had gone and that to do a;ll three on one day was over ambitious ! I did get a Distinction on the first paper--does that mean I'm not completely crap? I am fifty and before i got the results was beginning to feel that the world of translation was harder to break into than I had thought, now i feel totally discouraged. Should i bother retaking these papers? is it worth appealing against a fail? any comments please!


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Claire Titchmarsh  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:36
Italian to English
+ ...
It's much harder than real life... May 8, 2006

I took the Dip. Trans. last year. Although I passed the 3 papers at the first attempt I have to admit it was EXTREMELY difficult and rather an unrealistic assessment of your ability (unless you have 35 years' experience when you sit the exam ). In my experience a good translation needs to be "slept on" so you can look at it the next morning with fresh eyes. You can't do that in an exam, so you can't expect to produce your best work.

And then there's the internet...


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Anne Zielisch MCIL
Local time: 06:36
English to German
I also failed one - if that's any consolation to you... May 19, 2006

...didn't expect to pass all three, though. One person here said it's okay to mention the positive results on one's CV, which I've done. My question now is: Can you also list it under "credentials" or would that be going too far?;-) From what I've heard (potential) employers only accept a "complete" certificate, but I'm glad to hear otherwise. I failed the General (must have still been asleep), got a "pass" for Literature (2) and a "merit" for Social Science (3). Might have got a "distinction" if there'd been a fourth paper.
I issued a remark just so I that can tell myself that I've tried everything and not regret it later on. After all, remember that only a minority pass, i.e. it's perfectly fine to fail the first time.


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