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Diploma in Translation.
Thread poster: ~Ania~

~Ania~  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:11
Polish to English
+ ...
Jul 10, 2008

Hello all,

I wondered if any of you had sat the IoL Diploma in Translation. I am thinking of sitting it next year and need to send in my registration card before the end of July this year.

The Diploma can be taken in lots of different language combinations and I am wondering if I should choose Polish as my target or source language. My situation is unusual in that I am Polish-born (my parents speak Polish to me) and I was schooled in Poland for a few years, however, I have spent the vast majority of my life in the UK, so I am as comfortable with English as I am with Polish.
I would like to choose the language combination which will give me the most opportunities as far as work is concerned.
Do you have any suggestions for me? Also, have any of you sat the exam and how difficult is it?


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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
I reckon into English Jul 10, 2008

Looking at your profile I reckon English would be your stronger native language. I think the exam is of quite of high standard. Can't help any further I'm afraid.

Good luck to you.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:11
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
The exam is set at a very high standard Jul 10, 2008

Hi Anna,

I have the Diploma in Translation. There are three papers and you do not have to sit them all in one go. If you have limited time for study, it may be a good idea to do one paper at a time. Also, you may very possibly find your concentration waning from one paper to the next if you do all three on one day, which will make each paper gradually harder than the previous one, and affect your results accordingly. You can write it up in your profile anyhow each time you pass the next paper.

While not knowing anything about your language pairs, it would appear to me that the whole world is after translations into English, and I would imagine that you may find less demand for the other way round.

Astrid


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Anne Koth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:11
German to English
Have you seen any past papers? Jul 10, 2008

I found the past papers very useful - somebody was kind enough to let me have some of their old ones, as they are quite expensive. Have you also seen the samples and handbook you can download from their website? That might help you get an idea of the level of difficulty. http://www.iol.org.uk/qualifications/exams_diptrans.asp

I agree with Astrid that doing all three at one time is hard, but if you are prepared, it's possible, and of course saves you a lot of time if you need the certificate to get into work as a translator. I did a distance learning course with City University and was lucky enough to get a conscientious tutor who wrote notes longer than the translation! That really helped me get a feel for whether I was going in the right direction or not.

The translation needs to sound absolutely fluent, well-written and natural, as well as having flawless punctuation, etc. So choose the language in which you can express yourself well without having to think twice, and in which you are 100% sure about even the trickiest spelling rules and so on. The language in which you would even feel comfortable writing about a subject you aren't that familiar with, as you will probably even be able to drag that vocab out of the depths of your memory. The language in which you can change registers and write in slang or highly formally. Looking at your profile, I'd guess that might be English? Perhaps you could try doing some translations into both languages and getting native-speaker friends with a feel for languages to go over them.


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Richard Benham  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:11
German to English
+ ...
If you really don't know which target language to pick.... Jul 10, 2008

That suggests you are probably about equally good (or bad) in both. Generally speaking, for purely economic reasons, you would be better off choosing English as your target language. Also, unless you have been cultivating your written Polish in some way, your written skills in the language (extending to such basics as spelling) will not be up to scratch with your stated background.

A few additional points need to be made here.

First, as has already been pointed out, the exam is not easy. So it would be a good idea to at least look at some past papers before making up your mind.

There is nothing to stop you from doing both Polish>English and English>Polish, if you think you are good enough. When I did the DipTrans, there was another candidate doing German>English and English>German at the same session. I later heard that she was very successful.

If you do decide to do two combinations at one session, it might be an idea to check the schedule. I did French>English and German>English on successive days, and I felt my performance was considerably worse on the second day, and this was reflected in my results. The girl who did English>German and German>English at least had a rest day in between.

The bottom line is that it all depends on how good you are, and there is no real way of judging that from your posting (other than the observation that your English contains no obvious blunders or hints of non-nativedom). Trying some past papers, and, if possible, getting a professional translator to evaluate your efforts, would be a good way to get some idea of your level of preparedness.


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Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:11
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
Being bilingual might not be enough Jul 10, 2008

Hi Anna,
You got very good advice above. As I sat the exam in Eng>Pl combination a few years ago, I can add that if you're educated in English and your Polish comes only from your family, you should stick to Pl>Eng. The standard is indeed high: a missing coma, wrong capitalisation, sentence structure copied from the source language and similar errors would inevitably lead to failure. Before you decide to go for Eng>Pl, you might want to consider taking some courses of Polish grammar and writing.

Best of luck,
Magda


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Tatiana Grzegorzewska  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:11
English to Polish
+ ...
Polish to English Jul 10, 2008

Hi Anna,

If I were you, I would take the exam in Polish to English combination - there are not too many native speakers of English translating from Polish and I think it would give you more work opportunities.

I sat the exam last year (English to Polish) and although I didn't think it was easy, I didn't find it extremely difficult either. It is definitely, as some people have already pointed out, worth taking a look at previous papers though. Translating them while timing yourself might be very useful.

Good luck,
Tatiana


[Zmieniono 2008-07-11 14:05]


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~Ania~  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:11
Polish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks all Jul 10, 2008

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to say a big thank to each one of you for your input, it is very much appreciated. It is very useful to hear from people who have sat the exam and how they viewed the level of difficulty etc.

I already have passed the IoL Metropolitan Police Test which is also very comprehensive and although is it an interpreting exam for the most part, it also contains a written part (English to Polish) which I passed first time round.
My knowledge of Polish does not come solely from my family, despite living in the UK I still attended Polish (Saturday) school (how unlucky was I to have to go to two schools in one week :-0 ) and I studied Polish in my spare time.
In terms of spelling etc. I have no problems (most of the time as I "see" each word in my memory and remember the spelling visually.

It seems that most of you think that translating into English is more useful in terms of work opportunities than the other way round. I am already working as a translator and interpreter and I get good feedback from clients, however, I really want the Diploma in order to get more work, and also more prestigious assignments such as literary translations etc.

It would be great to sit the test both ways as you suggested Richard, however, the fee is a big consideration as it's approx. £600 for one test (three modules together) plus travelling fees to get to the testing centre etc. so I shall have to think about that one.

Thanks again and if you have any more suggestions or ideas keep them coming,

Anna

[Edited at 2008-07-10 23:56]


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Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:11
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
Some 'into Polish' remarks... Jul 11, 2008

Anna,

I wasn't sure I should say this, but I understood all input was welcome, so I finally decided to say it.

Your English is admirable. At a first glance at your English profile, I wouldn't be able to tell the quality of your English from that of other Prozians who were born and educated in an English speaking country.

On the other hand, your Polish as presented in your sample translations--which are supposed to be a showcase of your ability--couldn't be called top notch in my opinion. It contains some 'date and time format Anglicisims' (weekdays spelled with a capital letter, times of day without a colon separating the hour and minute parts), punctuation is a little off, and some word choices and phrases sound a little awkward to my undoubtedly native Polish ear.

I know NOTHING about Diploma in Translation requirements, but my first impression is that you should either focus on Polish to English or do some serious learning and/or revising if you also want to consider sitting English to Polish.

Please take it as friendly advice, as that's what it is.

Maciek


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~Ania~  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:11
Polish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks :-) Jul 11, 2008

To Maciek : thank you for your comments, they are much appreciated and I am not offended in the slightest.

I have had a look at some past papers; they are basically very similar to a professional 'paid' translation, and it is possible to use dictonaries during the test. The difficulties I see are as follows: time limit, not being able to type in an editor but having to write everything longhand and punctuation. If you try to make your translation look neat and tidy, you may lose valuable time. On the other hand, if you hand it a piece of paper with lots of crossings-out looking like something the dog brought in, you may lose marks for presentation.
It's a shame it cannot be done on a standalone PC (so that they don't have to worry about you looking things up on the net) and printed out, that way at least we would not have to worry about the presentation side of things.

To those of you who have the Diploma, has it brought in more work for you?


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Anne Koth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:11
German to English
Making it neat Jul 11, 2008

Where I did the exam, you could use a computer, but not your own. They were hired on the day, and you only had a short time to get used to them, so I decided not to use one. (One person tested hers out shortly before the exam and found the mouse didn't work; another mouse had to be found just minutes before it was due to start.)I wrote notes first, then wrote out the translation using double spacing and an erasable ink pen. It looked quite neat, and encouraged me to think carefully before writing each sentence. I practised doing the exams within the given time in longhand, and had time in each exam to check through my work at least once or twice once I'd finished, although I was a bit slower by the last one.
I don't think you would lose any marks for presentation as such, just if the examiner can't read what you have written.
I used the DipTrans to help get me into a big German translators' association, and am regularly contacted by new clients who have got my name from their translator list.
I forgot to mention before that one of the most important things about the past papers for me was reading the examiners' reports on candidate performance. These listed the types of errors which failed people (specific cases) and phrasing which got people extra points.


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Julia Ober  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:11
German to Russian
+ ...
PC facilities Jul 11, 2008

Hi Anna,

It is possible to use a PC in the
European College of Business & Management in London.
I've already registered there myself.
Hope this helps.

Good luck,

Julia.

[Edited at 2008-07-11 12:06]

[Edited at 2008-07-11 12:08]

[Edited at 2008-07-11 12:08]


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:11
French to English
+ ...
computers Jul 11, 2008

It's definitely possible to use computers - look around at the different exam centres, and if you prefer to type your paper (I did) then choose a centre that offers this. I found it was worth my while to travel to do this (London to Cardiff, in one instance!).

As to whether it's worth having - I think it is, definitely, but then there is no 'control Angela' who has exactly my history minus the DipTrans, so it's hard to tell...

£600 is not that much for a high-quality qualification, especially when you compare it to the cost of a Master's which is a comparable (possibly less practical) postgraduate qualification.


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Richard Benham  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:11
German to English
+ ...
DipTrans and work Jul 12, 2008

I can't answer the question of whether it brought me work. I did not even start looking for work until after I had got mine. I wasn't even sure I wanted to be a translator; I just thought it would be an interesting thing to do.

Anyway, my feeling is that it is highly regarded. I don't know Polish, but in the light of Maciek's comments I would suggest you would be unlikely to do well in English>Polish, and, as several people have pointed out, it is probably more worthwhile financially going the other way.


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Paul Malone  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:11
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
Distance learning? Jul 12, 2008

Like Richard, I have two Dip Trans certificates.

Unlike Richard, it took me a few years to pass them both!

I nevertheless found doing these qualifications to be an interesting, satisfying and worthwhile experience and I'm glad I went ahead and did them.

The standard is said to be very high, with a first time pass rate of around 20%. I have an examiners' report for one of the papers I sat, where the pass rate was a mere 16%, so don't worry too much if you find you have to resit one or more papers.

If possible I would recommend doing some kind of training, possibly distance learning, to prepare you for the exams.

If you are unsure as to which language to choose as your target language, maybe it would be worthwhile for you to find out what possibilities exist for Dip Trans preparation training courses in each of your possible language combinations, then make your decision based on that.

Good luck and all the best,
Paul


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