Ordering online ATA practice tests - Multiple Options to Choose From - How do I choose?
Thread poster: Paul Mielke

Paul Mielke  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2017)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Feb 12, 2019

Hello,

I was looking through the ATA website page to order practice tests online for ATA certification and I noticed that underneath many of the language combinations, there are multiple options to choose from. For example, underneath the Spanish to English option there are three practice tests to choose from, which are options 1054, 1055, and 1056.

Does each number represent only one type of passage (i.e., general, science, or legal)? Or does each number represent a di
... See more
Hello,

I was looking through the ATA website page to order practice tests online for ATA certification and I noticed that underneath many of the language combinations, there are multiple options to choose from. For example, underneath the Spanish to English option there are three practice tests to choose from, which are options 1054, 1055, and 1056.

Does each number represent only one type of passage (i.e., general, science, or legal)? Or does each number represent a different version of the practice test that contains all three types of passages?

I was also wondering if electronic dictionaries (ebooks, PDFs, etc. that are not on the internet) are allowed during the exam. I would rather have access to everything electronically instead of bringing physical dictionaries.

Thank you in advance for your help. Also, any additional advice/resources about the ATA exam is greatly appreciated.

Have a great day!
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Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:49
English to French
+ ...
Plenty of explanations on the ATA web site Feb 12, 2019

Quoting from https://www.atanet.org/certification/aboutexams_computerized.php:

"At computerized sittings, candidates have the option of completing the exam on their own laptops.

Candidates:

may use most resources stored on their laptops, including dictionaries and glossaries.
may use non-interactive Internet resources, such as
... See more
Quoting from https://www.atanet.org/certification/aboutexams_computerized.php:

"At computerized sittings, candidates have the option of completing the exam on their own laptops.

Candidates:

may use most resources stored on their laptops, including dictionaries and glossaries.
may use non-interactive Internet resources, such as online dictionaries and other reference materials.
may not use CAT tools or translation memories.
may not use email, chat rooms, forums, or MT tools, such as Google Translate.
may not use more than one screen at a sitting. Candidates are allowed one screen only."

among other practical details.

The page below has all the info about ATA certification exams: https://www.atanet.org/certification/landing_about_exam.php
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RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:49
German to English
Different passages Feb 13, 2019

Hi Paul,

Having taken the computerized exam myself last year (and a practice test), I think the numbers refer to different passages (though you can always email ATA to ask questions). Please note that all passages are now general, although they do contain a lot of semi-specialized terminology. I would definitely encourage you to take the practice test.

You can use electronic dictionaries and other reference resources, regardless of whether they're stored on your compute
... See more
Hi Paul,

Having taken the computerized exam myself last year (and a practice test), I think the numbers refer to different passages (though you can always email ATA to ask questions). Please note that all passages are now general, although they do contain a lot of semi-specialized terminology. I would definitely encourage you to take the practice test.

You can use electronic dictionaries and other reference resources, regardless of whether they're stored on your computer or you access them online (you'll have WiFi access during the exam). What you can't do is refer to any TMs, use MT systems, or access forums and other interactive platforms on the web. I did take a few paper dictionaries with me because they're not available online, and as it happened, I didn't take one that would have really helped with one passage (which I therefore didn't translate).

The one piece of advice I would give you is to read through all three passages thoroughly before deciding which ones to translate. When I took the test, I noticed a lot of candidates starting to translate as soon as they opened the envelope with the source texts. Maybe that's one of the reasons why the pass rates are so low (less than 15% for Spanish, I think).

Good luck!

Robin
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Paul Mielke  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2017)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Reply - Jean Feb 13, 2019

Hello Jean,

Thank you for your help with this question. I'm trying to gather information about the test and every little bit helps.

Paul Mielke


 

Paul Mielke  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2017)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Reply - RobinB Feb 13, 2019

Hello Robin,

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I appreciate your help.

I was under the impression that there was one general passage, a legal/business passage, and a science/medical passage. It's great to have some clarification about that and know that all passages are general (relatively).

I also had a few more questions if you don't mind me asking:

1) What specializations do you think are useful to focus on for the exam?<
... See more
Hello Robin,

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I appreciate your help.

I was under the impression that there was one general passage, a legal/business passage, and a science/medical passage. It's great to have some clarification about that and know that all passages are general (relatively).

I also had a few more questions if you don't mind me asking:

1) What specializations do you think are useful to focus on for the exam?

2) What are some good types/brands/specialization areas of dictionaries to invest in?

3) They allow you to use your own laptop for the exam?


Thank you again for your help.

Paul Mielke
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RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:49
German to English
Dictionaries etc. Feb 13, 2019

Hi Paul,

The ATA changed the passages a few years ago, but my own experience was that one passage was more legal in nature and another one more technical. Maybe that's just chance. You don't have to focus on any specializations, IMO. A good general knowledge is very important, of course, as is keeping abreast with social and political trends and events in your source language countries.

I'd suggest using a good technical, a good business, and good legal, and a good gene
... See more
Hi Paul,

The ATA changed the passages a few years ago, but my own experience was that one passage was more legal in nature and another one more technical. Maybe that's just chance. You don't have to focus on any specializations, IMO. A good general knowledge is very important, of course, as is keeping abreast with social and political trends and events in your source language countries.

I'd suggest using a good technical, a good business, and good legal, and a good general bilingual dictionary. It's up to you whether you want to use internet, local, or paper dictionaries. I also suggest knowing where to access a good English dictionary (e.g., M-W). I have a subscription to the CMS, but I didn't use it in my own exam.

You can **only** use your own laptop/notebook for the exam. You store your translated passages on a USB drive given to you. So making sure your USB slot(s) is/are working properly is also a good idea.

Robin

Paul Mielke wrote:

Hello Robin,

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I appreciate your help.

I was under the impression that there was one general passage, a legal/business passage, and a science/medical passage. It's great to have some clarification about that and know that all passages are general (relatively).

I also had a few more questions if you don't mind me asking:

1) What specializations do you think are useful to focus on for the exam?

2) What are some good types/brands/specialization areas of dictionaries to invest in?

3) They allow you to use your own laptop for the exam?


Thank you again for your help.

Paul Mielke
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Paul Mielke  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2017)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Reply - RobinB Feb 14, 2019

Hello Robin,

Thank you for your advice and answering my questions.

You've definitely help shed some light on important aspects of the test. Now, I need to actually pass the test.

Have a great day!

Paul Mielke


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:49
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
A good thesaurus Feb 15, 2019

It seemed to me that a good thesaurus (i.e., for my target language of English) was my most important resource at the exam. This is because the dictionary definitions in bilingual dictionaries don't always work in producing a good translation, and it is not always easy to mentally generate just the right synonym that will work in a particular instance.

[Edited at 2019-02-15 16:33 GMT]


 

RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:49
German to English
Good point Feb 15, 2019

The online M-W also has a thesaurus feature, which is definitely worth bookmarking (for day-to-day use, not just the exam).

Robert Forstag wrote:

It seemed to me that a good thesaurus (i.e., for my target language of English) was my most important resource at the exam. This is because the dictionary definitions in bilingual dictionaries don't always work in producing a good translation, and it is not always easy to mentally generate just the right synonym that will work in a particular instance.

[Edited at 2019-02-15 14:43 GMT]


 


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