2019 DipTrans Exam Report (Spanish to English)

Book with images for the different specialisations in the 2019 DipTrans exam.

Written by Gwenydd Jones

Translator, translator trainer and copywriter

The 2019 DipTrans exam, run by the CIoL, took place in Spanish to English on 15 Jan 2019. This article will tell you what was in the papers.

The IoLET Diploma in Translation exam takes place once a year, in January. It consists of three papers on a range of topics. For more about sitting next year’s DipTrans exam, visit the website of the Chartered Institute of Linguists.

DipTrans preparation course

Thanks to candidates who prepared with me to sit the 2019 DipTrans exam (Spanish to English), I can share this report about what was in the exam this year. Special thanks to Jessie Forbes and Miguel Coxon. If you’re a Spanish-to-English translator and you’d like to prepare to sit the DipTrans, check out our course page.

Remember that you may get texts by Latin-American writers.

2019 DipTrans exam: summary of what was in the papers

General:excerpt from an article by Javier Dueñas (not certain about the name) published in GEO magazine in summer 2018, about water management in the Aral sea. What candidates told me: several biblical metaphors.

Technology: magazine article on the roadmap for implementing 5G mobile-network technology. What candidates told me: they didn’t feel their dictionary was sufficiently up to date for the new terminology.

Business: opinion piece on how Spain/Spanish companies should be courting businesses considering leaving London due to Brexit. What candidates told me: quite a lot of financial terminology.

Literature:extract from El Último Tango de Salvador Allende, by Roberto Ampuero. The context of this novel is the 1973 Chilean coup d’état. What candidates told me: a few terms specific to South American Spanish were tricky.

Science: extract from the article “Microorganismos de Pepinos de Mar para Combatir Hongos Patógenos”, published by SINC, July 2018. The article is about microorganisms from sea anemones and sea cucumbers being used to fight bacteria and fungi in humans, agriculture and aquiculture. What candidates told me: easier than the 2009 paper (used in preparation), which was also on a sea-related theme.

Social Science: extract from a PhD thesis written by an academic at the Complutense University of Madrid. Published around 2015 (?), on service-learning.

Law: an extract from an article published in El País related to corruption, with mention of Spanish Organic Law 1/2015 on amendment of the Criminal Code.

If you can share any more information about any of these papers then please comment.

Top tips for the CIOL Diploma in Translation exam

1. It isn’t uncommon for texts used in the DipTrans exam to have been published in the summer of the preceding year. This is a pattern I’ve observed in previous years and it was true again in 2019. So, it’s a good idea to keep up with the news over the summer, in both English- and Spanish-speaking countries.

2. It’s likely that you’ll get a recent text in most of the semi-specialist options. That means you’ll want the most up-to-date dictionaries and glossaries, particularly for fast-moving areas, like technology.

Check out this summary of the 2019 #DipTrans exam Spanish-to-English papers, with tips for the 2020 exam. Click To Tweet

3. Remember that you may get texts by Latin-American writers. Prepare by following Hispanic news and reading relevant texts in different genres (especially journalism and literature).

4. Themes and lexicon do repeat over the years, as was the case in the science paper, which revisited the sea, or the business paper, which included financial terminology again this year (last year it was a business report). If you do enough past papers and read enough examiner reports, you can get lucky and come up against challenges you’ve seen before.

Past DipTrans exam reports

These reports will help you get more of a feel for what to expect from the Spanish-to-English DipTrans exam:

– “DipTrans Exam 2018 Report”, guest post by past course trainee Alexandra Mollyneaux;

– “DipTrans Exam 2017 Report”.

Our index post “Translator Training Articles on The Translator’s Studio” will give you a summary of the numerous articles on this blog designed to help you prepare for the Spanish-to-English DipTrans exam.

Call to action

If you’re thinking of sitting the DipTrans exam then it’s essential you prepare properly. Come and join us on the Advanced Spanish-to-English Translation Course with DipTrans preparation. With the most in-depth feedback you’ll ever get on your translations, it’s ideal for people who want to prepare for the exam, but also great for CPD. Get your free level test.

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