DipTrans Online Exam, What to Expect

Last updated Jan 22, 2024
By Gwenydd Jones

The CIOL now offers its popular DipTrans exam in online format in January and July each year. This article will tell you what to expect in the DipTrans online exam.

Are you wondering what to expect from the remote DipTrans exam format? Should you adapt your preparation? This article contains the latest information that we have at The Translator’s Studio to help you get ready for the exam.

Translator reading our post on the new DipTrans 2021 online exam

What’s new in the DipTrans online format?

The main big changes in doing the DipTrans online exam compared to sitting the exam at a centre are:

– You do the exam on your own computer on an online platform supplied by the CIOL. You’re responsible for ensuring that your computer and Internet connection work. They’re responsible for the invigilation.

– No print-outs! That includes the exam paper, which you can view only on your screen. You’ll have to do the entire translation on-screen from start to finish.

– You can’t use the spell checker (traditionally, this is inconsistent between centres).

– The paper-based reference materials you can use may be more limited than before.

What does this mean for candidates?

In terms of practising for the exam, it’s always smart to replicate exam conditions. So, if you’re sitting the DipTrans exam remotely, do your practice translations on your computer. Don’t print out the source text or your translation and turn spell checker off.

You’ll need a reliable computer and so if you’ve been thinking of replacing that old laptop, now might be the right time for a letter to Santa. It’s also important to plan where you’re going to sit the exam in your home. If you can’t be assured peace and quiet, go to a friend’s house or rent a room at a business centre or library. Finally, if you can connect to your Internet box directly with a cable, do that rather than relying on WiFi.

What does the examination platform look like?

It’s a split screen with two windows sitting side by side. The one on the left contains the source text and you type your translation into the one on the right. You can slide the divider bar between the two windows from left to right to change their width. There are some basic text-editing features that will allow you to bold text and change the background colour, for instance. There doesn’t appear to be a find-and-replace function.

Check out this post for the latest news on what to expect in the DipTrans 2022 online exams. Click To Tweet

Will you have chance to practise with the platform before the exam?

Yes! The CIOL offers a demo version on its website. You can use that to practise. They’ll give you access to it once you’ve signed up.

Exactly what resources are allowed?

If you go to the last page of the DipTrans Qualification Specification, you can see a list of permitted resources. The traditional dictionaries (see our recommendations for Spanish-English and French-English), thesauruses and reference books are allowed, as are personal wordbanks. But you’ll also see the rule: “candidates are not permitted to bring into the exam course materials supplied by tutors.” We understand this to refer to past papers, course content and tutor feedback.

The CIOL has confirmed that candidates are allowed to have single printed pages, such as a reference page taken from a style guide, a list of the major cities in Latin American countries and checklists of issues to look out for when proofreading. We’d recommend keeping them all together in a single folder and making an index at the start. It may also be useful to make a list of the resources you plan to use in the exam. This will make it easier for you to show the invigilator what you’re using, if questioned.

If you’re looking for the best French>English bilingual dictionary, check out this article.

Check out our courses for Spanish- and French-to-English Translators

We hope this article has helped relieve some of your concerns about what to expect in the DipTrans online exams. If you’re interested in sitting the DipTrans and you’re in the enviable position of being a Spanish-to-English or French-to-English translator, then our courses will be the perfect choice for you. DipTrans resitter and CPD packs also available!

Written by Gwenydd Jones

Gwenydd Jones is a Spanish- and French-to-English translator, an SEO blogger and a course creator. She is the founder of The Translator's Studio and the lead teacher on its courses. Connect with Gwenydd on LinkedIn or contact her through this website.

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