DipTrans 2021 Online Exam, What to Expect

Translator reading our post on the new DipTrans 2021 online exam

Written by Gwenydd Jones

Spanish-to-English translator and translator trainer

The CIOL will be offering its popular DipTrans exam in online format for the first time in January 2021. This article will tell you what to expect in the new DipTrans online exam.

The Chartered Institute of Linguists is hard at work getting its new online examination platform ready for the upcoming Diploma in Translation exams on 19 and 20 January 2021. In the meantime, our candidates have been wondering what to expect from the new format and if they should adapt their preparation. This article contains the latest information that we have at The Translator’s Studio to help you get ready for the exam.


What’s new in the DipTrans online format?

The main big changes in the DipTrans 2021 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 will the examination platform look like?

At time of writing, the CIOL platform is still in development. However, it’s basically 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.


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

Yes! The CIOL will shortly release a demo version on its website. You’ll be able to use that to practise. We’ll link to it here when it comes out.


Exactly what resources are going to be allowed?

If you go to the last page of the DipTrans Qualification Specification, you can see a list of permitted resources. The traditional dictionaries and reference books are still 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.


Check out our courses for Spanish-to-English Translators

We hope this article has helped relieve some of your concerns about what to expect in the DipTrans 2021 online exam. If you’re interested in sitting the DipTrans and you’re in the enviable position of being a Spanish-to-English translator, then our courses will be the perfect choice for you. DipTrans resitter and CPD packs also available!

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