Translator Training

How to Get DipTrans Past Papers for the Diploma in Translation Exam

by | Last updated Mar 31, 2020 | Translator Training

Translator looking for diptrans past papers online with dog
There are several places you can go online to get DipTrans past papers for the IoLET Diploma in Translation exam.
In this article, I’ll tell you how to get DipTrans past papers for the IoLET Diploma in Translation exam. I’ll also tell you how you can get my free mock Spanish-to-English DipTrans exam paper translations.

Can you get official DipTrans past papers for free?

That’s one of the first questions trainees on my DipTrans course ask. The answer is, a few. Some sample DipTrans exam papers are available for free on the CIoL website. But, they’re available only in English. So, no use if you’re preparing for a DipTrans exam where you have to translate into English.

DipTrans exam papers are protected by copyright. That is why it’s difficult to get hold of them for free on the Internet. But, some bloggers who have sat the DipTrans exam share information about the papers.

For instance, trainees from my DipTrans course told me about the 2017 Spanish-to-English exam papers. I wrote about them in my “DipTrans Exam 2017 Report”. Alex Mollyneaux shared information about the 2018 papers in her guest blog: “DipTrans Exam 2018 Report”. I also found this blog by Greg Hunt. There, he shares information about the 2010 exam papers, though some of the links are broken.

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Free mock Spanish-to-English DipTrans papers with translation

I’ve been working to create mock Spanish-to-English DipTrans exam papers. They include sample translations. The sample translation is essential. This is because, if you’re working alone, it’s the only thing you have to compare against your work. You’ll find one at the end of this article, but don’t miss what’s in the middle because I have much more to say about how to get DipTrans exam papers.

Buying DipTrans exam papers and examiner reports through the CIoL website

The Chartered Institute of Linguists has two options for buying IoLET DipTrans past papers.

1. Sign up for IoLET Affiliate membership

IoLET Affiliate membership will give you free access to a few past papers and examiner reports. It costs £25 a year and is compulsory if you want to sit the Diploma in Translation exam.

At time of writing, you can get Spanish-to-English DipTrans past papers from the 2009, 2010 and 2012 exams, but not the examiner reports. You can download examiner reports from the last three years. This isn’t ideal if you’re working alone, as you don’t have anything to check your translation against. You also lack the valuable insight into your work that a tutor provides on a DipTrans preparation course like mine.

“Another way to get your hands on DipTrans past papers is to sign up for a Diploma in Translation course, to help you prepare for the exam.”

DipTrans exam texts are edited versions of texts taken from the real world, e.g. from newspapers. As an IoLET affiliate member, you also get a PDF listing the source texts from recent DipTrans exams. For Spanish to English, you can currently get titles and links for exams since 2013.

This list is useful to help you see the type of text you can expect in the Diploma in Translation exam. A problem is that the texts are in their original format, which means, as they were originally published. Some of them are just a bit longer than the texts used in the exam. But others are much longer and were heavily edited to create the DipTrans exam papers.

Finally, you also get the PDF from a 2008 Spanish-to-English language seminar. It includes a General paper and a Business paper from the 2007 Diploma in Translation exam. There is also an analysis of each one. It also contains lots of useful guidance for candidates.

2. Buy DipTrans past papers and examiner reports using the order form

Towards the end of this page of the IoL website you’ll find order forms for DipTrans past papers. They let you order DipTrans examiner reports and past papers without paying for affiliate membership. For Spanish to English, you can currently buy examiner reports from 2015 and 2016. Each full report costs £10 plus postage. DipTrans past papers are available from 2009, 2010 and 2012, at £10 plus postage.

Getting Diploma in Translation past papers through a DipTrans preparation course

Another way to get your hands on DipTrans past papers is to sign up for a Diploma in Translation course, to help you prepare for the exam. Most courses are run by universities or private academies. The usual format is that the teacher gives you a past paper, you translate it, and then you send it back to them. They mark it and give you feedback.

My course for Spanish-to-English translators is much more comprehensive than that. It has 14 modules and includes manuals with translation theory and exam strategy. All your feedback comes from me and is extremely detailed. You also get Skype sessions, videos and an invite to our secret Facebook group. The other thing I give you is a sample translation of each text, so you have something to compare your work against. And there are eleven extra texts, with sample translations, for even more practice. Look at what past trainees have written about the course on my LinkedIn profile (and why not connect with me while you’re there?).

“I’ll be progressively publishing free mock Spanish-to-English DipTrans past papers.”

Free mock Spanish-to-English DipTrans past papers

I have made some mock Spanish-to-English DipTrans past papers. I sometimes do this working with trainees on my course. There are two types. Some are created using freely available sources and presented as if they were real DipTrans exam papers. Others are translations of sections of the texts used in the DipTrans since 2013, with instructions on how to create your own source text.

You can use them to give yourself mock Diploma in Translation exams. The best thing is that I give you a sample translation, so you have a different approach to compare to yours.

I’ll be progressively publishing these free mock DipTrans past papers. So, sign up for our monthly newsletter in the column to the right, follow me on Twitter, or come back to this blog from time to time. That way, you’ll find out if I’ve published any new papers.

Here is your free mock DipTrans exam paper for the technology option (paper 2A). It starts with the Spanish text and then the translation into English follows. No peeking at the sample translation! Not until you’ve completed your own translation, under exam conditions. That means you have two hours to translate it. You can use only paper resources (no Internet). And you should use word processing software or do it by hand, depending on the option you’ve chosen for the exam.

You’ll find another one here: “Free Mock General DipTrans Past Paper for Spanish-to-English Candidates”.


Preparing for the Diploma in Translation exam alone is difficult. Besides my full Spanish-to-English translation course, I also offer 3-paper bundles. These are particularly popular among DipTrans resitters. What are you still doing here? Check out the course page now and do your free level test.



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