Diploma in Translation admissions test FAQ

Why an admissions test?

What is the test?

  • a short text (about 220 words) in the source (foreign) language to translate in limited time without a dictionary into your dominant (native) language
  • the texts chosen are non-technical and non-specialised – their purpose is not to test specialised vocabulary

What is expected of a good candidate?

The lecturers will assess whether you have:

  • a truly good understanding of the source language
  • an excellent command of your target language
  • the ability to transfer the message from one language into the other

What should a good test look like?

The translation should:

  • be accurate and relevant
  • use changes in word order, sentence structure, minor adaptations, perhaps clarification where needed
  • read like the product of an educated native speaker (style, cultural expectations)

Are past sample texts available?

  • no, but reading non-specialised discursive articles from the quality press will give you a feel for what you can expect
  • some past (IoLET) Diploma in Translation examination papers are available from the IoLET website

Do some people fail?

Yes, if they have produced:

  • an unnatural, word-for-word translation
  • a loose interpretation of the source text
  • an incomplete translation
  • a translation that includes spelling, grammar and syntax mistakes

What happens after the test?

Test results are communicated under three headings:

  • a 'pass', with an invitation to enrol on the Diploma in Translation course
  • a 'pass over two years' with an invitation to enrol on the Diploma in Translation course – some weakness in your test indicates that your studies are expected to take more than one year
  • a 'fail' for which you normally receive a feedback form with a brief outline of the issues and suggestions on how to best address them