Resitting CIOL Diploma in Translation

by Hugo
(London, England)

Hello Joanna!

I know that you sat and passed the Dip Trans and I thought that you might have some comment to make on my experience.

I am not a professional translator and do not work in the languages sector but attended preparation courses for the Dip Trans German into English. I passed the two semi-specialised papers ( law and literature) but failed the general paper. I resat again twice and failed each time.

I obtained feedback on all three occasions and it was along the lines of "close to the required standard but a couple of serious comprehension errors". I am now in the difficult position of deciding whether to give it one last shot.

I do not intend to pay for more preparation courses and am frustrated by how brutal the marking is and how it seems to be pot luck regarding the text you get on the day ( the papers are never easy but I would have failed some of the previous law and literature papers).

Is this a common scenario (you may know professional translators who have been in this situation)? Did you feel the same way about the exam being so arbitrary?

Many thanks in advance


Comments for Resitting CIOL Diploma in Translation

Click here to add your own comments

Keep going!
by: Joanna

Hi Hugo

Thanks for your query.

I know the CIOL DipTrans exams can be brutal - I, like many others, didn't pass them all the first time around either. But my gut feeling would be to keep going, as only one exam separates you from that cherished qualification!

I think it would certainly be easier if you were already working in translation, automatically giving you lots of German translation practice. As you aren't, it would be a good idea to keep translating regularly, perhaps by using free sources of German translation, doing your own translation of a German source text, and then comparing your translation with published ones by other translators. At the very least, it forces you to compare and consider the reasons for your translation choices.

The question is, how determined are you to get the qualification, and why do you want it? Are you looking for a future career in translation?

If you do, the DipTrans or equivalent is becoming increasingly important as a sign of quality, and indeed, many translation agencies will only work with freelancers who have relevant professional qualifications.

And in our current COVID-19 times, working as a freelance German translator has meant that my working life has changed relatively little. Always good to have another career option you could turn to.

I hope this helps a little. Do let us know what you decide to do, and how you get on.

Best of luck,


Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Q&As - My Free Translation Service For Visitors.

German to English Translation

Joanna Scudamore-Trezek

I'm a German to English translator living and working in Vienna, Austria. I turn German texts into clear and accessible English, allowing clients to present their stories, ideas and information to a completely new audience. My business and marketing clients rely on me to get their message across clearly and effectively.  How can I help you today?

Find this page useful? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.