IoL Diploma in Translation

Hi everyone, it is great to read everyone’s comments, thoughts and ideas on translation and other literary matters.

I just wanted to know what people’s experiences and impressions were regarding the Institute of Linguists’ diploma in translation. Has anyone taken this exam? Is anyone currently studying for it? Is it worthwhile/necessary?

All comments will be gratefully received.

Alasdair Carnie

Thank you for your reply Michael. I have some experience working for an agency but I also have a full time job so found it difficult to take on work because of the very tight deadlines. I am committed to gaining the diploma and it is good to know that it is highly respected. My plan has been to gain experience as an in-house translator before going freelance.
If you don’t mind, I will add you as a friend also and may need to pick your brains as well. Thank you so much for your advice!

Thanks Dorothy and thank you for your advice.

Hi Alasdair

The IoL diploma is highly respected and will certainly give you credibility in the profession. Ideally, you should try to gain some experience in a translation agency - otherwise known as translator boot camp. It will give you the opportunity to translate documents in a variety of fields and to decide where you want to specialise. The working environment is extremely pressurised with tight deadlines and the pay isn’t great at first. If you can wangle a job in a major bank or an EU institution then you’re laughing. Career progression is fairly limited though. Basically, you can eventually become a senior translator or manage a translation department. Most translators seem to go freelance after they’ve gained a few years’ experience because of the flexibility and financial rewards. I hope this helps. Good luck and do feel free to contact me if you want any advice. If you’re interested in my background, I’ve been freelance for 12 years and I specialise in corporate finance and law.

Don’t mind at all. I do work for myself from home, I’m assermentée so get a lot of official stuff, routine, but not always.
Good luck with your plan, you seem to have it mostly sussed out.

Hi Dorothy

Thanks for your reply. I am looking to eventually become a freelance translator but not sure yet what area I want to specialise in, if I want to specialise at all. I have a degree in French and speak it fluently and realsie the tight deadlines involved as I have done a few paid translations already.
The IoL diploma in translation is a postgraduate exam which is well recognised and I am hoping it will open doors. I am currently doing a preparation course and plan to sit the exam in January 2013.
It is interesting to note that publishing houses only look for published writers, I wasn’t aware of that. Nevertheless I enjoy doing literary translations. I am guessing you work freelance. Would you mind me adding you as a friend? I may want to pick your brains sometime.

I think much depends on where you want to work. Perhaps attack the problem from the other end - eg if what is sought is being a simultaneous translator in the EU Parliament or at the ONU, the best way is to find out what qualifications they want for the job and go for it that way.
I don’t know anything about the Inst Ling Diploma, what does it entail? Is it recognised? By whom? If it’s a qualification that can be done on internet in a short period, then I’d be against it, or at least suspicious of it.
I would say that Modern Language Studies followed by a Recognised Translation course, or training in simultaneous translation is a good way forward.
I’m a translator and started up after finishing working full time outside the home in a job where I had experience of all sorts of French public bodies, so became familiar with the contexts, expressions etc - however, I already had fluent French, a degree in French, a Master’s in Linguistics and a lifetime’s experience behind me.
The thing about translating is that people think it’s easy and something they can leave until the last moment - if you want to be always working to an early deadline and all your work be (usually very) urgent, then become a translator!
If literary translation is the way you want to go, or in some kind of specialised publication, eg Law, then know that many publishing houses use only translators who are also published writers (yes, I know, I know, not a lot of sense in it as a policy, but it’s so) so it isn’t an easy world to break into.
Documentary translation can be very routine and/or boring, but it has its moments, and there is work. However for this kind of translation you need to be “assermenté” and there’s a process to be gone through.

OK I have just proofread what I wrote and realise "everyone" has 3 e's. Note to myself, proofread before publishing.

And have now just realised that I can edit my