About The Chartered Institute of Linguists’ Diploma in Translation (DipTrans)


Examination outline

The DipTrans is a postgraduate-level qualification validating professional translation competence. Set at level 7 (Masters Level) and regulated by Ofqual, this qualification is recognised nationally and internationally by the translation industry. The DipTrans is intended for people wishing to pursue a career in professional translation who have a linguistic competence at least equivalent to a good Honours Degree and/or extensive knowledge of the source language gained in a professional context. Successful candidates are entitled to use the designation CIOL DipTrans and may apply for full membership of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL).

To pass the DipTrans examination, you will need to pass three Units:

Unit 1:
General Translation (3 hours)
For this Unit, you will translate a demanding but non-specialised text of approx. 600 words
Unit 2:
Semi-specialised Translation (2 hours)
For this Unit, you will translate a semi-specialised text of approx. 450 words in one of three options:
(A) Technology; (B) Business; or (C) Literature
Unit 3:
Semi-specialised Translation (2 hours)
For this Unit, you will translate a semi-specialised text of approx. 450 words in one of four options:
(D) Science; (E) Social Science; (F) Law; or (G) Arts and Culture

Unit 1 offers no choice of texts; in Units 2 and 3 candidates may choose on the day of the exam which semi-specialised option they wish to take. However, the best prepared candidates have given this some thought in advance, to allow for focussed and thorough preparation.

Examination candidates are expected to translate into their mother tongue or language of habitual use where this has taken the place of the mother tongue.


Availability of the DipTrans exam


The DipTrans exam is now available online. This means candidates take the exam in the safety and comfort of their own home, on their own computer, by logging on to a dedicated platform provided by CIOL (‘virtual exam centre’). Our courses provide specific information and training to prepare for the new online exam format.

The exam is held twice a year, in January and July. Dates, times and registration details are published on the CIOL website.

The examination is available in a modular format, giving candidates the option of either sitting all three Units in one session (held over two days) or taking Units individually and in any order. All three units of this qualification must be successfully completed within a three year period.

Holders of the full DipTrans can enter for Units 2 and/or 3 again if they wish to take additional semi-specialised options.

Candidates must register with CIOL directly and pay the examination fee: We cannot enter you on your behalf.

Full details about DipTrans exam dates, times, the new ‘virtual exam centre’ and registration deadlines can be found on the CIOL website or by contacting the exam registration department.

CIOL Contact details

Tel +44 20 7940 3100 (ask for Central Registration Department)

Postal address:
Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL)
7th Floor
167 Fleet Street

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