Improver's course

2356371 The Improver’s Course is our flagship programme and is designed to meet the needs of students preparing for the Chartered Institute of Linguists’ Diploma in Translation, a postgraduate level professional qualification.

Comprehensive but flexible, the Improver’s Course will help you to learn how to translate to a professional level. Our course materials will provide explanations of key concepts and study materials, while your tutor will offer support and encouragement as you develop sound techniques and, most importantly, provide constructive feedback on your translations.

The course is geared to students with a level of linguistic competence and cultural understanding equivalent to a good Honours degree in the relevant foreign language or to several years of relevant work experience.

Course content

Students on the Improver’s Course get:

  • The Translator Training course book "Improving your translation skills"
  • Six translation assignments, evaluated by your tutor, in the subject area(s) of your choice, generally based on past DipTrans exam texts
  • Three tutorials, conducted by phone, Skype or email

Your course is delivered through text-based materials and interaction with a designated translation tutor. The course book is for self-study and background reading, the translation assignments come with a clear task outline and your personal tutor will provide written feedback on your translations. Your one-to-one tutorials are conducted by email, phone or Skype and offer additional opportunities for exchange with your tutor.

Course duration and enrolment

You may enrol on the course at any time of the year and follow it from anywhere in the world. You maintain contact with your tutor via email and/or phone at times that suit you, and you choose the pace at which you work. Your timetable is up to you, but we ask you to complete your course before your scheduled exam session or within 12 months of enrolling. You can spend several months building up the skills level required before registering to take the exam. Or, if you have already registered and need intensive revision, you can complete the course over a much shorter period. It is up to you to choose the timeframe that fits in with your work and other commitments.

The Translator Training course book "Improving your translation skills"

The course book is the framework for developing the skills needed to pass the Diploma in Translation.

  • It offers advice on managing your study goals, structuring your time, sourcing useful practice materials and developing self-revision techniques.
  • It outlines key translation concepts and offers tips on developing and improving translation techniques, including coping with examination conditions.
  • It includes guidance on analysing texts for translation, encourages critical reflection on translation tasks as well as recurrent translation problems, helping you to develop reasoned and appropriate strategies.
  • It explains the assessment criteria by which your translation performance will be judged.
  • It includes recommendations for reading as well as practical advice for the examination day itself.

Your six translation assignments

The Improver’s Course focuses on hands-on translation practice. We provide a range of translation assignments based on your subject choice, from which you choose six to complete for assessment by your tutor.

Each assignment is accompanied by pre-translation activities as well as post-assessment exercises, all designed to develop your analytical skills and to reflect critically on all aspects of the translation assignment.

For each assignment, you will have time to get to grips with the task as a whole and the key issues it raises before completing your translation and sending it to your tutor. The text materials we use include past DipTrans exam papers or equivalent texts with a corresponding volume of approx. 450 or 600 words.

The DipTrans examination provides candidates with a number of options, and our flexible course structure allows you to concentrate on the subject areas you intend to choose in the examination.

Exam Unit 1:
General translation (this mandatory core unit offers no choices)
Exam Unit 2:
Candidates choose one of three options:
(A) Technology, or (B) Business, or (C) Literature
Exam Unit 3:
Candidates choose one of four options:
(D) Science, or (E) Social Science, or (F) Law, or (G) Arts and Culture

Three tutorials
Your one-to-one tutorials offer further opportunity to obtain constructive feedback on your achievements and can be scheduled at appropriate intervals throughout the course. Your personal tutor will be available, by appointment, for three tutorials of approximately 15 minutes each, to address specific translation issues you wish to raise and to advise on entering for the exam. Your one-to-one tutorials can be conducted by phone, Skype or email, and contact is initiated by the student.

Flexible course structure
The way you structure your course will reflect your own priorities and previous experience. While existing subject knowledge – gained from previous qualifications and/or employment – will be a big advantage in preparing for the examination, you will still need to develop sound translation strategies. So, on enrolment, just tell us which area or areas you wish to prepare for and we will provide you with material tailored to your choice. For example, if you plan to take one Unit at a time, you may decide to start with Unit 1, requesting six ‘General’ assignments. Or, if you have a strong background in, say, business, you may wish to start with Unit 2, requesting six ‘Business’ translations.

If you are planning to take all three Units at the same session, you may arrange your course for precisely that. However, be realistic – it is impractical to prepare for all six options, so you should make an initial selection. Whatever you choose, you have complete flexibility and can change your mind once you have enrolled – all you have to do is tell us.

If you have already gained credit for one or more Units of the examination, you can concentrate on the remaining Unit(s). And if you already hold the full DipTrans qualification, you may want to add an additional option, for example adding ‘Business’ in Unit 2 if you previously took ‘Literature’, or adding ‘Law’ in Unit 3, to broaden your employment opportunities. The Improver’s Course enables you to do just that.

Tutor support
You will have your own personal tutor to support you throughout the course; his or her contact details will be sent to you after you have enrolled.

Your tutor will

  • help you establish a study routine and may, depending on your start date, suggest a schedule for submitting your assignments, though the timing of assignments is completely flexible so you can fit studying around work and family commitments.
  • assess your translation assignments and provide detailed, written feedback, normally within 10 days of receipt, enabling you to keep tabs on your progress and see how your work measures up to the DipTrans exam criteria.
  • help you identify any areas that you may need to research in more depth, and recommend additional or remedial work and further reading.
  • help you decide on subject areas, report on your progress and offer advice on when to enter for the examination.


Back to Top