Use your tools (or not)!

After reading two posts by David Turnbull and Judy Jenner, I wondered what translation resources should be allowed during certification exams. Pretty hard for me to find a satisfying answer. Below there’s an overview of my thoughts, but I would be glad to know your opinion.

1 Internet + paper resources (such as AITI’s exam)
PROs for tester
– Exams can be done remotely
– No need to apply a search engine filter or to decide what can or can’t be consulted
CONs for testees
Well, this is how most of us work now, so I think we can skip this point 😉

2 Only paper resources (such as ATA’s exam)
PROs for tester
– People can’t email their passage so that someone translates it for them
– No need to provide an internet connection
– It gets harder to cheat (time to brush up the skills you used in high school? 🙂 )
CONs for testees
– Research is slowed down
– If you encounter a word you don’t know and can’t guess, well…

3 Nothing, just you and your pen/keyboard (such as EU tests for contract agents in translation)
PROs for tester
– It is a good way to test someone’s vocabulary
– No need to find a passage that has not been previously translated
CONs for testees
– No research skills are tested
– Very long preparation time before the test

Personally, I am not a huge fan of #3. To me, the ability to research effectively is an essential translation skill. So, managing your time between online and paper resources is an important point.
And what’s your experience with exams and certifications, dear readers? Please share your thoughts!


About Chiara Vecchi

A blogging translator working from English and German into Italian. You are more than welcome to visit my blog!
This entry was posted in Professional associations, Translation and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Use your tools (or not)!

  1. Krystyna Deramo says:

    I value the blog post. Really Cool.

  2. I vote for #1. To avoid cheating, this shouldn’t be done remotely and there should be limited access to internet (i.e. blocked access to any type of email services, nothing else comes to mind right now). But testees should be able to research. As a translator who started her career in the internet era, I cannot imagine working without internet. The ability to use online available tools is crucial to any translator today and consulting IATE terminology, eurlex, or any online dictionary is not cheating, it is sometimes part of a multilevel QA process.

    • Hi (again) Veronica 😉 You provided a very good point in favour of #1. I agree that email accounts, chats, etc. should be banned during exams, and that some resources should be allowed, as they are only on the internet. However, someone might object that keeping track of which wesites you are allowed to visit and which you are not is becoming an increasingly tough job! It would be nice to know if there are institutions who do that on a regular basis. And by the way, thanks again for commenting!

  3. Pingback: Weekly favorites (Sep 10-16) | Adventures in Freelance Translation

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