The Linguist

The Linguist 55,1

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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Page 22 of 35 FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016 The Linguist 23 AWARDS FOCUS of each session, held on a fortnightly basis, I was given 'homework': two medical texts – one in Polish, the other in English – to translate and send to my tutor before the next session. We would then discuss my translations, and share insights and thoughts on how best to approach the translation of a given topic, be it a letter from a GP to a patient or a hospital information leaflet. The format of the homework – and, indeed, of each Skype session – reflected the structure of the actual written and oral examination, which I sat in June 2015. Apart from the translations, my tasks between sessions involved working on a set of materials, sent by my tutor, containing detailed descriptions of various systems of the human anatomy, along with helpful vocabulary-building exercises. We might focus on the respiratory tract one week and the digestive system the next. Needless to say, I now have quite a hefty folder with a wealth of medical vocabulary, which I often refer to in my daily work. What helped me tremendously in cementing all this knowledge was using it regularly in the field. I also enjoy watching medical documentaries and dramas, and I find it helpful and interesting to try to understand the various procedures and treatments. Reading up on a variety of medical topics from a number of sources really helps to keep the vocabulary fresh. On the day The oral exam was held in London and consisted of two sight translations from Polish into English and vice versa, as well as role-play involving consecutive and simultaneous interpreting between a doctor and a patient. I had been provided with a very brief description of the role-play scenario in advance, which gave me the opportunity to prepare a set of possible words and phrases. The pace of the oral exam was quick, mimicking a real-life doctor-patient conversation. This is precisely what I found helpful: imagining that I was actually attending an interpreting session in a doctor's surgery rather than facing a panel of examiners. The written exam took place a week later in Birmingham. The task was to translate two texts: one into Polish, the other into English. My advice would be to monitor the clock closely while working on these tasks, as you need to give yourself time to create a clean version of the text, especially if you begin with a draft, and to read it through to check if it reads like a flowing, natural piece of writing. road to exam success 1 Develop coping techniques that help to ensure good quality of work under stress. 2 Make sure you are fully competent in your specialist field in both languages. 3 Make use of the IoLET resources at, including the 'DPSI documents A-Z'. 4 Practise under timed exam conditions. 5 Develop specialist glossaries in both languages, as well as note-taking skills. 6 During the consecutive interpreting part of the exam do not rush or try to formulate a response before listening to the complete sentence. 7 If there is a word you do not understand, interpret the main meaning of the sentence. As long as it is coherent and the message is transferred, you are safe. 8 Asking for repetition during the consecutive interpreting task can help, but doing so more than two or three times may result in lower marks. 9 Paraphrasing a technical term is a good solution when no exact equivalent exists, but unnecessary paraphrasing loses marks. 10 Whispered interpreting is all about concentration. Start interpreting as soon as the meaning becomes apparent. 11 The important thing during whispered interpreting is to not lose the thread. If you do, do not try to go back. You will not fail for omitting a few words, as long as the meaning is conveyed. 12 Before starting your translation in the written exam, read the text, understand its content, and recognise how its parts are connected and organised. 13 If your translation does not make sense you have most likely misunderstood the source text. 14 Check that your text reads well. Will the reader understand it correctly? 15 Check for spelling errors and omissions. One omitted word, number or comma might render vital information incorrect. 15 top tips for candidates IMAGES: © CHRIS CHRISTODOULOU

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