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Mastery of Translation©

CIOL Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) online preparatory course

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Course Overview

Mastery of Translation (MOT)© is the new name of the online course designed to prepare candidates for the CIOL DipTrans. It is aimed at:

  • language professionals with previous translation and/or interpreting experience 
  • linguists who may have different roles within an organisation and who use languages on a regular basis in their professional work

The course is delivered at Master's level, and students are expected to have a high command of their foreign language, C2 level (CEFR), as well as an excellent command of their native language.

The course is delivered over 10 months. This will allow for ample time for consultations and exam revision to guarantee a successful exam result.

The course consists of 6 core modules, detailed in the table below. 

Following the launch of the new CertTrans qualification, students should expect a significant update for the 2022-23 version of this course.

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 Module 1: Introduction to the DipTrans

  • Welcome to the course
  • Exam overview
  • The exam marking criteria
  • Suggested Reading


Module 2: Journalistic Translation 

This module will prepare you for the General Paper - Unit 1. The aim of this module is to outline, in general terms, the basic characteristics of journalistic translation. To this end, you will study the main features of the journalistic text in its different variants (informative text, interpretative text, opinion text) and the translation techniques applied to each type of text, while reference is made to the important role that this type of translation plays in the training of a translator. 

Assignment: you will be assessed on the translation of a 600-word newspaper article.


Module 3: Literary Translation 

This module will prepare you for the Literature paper - Unit 2. We will discuss we mean by literary translation, i.e. is it the translation of a literary work or is it a type of translation that is itself literary? We will analyse the main factors to be taken into account in the practice of professional literary translation: intentionality, acceptability, situationality, intertextuality, and cohesion.

Assignment: you will be assessed on the translation of a 450-word literary text.


Module 4: Translation of Arts and Culture

This module will prepare you for the paper of translation in the area of Arts and Culture - Unit 3. Building on the previously discussed fields, we will expand on sub-topic areas such as

  • Art
  • Design and graphics
  • Museums and galleries
  • Arts councils and groups
  • Dance companies
  • Guidebooks
  • Performing Arts
  • Culture
  • Theatre 
  • Cinema

Assignment: you will be assessed on the translation of a 450-word text in any of these sub-topic areas.


Module 5: Technical Translation 

This module will prepare you for the Technology paper - Unit 2. We will explore different areas of technology, including IT, Engineering, Mechanics, and much more.

Assignment: you will be assessed on the translation of a 450-word technological text.



Module 6: Scientific Translation 

This module will prepare you for the Science paper - Unit 3. We will explore different areas of science such as Medicine, Pharmacology, Ecology, and much more.

Assignment: you will be assessed on the translation of a 450-word scientific text.



Module 7: Translation of Social Science

This module will prepare you for the translation paper of Social Science texts - Unit 3. We will consider the main guidelines for the translation of Social Science texts, as well as the factors affecting the translation of such texts. Some of the sub-topic areas explored are Sociology, Anthropology, and Psychology.

Assignment: you will be assessed on the translation of a 450-word text.


Module 8: Business Translation

This module will prepare you for the Business paper - Unit 2. The purpose of this module is to analyse specialised business translation, summarising the theoretical approaches applicable in the field (that is the functional approaches) and identifying translation problems posed by the translation in Marketing, Finance and Economics.

Assignment: you will be assessed on the translation of a 450-word business text.


Module 9: Legal Translation

This module will prepare you for the Law paper - Unit 3. Legal is a language in itself, and legal translation is a major interdisciplinary area that looks at key elements that shape its specificity. Preventing mistakes like these and making sure that every legal translation is 100% accurate is not an easy job for a translator, which is the reason that legal translations are so demanding. This module will provide an overview of the main difficulties of legal translation and how to tackle them.

Assignment: you will be assessed on the translation of a 450-word legal text.


Module 10: Mock exams

This module includes two mock exams, i.e. two packs containing all 8 papers of the 3 Units. You choose which semi-specialised paper to translate, and your tutor will assess your translation in the light of the DipTrans marking criteria. 

2 Assignments: you will be assessed on the translation of a U1, U2 and U3 paper. 

Available language combinations

Mastery of Translation© is taught in English. It prepares candidates for the DipTrans in many language combinations with English as the source or the target language.

As a professional course, NO foreign language is taught. The student is expected to have acquired the language at Mastery Level, i.e. C2 level, from the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

Mastery of Translation© is available in various language combinations: 

  • into English: Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish
  • from English: Albanian, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian and Spanish 

Contact us to discuss any requirements.

What our students say

Read about our students' experience:

  • Anna Milic
    MLH has met my expectations in that I felt supervised and held for the entire duration of the programme, during the earlier theory part as well as during the latter practice part. I liked that the course provided for 9 months of preparation and that it was well paced. I have liked the personal connection to the programme tutor Carina as well as within the study group of other students. The small group allowed for both personal connection and thorough discussion of the course material. I have also particularly enjoyed working with my specific language tutor Katrin, she was an excellent choice. She brought the programme alive for me with her deep expertise and skills, bottomless encouragement, hands on approach and going the extra mile to give me detailed feedback, suggestions and even checking and commenting on my final versions. She was always prompt and made time for me.
    Anna Milic, EN-DE
  • Mihaela Stanciu
    MLH definitely met my expectations. The course was very well organised from theoretical part which explained the theories and rules of translation to the practical one, which applied all the theories. There was also a tutor for each target language. Through its Zoom meetings, the course created trust and strong bonds between the tutor and us, making it possible to clarify details and share translation experiences. Before the course I had a vague idea about the possibilities provided by this Diploma and the actual work as a translator. MHL helped me by opening access to a rich world of information and materials about translation techniques, about approaching different texts based on my own expertise, motivating me to learn and discover more. Through its course structure, MLH brought together a group of people so diverse from all points of view: nationality, language, culture, passions. I personally enjoyed to the maximum our Zoom meetings which created every single time inter/multi-cultural exchanges and unexpected learning situations.
    Mihaela Stanciu, EN-RO
  • Begona Rueda, student of FOT21
    I was looking for translation tuition and mentorship in order to prepare for the CIOL Diploma in Translation. With no professional background in translation and having not taken any type of translation classes or tuition in the past, I was hesitant about having the right skills to prepare for this exam and ability to follow the course. MLH has met my expectations by guiding me on what is expected from candidates to the Diploma in Translation and also on how to prepare for this exam. It was very helpful to learn the theories surrounding translation in order to have some context given that I had no previous experience in the field except a good command of both languages. It was also encouraging to work with a group of students of different experience and skill in translation and still feel encouraged to participate and to bring in my ideas when discussing the challenges of translation. I really liked the group of students and having them sharing different life and professional experiences with language. Also, once the student starts one-to-one sessions with their personal tutor, they arrange the tuition sessions, which makes it a very flexible learning experience. I like the personal approach of the school.  I would recommend this course to a friend, especially if they do not have formal translation experience because FOT adapts to the student's level of expertise and individual needs while aiming for the DipTrans standards.  
    Begoña Rueda, EN-ES
  • Dania Daniel - student of foundations of translation
    Having worked as a freelance translator for some years, I decided to invest in advancing my career and planned to sit the Diploma in Translation. I was looking for tuition and guidance to help me prepare for this exam. I had tried self-study but was overwhelmed with the amount of material and textbooks available and I wasn't sure what I should focus on. I also lacked motivation and couldn't seem to progress. Foundations of Translation provided a structure to help me organise my time better. The material was comprehensive but divided into easily digestible units and, knowing that there was a feedback session after every unit, it gave me the motivation and accountability I needed to progress. I was extremely happy with my experience with MLH. I liked the particular focus on the exam, including a lesson on how to prepare a paper glossary (essential as no digital resources are allowed). I particularly enjoyed the open, encouraging atmosphere. From the very first practice session, we were encouraged to complete a translation under exam conditions which really helped me to develop the skills needed to perform well under pressure. The course also provided a good balance between theory and practice. The content covered enough theory to help me understand why I might want to translate something a certain way and be able to explain my choices. We also received detailed feedback on every practice paper, a total of 12, which is more than any other course is offering. I would recommend this course to anyone looking for high-quality, thorough tuition in translation theory and techniques.
    Dania Daniel, ES-EN
  • Rana Shabibi - student of Foundations of Translation 2020
    I had no experience of translation before starting the course and was very worried and nervous about my prospects of passing the DipTrans exam. However, because of all the support, positive feedback and encouragement I have received from Carina, I now feel more confident about it. Carina is very meticulous, methodical and organised and has worked extremely hard to provide us with clear, concise and informative materials. We have also had a lot of really good guidance on further reading, building comprehensive glossaries and even buying the best dictionaries for the exam. The way the course is designed and delivered is excellent and I would have no hesitation in recommending Carina as one of the best-placed people to deliver a course like this.
    Rana Shabibi, ES-EN
  • Jane Longley - student of Foundations of Translation 2020
    This is an interesting and enjoyable course, not only targeted at preparing for the Diploma in Translation, but also useful to learn more about what translation is all about, even if you are not taking the exam. Carina is a knowledgeable and demanding teacher who helps you reach your potential. Her personalised and accessible approach is excellent.
    Jane Longley, ES-EN

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some of the frequently asked questions from previous candidates. If you cannot find your question here, please contact us!

1What is the DipTrans?
The CIOL Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) is a professional translation qualification. It is recognised and accepted in the UK as well as abroad by all professional translation organisations. The Diploma in Translation is a post-graduate level qualification (Level 7), equivalent to a Master’s level.
2What does Level 7 mean?
A Level 7 qualification in the UK is equivalent to master’s level, i.e. MA or MSc. The DipTrans is the equivalent to the final exam of a Master’s course in Translation.
3What are the benefits of doing the DipTrans?
The DipTrans provides a multitude of benefits: it is Ofqual-regulated, it is an internationally recognised qualification, it improves career prospects.
4What is Ofqual?
Oqual stands for "Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation". This organisation regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England.
5Can I work as a translator without having the DipTrans?
You may be able to translate some documents provided you have fluent written language skills in English and fluent reading comprehension of at least one other language. However, the translation profession is highly competitive. The DipTrans is considered the gold standard for anyone wishing to pursue a successful career as a translator, either as a freelancer or as an employee for an international organisation.
6What is the exam like?
The exam consists of 3 units. For Unit 1 you will have to translate a General Text. Unit 2 consists of ONE written translation of a semi-specialised text: Technology, Business or Literature. For Unit 3, you will have to produce ONE written translation of a semi-specialised text in a Science, Social Science, Law, or Arts and Culture
7How flexible is the course in terms of timings?
The idea is that you can follow the course online and in your own time. We also provide LIVE sessions to discuss progress and answer questions on the content.
8Will I be allocated a tutor in my language pairs?
The theoretical content of the course is about applying the correct methods and techniques to solve specific translation problems, without focusing on any language pair. As soon as you enrol in the course you will choose a definite language pair, and a tutor in your chosen language pair will be assigned to assess your translated work.
9How will the course be delivered?
The entire course is available on our online platform. All live sessions are delivered via Zoom.
10How is the course assessed?
There are series of activities per topic module. All translations will be assessed by your tutor in line with the DipTrans Assessment Criteria. You will have individual face-to-face feedback with your allocated tutor.
11How can I pay for the course?
The course can be paid all in one go, or in instalments, either by card or BACS. Join the VIP list so that we can keep you up to date.
12What is included in the course?
The total price of the course includes: a virtual face-to-face interview (30 mins.) before enrolling on the course, regular contact time with the tutor (virtual face-to-face), downloadable written handout covering the main theoretical aspects of the course, pre-recorded video lessons, Certificate of course completion from My Language Hub - CIOL course provider, access to the entire online course FOR LIFE!!!

Enrolment process


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Our FOT team

Carina Balbo

Course director and tutor

English-Spanish and Spanish-English

Chartered Linguist and CIOL Fellow, Carina Balbo is a professional translator and a foreign language trainer with 25 years’ experience in industry. She is also a professional Assessment specialist working for the major national and international Exam Boards. An author, speaker, mentor and coach, as a Council Member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) and of the Association of Translation Companies (ATC), two of the leading translation organisations in the UK, Carina is involved in various projects to raise the standards of the profession.

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