Chartered Institute
of Linguists

CertTrans - FAQs

Q: How can I register to take the CertTrans exam and how much does it cost?

A: Full exam dates and fees are available on the Take CertTrans page.


Q: Do you provide any preparation materials and guidance for the CertTrans exam?

A: Yes, CIOLQ has published the CertTrans Study Guide which contains relevant information in relation to the exam and exam resources. Also, the CertTrans Qualification Specification provides a broad range of information including qualification purpose, grading descriptors and marking criteria.


Q: How is the CertTrans exam conducted?

A: All candidates take the exam from the comfort of their own home or a suitable location of their choice via the CIOLQ Virtual Centre using our remotely invigilated exam delivery platform. You will type your translation using your own PC/laptop and translate in one direction into your target language from your chosen source language.


Q: Can I sit the CertTrans exam in two different languages in the same exam session?

A: Yes you can apply to take two exams in two different source languages. Please refer to the list of languages currently available on our website. You will need to submit two separate applications and pay two sets of fees. Please note that the source language cannot be the same. The schedule for English into Other Language and Other Language into English is the same for all language combinations as per the Exam dates on the Take CertTrans page of the CIOL website.


Q: Do you offer preparatory courses for the CertTrans exam?

A: As an Awarding Organisation, CIOL Qualifications does not run or recommend courses. You might consider searching for courses in translation independently as there are many good and very experienced providers of training, courses in translation and preparation for translation exams, both online and face to face. For more information on some of the translation course providers who are out there, please refer to our website here. You will need to contact the course providers directly.


Q: Where can I find past papers from the CertTrans exam?

A: An example is here. Past papers from 2022 are available here. Our setters may consult published sources or research papers, but across all units the texts used will be authentic in content and of a type that translators can expect to be presented with in their daily work.

Texts will be of a medium difficulty overall, but papers will contain a variety of challenges likely to require some resourcefulness and flexibility and test conversion skills to achieve a successful translation. Texts can be expected to include some of the following - cultural references, idioms, similes, metaphors, colloquialisms, neologisms, humour, figures of speech. For Unit 02 and Unit 03 the additional challenges will be in the form of terminology, register, concept and appropriateness of style. To confirm these texts will not be as difficult as those set for our Master's Level 7 Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) qualification.


Q: How many times can I take the CertTrans exam within the three-year qualification completion timeframe?

A: The three-year full exam completion period applies from the first year that a candidate receives a unit certificate. Therefore, once a candidate has received a ‘pass’ in any part of a CIOLQ qualification, they have two more years to successfully complete all outstanding parts of that qualification. Candidates may make more than one further attempt. You are however required to complete the qualification within a three-year period.


Q: Would this qualification be suitable for students doing their language GCSEs/A- Levels or those who have already completed a university degree? What would be the case for international students living in countries where the education systems are different from the UK?

A: The qualification is only available for candidates over 18 years of age. Candidates would be well advised to have languages to first degree standard or be bilingual, as the CertTrans is set in the range of C1 in the internationally recognised CEFR framework. UK GCSEs and A-Levels are typically B1 to B2 in CEFR terms (see

A good languages degree with some focused work on getting to grips with translation norms would be recommended for success in the CertTrans, as set out in our CertTrans Study Guide on the Take CertTrans page of the CIOL website.

Given the CertTrans is set at working/degree level it will be of interest to recently graduating students wanting a career in translation and also to people who work or want to work in international organisations as well as many more linguists in business, the professions and government and those who want to prove their competence in third, fourth or further additional languages.


Q: I had previously passed some units of the Diploma in Translation qualification but have exceeded the qualification completion timeframe. Can I now transfer my DipTrans credit(s) to the CertTrans?

A: It is not possible to transfer credits as they are different qualifications.


Q: What is the difference between DipTrans and CertTrans? How can I decide which qualification is more suitable for me?

A: The Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) is suitable for those who already have experience in translation or those who have recently obtained a MA in translation and have a solid grasp of different translation techniques. Some candidates choose to attend a course to brush up on their skills, whilst others prepare on their own with the help of past papers and/or other materials available on our website here. For more information please refer to the DipTrans Qualification Specification here. The DipTrans is equivalent to a Master’s degree (Level 7)and is considered the “gold standard” among CIOL Members and within the profession.

The Certificate in Translation (CertTrans) is ideal for graduating students interested in a career in translation and for those seeking employment which uses their languages in an international context and marketplace in business, the professions, government or international NGOs. A practical professional qualification like the CertTrans can be an excellent complement to a language degree. The CertTrans is Degree level (Level 6), the same level for example as a Bachelor of the Arts (BA) Hons, Bachelor of Science (BSc) Hons. For more details, please refer to the CertTrans Qualification Specification here.