I’ve spent months preparing for my DPSI or Diploma in Public Service Interpreting exam and what seems like a lifetime in anticipation of the results. During my studies I couldn’t find much information about the exam and I would like to share my experience with future candidates.
As I am based near Taunton in Somerset and studied with a centre based in Sheffield, of course, I decided I will travel 200 miles. Twice. The first part of DPSI exam was oral – 3 units in a day. I was the first in the day but felt rather confident and focused. My husband told me if you don’t feel confident just pretend and you’ll feel confident. It is the best advice I could possibly get and it helped me a lot. You feel more confident and that’s the impression an interpreter must make. Knowing that the DPSI exam pass rate is only 20%-30% doesn’t fill you with optimism but it is a massive relief if you do get into that 20-30%. You also know that the qualification must be really worth having if it is so hard to pass.
For the oral exam Unit 1 you are provided with paper and pens but you will make a better impression having your own paper lined and set up yourself. Bear in mind that the examiner will keep your notes but they only do so because they don’t want you to pass them on to further candidates. The interlocutors are very friendly and do try to make you feel comfortable in the environment and the examiner doesn’t try to intimidate you. All 3 are professionals so you feel rather relaxed and not judged (even though you are).
DPSI Units 2 and 3 seemed to go quickly. I have practised a lot as you need to have a confident voice and you speech should better be smooth during those units. Make sure there are no “umms” – it is better and comes across as more professional to have a silent pause.
A week later I was in Sheffield again to sit the written units. The most important thing is to have all your notes and dictionaries because you never quite know what to expect. I found translating into English was much easier than translation into my native Russian language so make sure you are confident translating in both directions.
To sum up – be confident, build up legal/medical etc vocabulary (depending on the option you chose), make sure you are aware of current affairs in the legal system and practice a lot. I used Youtube video clips to practice – once my topics for examination were released I spent a month watching related content on the internet and practised interpreting simultaneously.
How did you get on with your DPSI exams? Or are you only just making your first steps? Let me know and share your experience!
P.S. My results:
DPSI Unit 1: Interpret consecutively and simultaneously in the Public Services context of English law – MERIT
DPSI Unit 2: Provide a Sight Translation into English in the Public Services context of English law – DISTINCTION
DPSI Unit 3: Provide a Sight Translation from English in the Public Services context of English law – MERIT
DPSI Unit 4: Translate into English in the Public Services context of English law – MERIT
DPSI Unit 5: Translate from English in the Public Services context of English law – PASS
Find out more about DPSI HERE