3. The written examination
3.1. Description of the Written Examination
The Written Examination has two sections: English and Spanish. Each section has a total of 100 multiple-choice items divided into five parts.5 Some of the items are being field tested and will not be scored. The five parts are:
Part I: Reading Comprehension. Reading Comprehension items measure the ability to read and understand texts that reflect the language proficiency required of a Federally Certified Court Interpreter (FCCI).
Part II: Usage, Usage items measure the knowledge of grammar and idioms that is representative of the high level of general language proficiency required of an FCCI.
Part III: Error Detection. Error Detection items measure the knowledge of grammar that an FCCI must possess to carry out job-related responsibilities.
Part IV: Synonyms. Synonym items measure the breadth of general vocabulary that an FCCI must possess.
Part V: Best Translation of a Word or Phrase. Best Translation items measure the ability to correctly translate an underlined word or phrase, tapping the knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, and idioms required of an FCCI.
The five parts of the English section are followed by the five parts of the Spanish section. The Written Examination has a total of 200 items.
3.2 Scoring the Written Examination
The English and Spanish sections of the Written Examination are taken on the same day and scoring of the sections is conjunctive rather than compensatory. That is, the minimum passing score must be achieved on each of the exam sections. The minimum passing score is 75 percent, which is the standard set by the AO. A candidate who passes only one section must retake and pass both sections at a subsequent administration.
The examination is designed to measure proficiency in English and Spanish and as such only a total score for each language is reported. You may be provided with a breakdown of your scores on the test; however, it is important for you to recognize that taken individually, the score on a test part will not serve as a diagnostic tool; that is, it may not accurately inform you about particular strengths or weaknesses in language skills. (See 2.11 – Score reporting procedures and timelines.)
Your proficiency in each language is measured using a variety of question types and formats. If you wish to obtain more detailed feedback about your skill level for each type of question, we encourage you to review the Practice Test. The Practice Test is designed to be equivalent to the actual test forms and will provide you with an idea of how well you might perform.
3.3 Development of the Written Examination
The specifications for the written portion of the examination were developed by a diverse team of language professionals whose areas of expertise included language testing, language teaching, linguistics, and court interpreting. Content specialists were also consulted to ensure the authenticity of language usage in legal and other specialized contexts.
The Written Examination, like the Oral Examination, assumes a high degree of literacy in the source and target languages and familiarity with a range of language varieties and registers. The Written Examination complements the Oral Examination in that it tests comprehension of written text, knowledge of vocabulary and idioms, recognition of grammatically correct language, and the ability to recognize appropriate target language rendering of source language text.
The examination specifications for the Written Examination guide the development process, ensuring that each form of the examination is reliable, valid, and similar to the others in content, structure, and level of difficulty. Examination reliability, the consistency of measurement of the examination, and validity, the extent to which the examination measures what it is intended to measure and is useful for its intended purpose, are established through expert review of the examination specifications and the examination forms and through field testing the exam items.
Reliability is a prerequisite for validity; that is, an examination such as the Written Examination cannot measure what it is intended to measure and be useful for its intended purpose unless there is consistency of measurement across and within examination forms. New forms are developed periodically as needed, according to the examination specifications. Each form has new test items, which are field tested to ensure equivalent form reliability and internal consistency and each is administered to a population of candidates as similar as possible to the population of individuals expected to take the test routinely.
Statistical analyses of the items and tests are conducted to establish the internal consistency of each test form and to allow statistical equating of the forms. Item analysis allows verification that individual items, both existing and new, function as they are intended. If items on a new test form do not function as they are intended, they are not considered during scoring and are deleted from the score and from the final operational form. New test items that are added to existing test forms are not considered for scoring purposes, but are statistically analyzed and, if they function well, placed in a test “bank” for use in subsequent test forms. This process ensures that each item is related to the skills tested by other items and by the test as a whole. The item analysis also guides any minor revision of examinations that is needed. The end result is a high degree of internal consistency for each test form. The examination forms themselves are statistically equated, removing the inevitable minor differences in difficulty that occur across multiple forms of a test. The scores reported to the examinee in the score results letter are the equated scores, ensuring that identical scores on different forms reflect the same level of competency.
Test validity, the extent to which the test measures what it is intended to measure, is supported by the examination specifications and the test development process. The specifications and examination forms undergo a series of rigorous review by language professionals who verify that the specifications and tests are comprehensive and that they identify and measure the skills and knowledge required of a Federally Certified Court Interpreter. These reviews support both the construct6 and content validity of the Written Examination. A high degree of internal consistency and equivalent form reliability also help ensure the validity of the examinations.
3.4 Suggestions on how to prepare for the FCICE Written Examination
The Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination program assumes that a court interpreter must have high-level proficiency in both English and Spanish. If you do not have such proficiency, you should focus on improving your general language proficiency before registering for an examination. Some strategies for doing this include:
- enroll in university level courses in a country where the language is spoken;
- read widely in both languages, routinely using a dictionary to look up unfamiliar words;
- write down and memorize new vocabulary words and phrases;
- write often, using the new vocabulary you have learned;
- correct your writing, and ask others to correct it, too;
- translate a variety of texts into the other language and have a competent translator correct the translation.
If you already have high-level proficiency in both English and Spanish, in order to prepare for the exam you may wish to do the following:
- major newspaper editorials and articles, as well as news items related to legal matters and law enforcement, in both English and Spanish. Look for the main point and supporting arguments;
- laws, codes, international treaties and conventions, contracts, and other legal writings, in both English and Spanish;
- U.S. court documents such as indictments, sentences, probation and police reports, affidavits, etc.;
- documents that in Spanish-speaking countries would be drawn up by a notary public, attorney, and government agencies, such as wills, contracts, powers-of-attorney, and birth and death certificates.
- Practice translating texts related to legal matters, such as those mentioned above.
- Brush up on grammar, especially areas such as verb tenses and modes, as well as irregular verbs, pronouns, agreement, comparatives and superlatives, and the use of passive versus the active voice.
- Practice translating sentences that contain the grammar points mentioned above as well as sentences where the syntax in English and Spanish is not parallel.
- Expand your vocabulary by adding terms in all registers as well as idiomatic expressions. Focus on nouns, verbs, slang, and adjectives that might be used in the testimony of a wide variety of witnesses, including expert witnesses.
- Become familiar with court proceedings, including the terminology and syntax involved. It might be advisable to take a court interpreting course or to acquire court interpreting experience in state courts. The latter is particularly useful in preparation for the FCICE Oral Examination.
Before you register for the written examination, assess whether you are ready to pass the oral examination. If you are not ready to pass the oral examination, you may want to consider whether this is the time to take the written examination. Successful candidates on the oral examination exhibit the culmination of a lifetime of habits and a college-level vocabulary in both languages. It is doubtful that a candidate could prepare from scratch for the oral examination in one year (the amount of time that will elapse after taking the written examination).
3.5 Hints for the days before the Written Examination
The following tips may be helpful:
- If you are not familiar with the location of the testing site, you may want to drive to the site, using the directions that are provided to you. If possible, try to do this even before the day before your test so that you are comfortable with the route. Take note of the length of time it took to arrive at the site and where the parking is located, and think about what impact morning traffic might have on your commute. Plan your departure time according to what you learn. Allow enough time to arrive at least twenty minutes early – late entry into the exam is not permitted.
- Check the parking facilities, especially if you require a parking space reserved for the handicapped. All facilities are required to provide handicap access and parking, but some facilities provide more spaces than others. If it appears that there are few available parking spaces, check with the facility to see if a parking permit can be provided or if a space can be reserved for you.
- Gather the materials you need to take to the test center and put them in a place convenient for you before you leave for the test. Use the following checklist:
1. paper printout of your Admission Letter (oral examination);
2. picture identification (you will not be admitted to the test center without it);
3. directions to the testing site (if necessary).
Leave your cell phone and other electronic devices, books, large purses, and all other items at home or in the trunk of your car. You are not allowed to have anything in the testing room except a small purse or wallet, and a light jacket or sweater.
- Take a few minutes to review the sample questions and directions in this Examinee Handbook. Hours of intense study the night before the examination probably will not help your performance and might cause you to feel anxious. A quick review of the information studied earlier will probably make you feel more comfortable and better prepared.
· Get a good night's sleep before the examination. Go to bed early. Staying up late may leave you too tired to do your best work during the examination. Relax. Go to a movie, watch television, or read a book to take your mind off the exam.
3.6 Procedures for the day of the Written Examination
On the day of the examination:
Before the test
· Eat and drink something before the test. You will not be allowed to bring food or drink into the test center.
· Do not telephone test center proctors in advance. They have neither the authority nor the information necessary to admit anyone until the day and time of the test. Call the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) if you have any questions.
· Arrive early. The test takes three hours and fifteen minutes. You should expect to be at the test center for up to five hours in order to complete pre-test and post-test tasks.
· You will be admitted to the testing room only if you have an acceptable form of government-issued picture identification.
· Leave dictionaries and reference materials at home. Leave your cell phone, beeper, PDA, and other electronic devices at home or in the car. These items will not be permitted in the testing room, and testing staff will not be responsible for their security while you are taking the examination. Before the written examination, you will be instructed to empty and turn your pockets inside out to confirm that you have no prohibited items. You may be disqualified from taking a federal examination in the future if you are found to have any electronic devices on your person while taking a test.
Any candidate who is found to have access to equipment or material that could be used to assist in taking the examination or that could be used to record or transmit any portion of an examination will be permanently disqualified from taking any test in the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination program.
· Everything you need to take the test will be provided.
· Use the restroom before the exam begins. If you go to the restroom during the examination, you will not be allowed extra time to complete the exam.
During the test
· Follow test center procedures. The staff at each center observes certain standard procedures to ensure that every examinee has equal testing time and that the operation of the center meets the criteria established by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts for standardized administration. The success of the test administration depends in part on your following these procedures.
· The proctor will tell you when to start and when to stop working on the examination.
· Smoking, eating, or drinking is not permitted in the testing room.
· Visitors are not permitted.
· You may take a watch (without an alarm) to the center to pace yourself during the examination. However, the official time is kept by the test center personnel.
· During the test, refrain from any talking. You may not give or receive help, or use books, papers, or aids of any kind. Do not read or work on the test during a time not authorized by the proctor or remove testing materials from the testing room. Candidates may only be excused from the testing room during an examination when they follow procedures announced in advance by the local test personnel.
· Any candidate found to have access to equipment or material that could be used to assist in taking the examination or that could be used to record or transmit any portion of the examination will be permanently disqualified from taking any test in the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination program.
· During the test, work quickly and accurately. Do not waste time. Mark those items for which you are not sure of the correct answer; after finishing the test, go back and review your answers.
We make every effort to ensure that on the day of the test, the test room and surrounding environment will be free of noisy or other annoying distractions. However, experience has shown that regardless of these efforts, events will sometimes occur that may be distracting to some examinees (construction noise, sporting events, housekeepers vacuuming in adjacent rooms, etc.). If that happens, we encourage you to ignore the distraction and simply continue with the test. The testing center personnel are trained to try to solve any problems if possible or to allow extra time if appropriate. Please remember that, as a practicing federal court interpreter, you will experience distractions and unexpected occurrences and will have to deal with them in a professional manner.
3.7 Suggested study references for the Written Examination
Barron’s 1001 Pitfalls in English Grammar. (1986). Barron’s Educational Series (ISBN 0-8120-3719-7).
Escarpanter, J. ( 1995). Cómo eliminar los errores y dudas del lenguaje, Editorial Playor (ISBN 84-359-0388-5).
Fernández de la Torriente, G. (1997). Cómo aumentar su vocabulario 1, Editorial Playor, (ISBN 84-359-0124-6).
Mikkelson, H. (1995). The Interpreter’s Edge; Turbo Supplement, Monterey, CA: ACEBO (ISBN 1-880594-13-7).
Moliner, M. (1998). Diccionario de uso del español, Editorial Gredos (ISBN 84-249-1974-2).
The following web sites have been recommended by a native English speaking candidate who found them useful as sources of practice material for Spanish grammar. Candidates who explore these resources should be mindful that their accuracy has not been verified by authoritative review.
3.8 Discussion and sample items
In the following discussion, English and Spanish examples are provided for each section of the examination; however, in an operational examination, the five parts of the English section are presented first, and then the five parts of the Spanish section are presented. There are 20 items in each of the five parts of each section, English and Spanish.
Part I: Reading Comprehension
These items assess understanding of main ideas and supporting information. Inferred meaning can also be assessed. There are four types of reading comprehension texts on the Written Examination: general interest texts, non-specialist legal texts, specialist legal texts, and language-specific legal texts. Language-specific texts for Spanish are typical of the types of documents drafted by a notary public, a government agency, or a court and may include contracts, wills, birth and death certificates, marriage certificates, court decisions, etc. Language-specific texts for English are typical of documents that are likely to be part of criminal court proceedings or files, such as foreign or domestic police reports, probation reports, complaints, indictments, affidavits, etc. Stimulus texts are 400-600 words long.
Here is an abbreviated example of an English non-specialist legal text with several example questions. Note that this sample text, which is about 220 words in length, is shorter than the examination texts, which are 400-600 words in length.
Supreme Court Reverses Lower Court
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that police cannot conduct an extensive search of a murder scene without first obtaining a warrant. The unsigned opinion in the case of a West Virginia minister who murdered his wife reinforced a 1978 decision and reversed a lower court’s ruling that the scene of a homicide is exempt from the constitutional prohibition on warrantless searches.
The defendant had called police to a cabin that he and his wife were renting, telling them that a man had broken in and knocked him unconscious. When he awoke, he found his wife dead, beaten to death. Police arrived and began searching the cabin. Opening a briefcase, they found an envelope containing photographs of a man who appeared to be taking off his jeans. It was later revealed that the man was a friend of the defendant and a member of his congregation. Prosecutors charged the minister with his wife’s murder, introducing the photos as evidence that he had had an intimate relationship with the man and arguing that he killed his wife in part because she was enraged by the relationship.
The defendant tried to keep the photos out of his 1997 trial, contending that police needed a warrant before going through his belongings. The trial judge denied his objection, declaring an exception to the warrant requirement for homicide scenes.
1. How did the photographs found at the crime scene incriminate the man in the murder of his wife?
A. They were believed to show evidence of the man’s violent nature.
B. They showed evidence of the man’s intention to murder his wife.
C. They supported claims that the man had a recent life insurance policy on his wife.
D. They were believed to be evidence of a relationship that angered his wife.
The correct answer to question 1 is option D. The information needed to respond correctly to this item is located primarily in the last sentence of the second paragraph.
2. On what basis did the trial judge allow the photographs to be included as evidence?
A. The evidence was found at the location of a homicide.
B. The defendant’s story was not supported by the evidence.
C. The defendant was accused of committing a homicide.
D. The briefcase where the photographs had been kept was not locked.
The correct answer to question 2 is option A. The information needed to respond correctly to this item is located primarily in the last sentence of the third paragraph.
The abbreviated text, Referéndum Venezolano, that appears below is typical of the general text type for Spanish. Note that this sample text, which has about 200 words, is shorter than the examination texts, which are 400-600 words in length.
El resultado del referéndum verificado el domingo pasado en Venezuela revela que el poder de convocatoria del Presidente Hugo Chávez era menor que lo esperado. Chávez ha triunfado, por cierto, y el país se ha pronunciado a favor de una Asamblea Constituyente destinada a reformar la actual Carta Fundamental que rige al país. Más del 80 por ciento de los votantes, que sumaron unos tres millones de electores, respondieron afirmativamente a las dos consultas hechas por el gobierno. Estas, si bien incorporan elementos nuevos en el debate político, como la transformación del Estado, la creación de un nuevo ordenamiento jurídico y el funcionamiento de una democracia social y participativa, plantean futuros desencuentros en torno a sus reales alcances.
El éxito proclamado por Chávez, sin embargo, fue opacado por la abrumadora abstención, que alcanzó a más del 60 por ciento de la población inscrita. Los cinco millones y medio de personas que no participaron en la consulta representaron, según la oposición, una grave derrota para el mandatario. Pero, la escasa concurrencia de votantes a las urnas, que había sido anticipada por las encuestas, no pudo ser impedida por el Presidente, quien hizo varios intentos para evitar el abstencionismo.
1. ¿En qué se basa el autor para afirmar que el Presidente Hugo Chávez tuvo un “poder de convocatoria menor que lo esperado?”
- en que sólo el 80% de los votantes se pronunció a favor del plebiscito
- en que tres millones de personas votaron por la creación de la Asamblea Constituyente
- en que la mayoría absoluta de los votantes inscritos no votó en el referéndum
- en que la Asamblea Constituyente no obtuvo la mayoría de los votos emitidos
The correct answer to question 1 is option C. The information needed to respond correctly to this item is located primarily in the first sentence of the second paragraph although the quotation is from the opening sentence.
2. ¿Cuál es la función que llevará a cabo la Asamblea Constituyente venezolana?
- redactar una nueva constitución política
- velar por el funcionamiento de una democracia social
- incorporar nuevos elementos al debate político
- crear futuros desencuentros nacionales
The correct answer to question 2 is option A. The information needed to respond correctly to this item is located primarily in the second sentence of the first paragraph.
Part II: Usage
The usage items are intended to measure knowledge of standard grammar and common idioms.
Grammar usage items consist of a sentence with an underlined portion containing a grammatical form that may or may not include an error. Three alternatives for the underlined portion are presented in the options, with option D being “no change.” Only one of the options presented for the underlined portion is correct according to standard or normative grammar. The examinee must select the option that reflects this standard or normative use, or if the underlined portion represents the correct form, “no change” should be selected.
Here are four examples, two English and two Spanish, of grammar usage items for your review.
For each of the following sentences, either choose the alternative (A, B, or C) that best replaces the underlined portion, or, if the original sentence is best, mark option D (no change).
1. An effective defense counsel and an attentive jury was key in the acquittal.
- counsel, besides attentive jurors, were key
- counsel as well as attentive jurors was key
- counsel and an attentive jury were key
- no change
The correct answer to question 1 is option C. This item tests subject-verb agreement. Only choice C exhibits correct agreement. The underlined portion of the sentence and choices A and B all contain errors. Because a change is needed, D is not the right choice.
2. Government figures show that in 1995-2000 the economy grew at a much faster rate than in the previous ten years.
A. a more faster
- a lot more faster
- a further faster
- no change
The correct answer to question 2 is option D. This item tests comparatives. The underlined portion of the sentence does not contain an error and, therefore, no change is necessary. Options A, B, and C all contain errors.
3. El delincuente apresado ayer resultó ser mucho más peligroso que la policía había imaginado.
- peligroso de lo que la policía
- peligroso que lo que la policía
- peligroso lo que la policía
- sin cambio
The correct answer to question 3 is option A. This item tests comparatives. Only choice A exhibits the correct use of a comparative form. The underlined portion of the sentence and choices B and C all contain errors. Because a change is needed, D is not the right choice.
4. Está lista la solicitud de libertad bajo fianza; el abogado va a entregársela mañana al actuario.
- se la va a entregársela
- se va a entregarla
- la va a entregársela
- sin cambio
The correct answer to question 4 is option D. This item tests the placement of pronouns. The underlined portion of the sentence does not contain an error and, therefore, no change is necessary. Options A, B, and C all contain errors.
Following are two examples of idiom usage items, one in English and one in Spanish.
1. The robber was caught red-handed as he exited the bank.
- with his hands up
- without a chase
- without effort
- with the evidence
The correct response to the English idiom example is option D. The best replacement for the expression “red-handed” is “with the evidence.”
2. Aquella tarde, el autobús iba de bote en bote.
- avanzando a gran velocidad
- lleno de gente
- casi vacío
The correct response to the Spanish idiom example is option C. The best replacement for the expression “de bote en bote” is “lleno de gente.”
Part III: Error Detection
The Error Detection segment of the Written Examination is intended to measure knowledge of standard forms of grammatical expression, which is essential for the work of a Federally Certified Court Interpreter. Eight of the Error Detection items are based on a single, isolated sentence. The remaining twelve items are based on two six-sentence paragraphs, each sentence of which is an item. Three words or phrases are underlined in each item. One of the three underlined segments may contain an error. In that case, the examinee identifies which underlined word or phrase must be corrected in order for the sentence to be grammatically correct. The fourth option is No Error (D). The examinee marks No error (D) when the sentence is correct as stated.
Following are two examples, one English and one Spanish, of the single sentence Error Detection items.
In the following sentences three segments are underlined and followed by a letter (A, B, C). One of these segments might contain an error. Choose the segment that contains the error and mark your choice on your answer sheet. If the sentence does not contain an error, mark D (No error). There may be grammatical, syntactic, or semantic errors. There is no more than one error in a sentence.
1. The victim’s family reached a sense of closing (A) when the bomber
was sentenced (B) to two life terms (C) without parole. No error (D)
The correct answer to the English example is option A because “closing” is an incorrect word form in this context. The correct form would be “closure.”
2. Una de las medidas adoptadas (A) para hacer enfrente (B) al desempleo es
premiar a (C) las empresas que contratan a empleados jóvenes. Sin error (D)
The correct answer to the Spanish example is option B because “enfrente” is an incorrect word form in this context. The correct form would be “frente.”
Here is an example of the items contained in the six-sentence paragraph. An English set is provided to illustrate this segment of the exam, however, Spanish Error Detection items are presented in the same manner.
The six sentences that follow form a paragraph. In each sentence three segments are underlined and followed by a letter (A, B, C). One of these segments might contain an error. Choose the segment that contains the error and mark your choice on your answer sheet. If the sentence does not contain an error, mark D (No error). There may be grammatical, syntactic, or semantic errors. There is no more than one error in a sentence.
1. At the Nice meeting, European Union (A) will have to embrace
institutional reforms (B) as a prelude (C) to enlargement. No error (D)
The correct answer to question 1 in the set is option A because in option A the definite article “the” is missing.
2. The Union’s decision-making processes, designed for (A) a trading bloc of six nations,
are hardly (B) suited for today’s common market of 15 nations, let alone (C) one of
27. No error (D)
The correct answer to question 2 in the set is option D because there is no error in the sentence.
3. The problem is that (A) individual member states champion reforms (B) that suit their
often conflicting views of it’s fundamental nature (C). No error (D)
The correct answer to question 3 in the set is option C because the pronoun “its,” referring to the Union, should be used in this context.
4. France and Germany, for instance, both remain (A) strong proponents of expanding
the Union, though one sees it (B) as a federation of nations, the other of peoples (C).
No error (D)
The correct answer to question 4 in the set is option D because there is no error in the sentence.
5. France would like to reaffirm the supremacy (A) of the Council of Ministers, whose
member (B) represent the national governments (C). No error (D)
The correct answer to question 5 in the set is option B because the singular form of the verb “member” is incorrect. The verb form “represent” requires a plural subject.
6. Germany would like (A) to strength the (B) supranational policymaking (C)
European Commission. No error (D)
The correct answer to question 6 in the set is option B because the infinitive verb form “stengthen” is required in this context.
Part IV: Synonyms
Items in this part of the Written Examination measure the breadth and precision of vocabulary because a Federally Certified Court Interpreter must have a broad and precise vocabulary and be sensitive to slight differences in connotation among words of similar meaning. A Synonym item presents the vocabulary word – a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb – in a non-defining context. The vocabulary item to be tested is underlined, and four options are offered. One option is the best response; that is, closest in meaning to the underlined word. The three incorrect options are at approximately the same level of difficulty (word frequency) as the underlined word but do not have the same meaning as the underlined word.
Following are one English and one Spanish example of Synonyms items. From among the four alternatives (A, B, C, D) choose the one closest in meaning to the underlined word in the sentence.
1. We were struck by his demeanor.
The correct answer to the English example is option B because the word “behavior” is closest in meaning to the underlined word in the sentence, “demeanor.”
2. Pese a la agresividad mostrada por el fiscal durante el contrainterrogatorio, el acusado se mantuvo impávido.
The correct answer to the Spanish example is option A because the word “impertérrito” is closest in meaning to the underlined word in the sentence, “impávido.”
Part V: Best Translation of a word or phrase
Translating is similar to interpreting insofar as it involves rendering a word or phrase from one language to another. The stimulus for a Best Translation item is a sentence with an underlined word or phrase. From the four alternatives, the examinee must choose the best rendering in the target language of the underlined portion. Items for which the sentences are in Spanish and the alternatives in English are included in the English section of the Written Examination; items for which the sentences are in English and the alternatives in Spanish are included in the Spanish section of the Written Examination. Eight of the items are based on isolated sentences. The remaining items are presented in three sets of four items each.
Following are two examples of the single sentence Best Translation part of the examination. For each of the underlined segments in the sentences that follow, choose the alternative (A, B, C, D) closest in meaning to the underlined word or phrase. In choosing your answer, consider the context of the underlined portion and what the translation of the entire sentence would be.
This example is from Spanish into English and would be included in the English section of the Written Examination.
1. El dinero recaudado apenas alcanzará para cubrir un quinto de los gastos.
- a quintuplet
- one item
- one fifth
- a fortnight
The correct answer to the Spanish into English example is option C because “one fifth” is the best rendering of “un quinto.”
This example is from English into Spanish and would be included in the Spanish portion of the Written Examination.>
2. All subsequent allocations will be decided by the incoming Board.
The correct answer to the Spanish into English example is option A because “posteriores” is the best rendering of “subsequent.”
Following are examples similar to the four-item sets that are contained in the Best Translation segment of the examination.
This example is from Spanish into English and would be included in the English portion of the Written Examination.
De lo anterior (1) se concluye que analizados y valorados de manera conjunta los elementos probatorios (2) mencionados, de acuerdo con el numeral 175 del Código Federal de Procedimientos Penales, constituyen prueba plena de que alguien se apoderó de una cosa mueble (3) ajena, en este caso una unidad automotriz, sin derecho y sin consentimiento de la persona que puede disponer de ella con arreglo a la Ley (4), cuyos hechos ocurrieron en el vecino país del Norte; de ahí se justifique la existencia del cuerpo del delito de Robo, conforme a su definición.
- From the foregoing
- Due to the preceding
- In the former case
- Given the foregone
The correct answer to question 1 is option A because the phrase “from the foregoing” is the best rendering of “de lo anterior” in this context.
- probationary material
- probative elements
The correct answer to question 2 is option A because the word “evidence” is the best rendering of “elementos probatorios” in this context.
- real property
- personal property
- durable goods
- material goods
The correct answer to question 3 is option B because the phrase “personal property” is the best rendering of “cosa mueble” in this context.
- that is able to discard her according to the law
- who may statutorily dispose of it
- to whom the law gives access thereto
- who can make lawful use thereof
The correct answer to question 4 is option D because the phrase“who can make lawful use thereof” is the best rendering of “que puede disponer de ella con arreglo a la Ley” in this context.
Finally, this example is from English into Spanish and would be included in the Spanish portion of the Written Examination.
(A) Pursuant to an agreement of even date herewith (6) between the aforementioned (7) parties (the “Principal Agreement”) the Assignor agreed to procure the sale and the Assignee agreed to purchase or procure the purchase of inter alia the commercial real estate and chattels, details of which are set out (8) in the schedule hereto, together with the goodwill associated therewith, (together, the “Property”); and
(B) The Assignor has agreed to enter into this Assignment to assign to the Assignee all its right, title and interest in and to the Property registered in its name.
- por lo tanto
- en vista de
The correct answer to question 5 is option C because the word “considerando” is the best rendering of “whereas.”
- de fecha pareja con aquí
- de la misma fecha que el presente Convenio
- con la fecha antedicha en este Convenio
- con la fecha igual que éste
The correct answer to question 6 is option B because the phrase “de la misma fecha que el presente Convenio” is the best rendering of “of even date herewith” in this context.
- previamente dichos
- en su conjunto
- que suscriben
- antes mencionadas
The correct answer to question 7 is option D because the phrase “antes mencionadas” is the best rendering of “aforementioned” in this context.
- cuyos detalles se listan
- detalles de los cuales se aparecen
- donde se establecen detalles de ellos
- detalles que son especificados
The correct answer to question 8 is option A because the phrase “cuyos detalles se listan” is the best rendering of “details of which are set out” in this context.
The time limit for completing the test prior to 2008 was two and a half hours and the test consisted of 160 items, 80 in English and 80 in Spanish. In 2008, there were 100 test items in the English section and 100 in the Spanish section, increasing the total number of items on the test to 200. The time limit for completing the test was also increased to three hours and fifteen minutes. The AO will continue that practice in subsequent years.
A “construct” is an attribute of people, reflected in test performance; for example, the language proficiency needed to perform the activities of a court interpreter.