Read both of the elective passages before you decide which to translate. Do the dictionaries you brought cover the subject matter? Are there complicated sentences that will take time to untangle?
When you finish a paragraph, read it over to yourself. Does it sound right, or does is sound awkward and stilted? Will changing the word order make a difference?
Working with a handwritten translation, instead of a word processor, may call for a different way of thinking. For example, it’s not as easy to go back and insert qualifiers in the right place. Think your sentences through before you write.
You will be graded on your ability to render the entire message of the original in the target language, not on your ability to rewrite or improve upon it.
Use dictionaries judiciously, and be sure your word choices are correct in context. If a dictionary offers more than one translation for a word, don’t assume you can use any of them interchangeably. It sometimes helps to cross check an unfamiliar term you have tentatively selected by looking it up in the other direction.
If a word or phrase is not in your dictionaries, apply your translation skills. Perhaps it is a compound whose parts are in the dictionary, a derivative of a word that is listed, or a cognate you can look up in the target language. In other cases, you are expected to determine the meaning from the context and determine the correct term/phrase in accordance with the translation instructions. Texts selected as exam passages are modified to avoid obscure terms, and you will be penalized if you simply note “not in dictionary.”
Remember that you will be working without a spell checker. Consider bringing a monolingual dictionary in your target language.
Pay attention to spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Conventions vary from one language to another, and failure to follow target-language rules can change or obscure meaning.
Consider bringing a grammar book for your source language and a stylebook for your target language.
You are not expected to make mathematical conversions of measures, distances, money, and the like. You will not be penalized if you convert correctly, but you will if the conversion is wrong.
Proofread carefully. Check:
Also proofread for grammar and usage: subject/verb agreement, prepositions, verb tenses, and syntax (too close to the source text?) Don’t make hasty last-minute changes unless you’re sure you made a mistake. If you’re undecided, it’s safer to trust your first instinct.
Special note for candidates taking the exam from English into German:
The new German spelling was introduced in 1996/97 and the "grace period" ended in 2006. All candidates are expected to use the new German spelling rules or spelling errors will be marked.