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Need Help With a Test?

Originally titled Ace the DLPT, this book was used as a tool to pass the Defense Language Proficiency Test, a battery based on the Interagency Language Roundtable's (ILR) professional standards of fluency. The standard is high, with professional fluency based on a score of 3 in both listening and reading. (Some agencies require a 3 in speaking as well.) While a score of 3 out of a possible 5 may not sound great to someone who isn't familiar with ILR, it's about the highest level a non-native speaker can attain. In fact, many native speakers of English (Americans, British, etc.) don't even score a 3 in speaking English, their own language. And I have heard of native Spanish speakers failing their oral proficiency interviews in Spanish because their fluency was regional or incomplete. For instance, talking about Arabic, just because you were born in Egypt and understand Egyptians perfectly doesn't necessarily mean you speak proper Arabic (MSA) proficiently. In fact, proficiency in MSA is often correlated to the education level of the speaker. Of course, since Arabic is a diglossic language, being fluent in dialect is an invaluable skill in itself. And while there are DLPTs that test your dialect abilities, Ace My Language - Arabic will prepare you for testing in Modern Standard Arabic, the language of educated Arabs and officials.

As stated, this book's goal is to get you to a 2+ or 3 level of listening and reading proficiency. It contains reading passages followed by questions. It contains questions for listening cuts that are on a companion CD. The material is similar to what you might expect in a DLPT, but having used this book and taken multiple DLPTs, I can tell you that the DLPT V standard goes a bit beyond this book.

If you're looking for a test-prep book for a university class, then this book is probably more than enough. Just use it as an exercise book and you'll impress your teacher.

My rant for the day: And by the way, if you ever meet someone who brags about how fluent they are (and we all have), then bring up the DLPT and ILR standards. Those are the only legitimate and official fluency standards, and they are the ones that determine if someone is good enough for a position. (Europeans might use a different system for all I know.) I don't mean to sound like a dick, but having a B.A. in a language doesn't typically amount to great ILR scores. Many universities use their own oral proficiency interview (OPI) standards, usually based on a 15-20 min. telephone or VTC conversation. These standards are completely meaningless in the real world. They're usually just requirements for graduation and say nothing about your professional fluency. To even apply for most higher-paying linguist jobs in the government (and you can look up what agencies those are), you have to demonstrate to them on the same playing field as everyone else that you actually have the skill they need. In other words: DLPTs and military-style interviews. Did I mention there's a limit to how many times you can test before you're wasting their time?

Okay, let's suppose you don't want to work for the government and instead have dreams of being a translator. Maybe work with fiction or freelance translation? Wow that sounds nice, doesn't it? Again, I probably will come off as a dick here, but it's unrealistic to expect a job that pays the bills in either freelance or fiction translation with just a B.A. in whatever language. (This doesn't just apply to Arabic, but it especially applies to the languages that are taught in virtually every high school: Spanish, French and German.) Why? Most prestigious works of fiction are not going to be entrusted to a 20-something year old translator without experience. Period. Fiction goes to Ph.D.'s. Let's face it: the more renowned the author, the more your curriculum vitae needs to shine. And a B.A. in language is about as shiny as a turd. What about freelance translation? Well, first, good luck finding it if you want to translate from a commonly taught language into English. Fr-Eng, Ger-Eng and Sp-Eng translators are a dime a dozen. If you get work, don't expect great pay. If you don't like the idea of having to earn your way up to good pay, if you somehow think a B.A. entitles you to good, easy money...Basically if you don't have a work ethic, then just forget about freelance work. You'll ruin your reputation before even getting started. Second, unless you have a real specialty (e.g., engineering, medicine, science, law, software design or chemistry), then you should consider a career in something else and only pick up freelance work as a side job. Many of the good freelance jobs are trade-specific. How can you expect to translate something into English that you don't even understand in English let alone in another language? The fact is you can't without making an arse of yourself and the company that's paying you.

Why the rant with the review? I'll be honest. My rant is mostly for languages other than Arabic, since Arabic isn't really taught that much in our country. But a lot of would-be linguists are simply full of crap when it comes to their abilities. And the basic American college kid attitude is that work should just fall into your lap the moment you cross the stage at graduation. That's sabotaging yourself. That's just not the way it works, especially in linguist work./rant

9/10
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Added by astro_man23
9 years ago on 30 May 2011 16:24