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Language Assessments

ALTA’s Translation Practice Test (English)

You have been registered to take ALTA’s Online Translation Test. This test is designed to assess your ability to translate from one language to another language. The evaluation is done online with pre-selected texts.

Here are some important things to remember when taking the test:

  • The test contains 2 or 3 texts depending on the test that has been assigned to you.
  • Both passages must be translated in the 2- text test. You will type your translation in the box below each passage.
  • In the 3-text test, the first passage on the first page is required to translate. You will type your translation in the box below the passage. You must choose only 1 of the remaining 2 texts on the second page to translate. You will type your translation in the box below the passage that you selected.
  • The time limit is 120 minutes. A timer in the corner of the screen will inform you how much time you have remaining, and you will be given a warning five minutes before the end of your test.
  • It is important to take the test in a quiet area where you can concentrate fully on what you are writing.
  • Passages come from a variety of published news sources. Topics are general news, business, science, government, law, and medical. The passage required to translate depends of the type of test that you have been assigned.
  • Passage texts are between 200 and 250 words.
  • You are able to move backward and forward through the test, if you choose. That is, if you skip a question, you will be able to come back to it later.
  • You are allowed to use only non-online reference materials for this test (paper dictionaries).
  • Once you have started your test, you may not stop it, start over, or take the test again.
  • You must click “Submit Test” when you have finished answering the last question – otherwise, your test will not be scored.

You Will be Evaluated on the Following:

  • The accuracy of your translation
  • How well your translation maintains the style of the source text
  • Grammar, spelling (including accent marks where applicable), punctuation, and vocabulary.

Computer Requirements

  • PC Users: Windows 10
  • Mac Users: OSX 10.5 and higher
  • Java Script (turned on)
  • Flash (downloaded for free)
  • Broadband connection
  • Supported Browsers, latest version – Chrome (recommended), Safari or Firefox

Also, for languages with non-roman characters, character encoding needs to be set up at Unicode. It’s usually done per default. In case it’s not: in the Firefox task bar, go to “View”, to “Character Encoding” and make sure that “Unicode (UTF-8)” is selected. (If “View” does not appear, go to “Web Developer”.)


It is your responsibility to use the appropriate settings on your keyboard for the language being tested. You will not be able to insert characters with diacritical marks. Note also that the copy and paste functions are disabled within the test. If you do not know how to set up your keyboard to type those marks, please use the character codes (ALT codes). Click here to see those codes and the options based on the device you are using to take the test.

Translation Practice Test

The following two passages are for you to practice. No sample answers are provided.

If you have additional questions, please call us at 1-888-624-6165 or emails us at [email protected]

The following passage is an excerpt from a legal article from an international wire service:

A federal judge announced that Target Corporation and Bed Bath & Beyond, Inc. must face a lawsuit claiming they sold linens that were falsely labeled “100% Egyptian Cotton” or “100% Long-Staple Egyptian cotton,” despite being suspicious of their origin.

Monday’s decision by a federal judge in New York addressed claims that consumers nationwide overpaid for mislabeled cotton produced by an Indian textile company. Egyptian cotton often commands a premium price because of its prestige, and because its long fibers yield a softer and more durable fabric.

The judge stated that consumers may pursue claims of breach of warranty and negligent misrepresentation against the retailers, as well as a U.S. unit of the textile manufacturing company. Consumers may also proceed with fraud claims against the manufacturer.

Fraud claims against the retailers were dismissed because there was no clear evidence of “fraudulent intent.” New York and California consumers were allowed to sue the retailers under the consumer protective laws of those states.

A lawyer for the manufacturer and Bed Bath & Beyond declined to comment. Lawyers for Target Corp. did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

According to the complaint, the retailers sold the “Egyptian” cotton well into 2016 even though Target and Bed Bath & Beyond had known for several months that the cotton was mislabeled. Both retailers stopped selling the linens in question later in the year.

The following passage is an excerpt from a science article in a newspaper:

For the first time in three decades, scientists are about to revisit one of North America’s most remarkable troves of ancient fossils: the bones of tens of thousands of animals piled at least 30 feet deep at the bottom of a sinkhole-type cave.

Natural Trap Cave in north-central Wyoming is 85 feet deep and almost impossible to see until you’re standing right next to it. Over tens of thousands of years, many, many animals – including now-extinct mammoths, short-faced bears, American lions, and American cheetahs – shared the misfortune of not noticing the 15-foot-wide opening until they were plunging to their deaths. Now, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is preparing to reopen a metal grate over the opening to offer scientists what may be their best look yet at the variety of critters that roamed the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains during the planet’s last glacial period around 25,000 years ago.

The remote cave is exceptionally well preserved. It’s far too challenging and dangerous to have been trammeled in by casual explorers. The Bureau of Land Management installed the grate in the 1970s to keep people and animals out. A mound of dirt and rock containing layer upon layer of animal bones rises from the floor of the 120-foot-wide, bell-shaped chamber. Scientists hope the remains are sufficiently preserved in the cold, sheltered environment to contain snippets of genetic information.

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