Great news came in the post this week from the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL): I passed all 3 exams of the Arabic>English diploma in translation which I sat in January, with a distinction in the Technology paper. The other specialist paper I took was Law. Such a relief as it’s notoriously difficult exam and not cheap either; I didn’t fancy the prospect of having to retake any papers! But the real reason I’m so pleased is that I finally have a professional qualification for my Arabic. I started learning the language in my 20s on an intensive course to retrain as an Arabic linguist in the civil service. Although my lack of external academic qualifications besides civil service accreditation has never stood in the way of getting freelance work as an Arabic translator, it’s still very satisfying to finally have that official bit of paper from the Institute of Linguists to recognise all these years of hard work!