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Nathan Mao

the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT)

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yakherder

Just came across this topic trying to google my way into finding out whether or not the Chinese DLPT has a writing component.  I'm not currently in an MOS that has anything to do with foreign language, but between leaving the Navy and joining the Army I went to China and studied at Zhejiang University.  Now I figure I might as well get it on record, assuming I can get them to let me schedule a test.  My spoken Chinese and listening comphrension is fairly fluent, and I can type without any problem, but I haven't picked up a pen and written any Chinese in about 5 years and, yes, it's rusty :P

 

Am I understanding correctly that, as far as the DLPT is concerned, there is no reason for me to worry about writing if I've got everything else down?

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Nathan Mao

Correct.  The DLPT is 100% reading comprehension and listening comprehension.
Speaking ability is a separate test, has to be requested/scheduled separately.

However, be warned that some questions require familiarity with traditional characters and Taiwan/Southern China accents.

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yakherder

Outstanding.  I should still brush up on my writing just because it would be a shame to lose it after spending so much time learning it in the first place, but for now I'll focus on what I need for the DLPT.

 

I'm used to listening to Fujianese and, when I visited Taiwan (though only for a couple weeks), Taiwanese seemed kind of similar so I might do okay on that.  I'll find some local news clips or something to brush up on just to be safe.

 

Thanks :)

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brucehuang

@

yakherder

if you're in the Army, 35P is the MOS that has everything to do with language. If you're in the Navy, then CTI is the samething (ENLISTED, of course, unless you go intel officer)

But anyhow, all of them just chills on their ass and do nothing like the chair force anyways. The DoD pays so much money to have contractors do the same job that they train their linguists in the military to do. Not even kidding...and the quality is soooooooooooooooooooo bad..........I don't even wanna start a rant on it, it'll take another 50 pages or so.

BTW, Go Navy...screw Army.

 

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brucehuang

@ yakherder

And, speaking from both side of the view, as a linguist and a x-military (linguist, sort of.....)

The military linguists are like ........... HORRIBLE.......... I'm not gonna mention names kuz I still know a few out there, but judging from a professional linguist point of view, those people really really are just a wast of money on Uncle Sam's dime........Plain and simple.

A fresh out of high school, privet or maybe PFC, who passes high enough on the DLAB gets to enroll for 1-2 year program at the DLI learning a new language, from scratch, and afterwords, you almost never use your language skills again for the entire first term, retests every 12 month (if lucky, or 6 month if you fail...)

Yeah....that's really not even a qualifying low level interpreter/translator by my standard.

 

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Nathan Mao

I think you are painting with an overly broad brush.

 

It is true that many linguists in the military let their general language skills slide, because the job doesn't require general language skills.

 

Interpreting isn't taught at all, so why should they be good at it?

 

But there are still many who work hard to maintain their general skills, and there are many native language speakers who are excellent linguists as well.

 

From a higher perspective, the military linguist system does an excellent job, with very little waste.  Most of the work can be done with marginal skills.  There is a need for greater skill, but not in large volumes.  So the military brings in many, uses them to do the bulk translations that don't require much expertise, and most realize they can't cut it and move on.  Those that remain either increase in skill for those less-common tasks, or move into supervising and editing, where you'd want people with enough experience/knowledge/skill to raise the b.s. flag.

 

You have no way of knowing beforehand which linguists will work out.  But you have to have a large number on the input side to get the smaller number of higher skilled individuals on the output side.  To the military's credit, they get a good deal of work out of those who can't hack it before they move on.

 

There are other approaches that might work as well, or better.  I don't know.  But this system accomplishes the requirements quite well, while retaining flexibility for surge expansion if necessary.

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yakherder

In regards to the choice of professions, I actually already spent 6 years in the Navy as an M brancher :)  Not related to language really, mostly just being an electronics nerd, but I saw enough to know it wasn't for me.  As much as I love languages, and as much as I'd like to use it in a relevant field, I'm also incredibly restless by nature and sitting indoors, in a building with no windows at that, is not my thing.  Neither converting to CTI nor staying CTM was what I wanted.  I moved to China for a few years and picked up Chinese after leaving the Navy and, ultimately, ended up returning to the Army instead, albeit on guard status instead of active duty.  I'm not even living in the U.S. at this point, but living and working in Canada and crossing the border every month for drill.

 

That said, I'm at something of a crossroads now.  I'm in an MOS that has absolutely nothing to do with language, and am reluctant to try to switch to 35p out of fear of ending up in a cubicle.  I don't want to sit and listen to intercepted communications all day, I want be on the field or interacting with people.  Ideal for me, if such a profession existed, would be that of an infantry interpreter or something lol...  Might even be worth returning to active duty if they'd create that MOS just for me :P  But yeah, for now my objective is to keep doing what I'm doing for the most part, but to get my languages on record just to have them there.

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Nathan Mao

You could look into Interrogator.  In the old Army MOS numbering system it was 97E.  But yeah, any 35P is going to be in windowless rooms for their entire career.

 

The Tactical Linguists (like Korean) do spend more of their time outdoors...but when they get down to work, they are still locked in a dark trailer with with headphones...

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brucehuang

Well, one thing I know for sure, is that if the military starts to take away FLPP (sometimes called FLPB), which they have been doing so, slowly, then there are no more motivation to take the DLPT for those who's not in a posiion that requires retesting.

 

I know at least the Navy is taking away a lot of its languages on the FLPP list...

 

Yeah......

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heifeng

Oh, I just saw this post. I actually took the computer DLPT-V at a MEPs center about 2 years ago and also scored a 3L+/3R , but I only took it once and for fun...b/c I do weird things like that. Actually I'm a civilian, but I am involved in a volunteer foreign language corp so I had to undergo this testing for a certain assignment.

 

I never did a thorough write up on it b/c I don't want to get in any sort of trouble about sharing information about the test (I have no idea how many versions there are...hmmm)...but I actually enjoyed this testing series b/c it was pretty interesting content-wise and challenging...once one gets past the beginner one ...well I guess the first test that rates 1-3 I mean (and then one can take the advance test).

 

Anyway, yep, you have to read both characters. I found the reading challenging but not impossible. I just just tend to read in somewhat limited material (crime, gossip, short stories) which hadn't exercised some of my neurons or critical thinking in a while. However, I figure that any non native Chinese speaker who has done a masters or research in Chinese, for example, the reading should be pretty straightforward on the advance exam (b/c YES, then that reaching into the various 'advanced professional proficiency levels'). I don't want to downplay my test taking experience, but I personally had no pressure to acheive a certain score b/c I just needed to pass a 3/3, so the 'opportunity' to take the advance one was our "reward" after completing our task. It is a LOOONG test though (literally hours upon hours of sitting down at a PC). I was a bit fatigued beforehand for the advanced exam, and if I really had to take it for a career move or pay I would have opted to take it a different day (they give that screen option to confirm you have not circumstances which prevent you from taking the test that day, right? otherwise can one not take it for another year or 6months?), but I concur it is much more challenging...especially as far as American Exams of Chinese go. (But not necessarily, let's say, the OLD HSK 11)

 

Also I had the opportunity to take the DLPT IV as well for a separate reason, and that was a joke in comparison....that was like an OLD HSK 5 MAX (which I have no idea what that means on the new scale...), but was like a friendly stroll in Chinatown level of difficulty.

 

Given your work experience & language skills you could consider being an FBI field agent if you haven't passed the age limit...

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obscuritea

Took this test recently, it was interesting to compare with the HSK. Earlier this year I passed the HSK 6 with okay, not great scores, and probably have not made any progress since taking the test, since I've been outside of China.

 

For listening- the audio is usually not as clear quality-wise as the HSK audio, but once you're past the beginner questions each one is repeated twice. Additionally, each passage, even at the higher level questions, only had like 2 questions max, which were all in English. Overall though I found the listening section harder than in the HSK since the passages were more realistic and the questions slightly more difficult. For reading, it was all just 1 or 2 questions for a paragraph or passage. What throws you for a loop is that there are traditional character passages thrown in- maybe making up about 20% of the questions? I feel like the subject matter covered was often more advanced than in the HSK too.

 

Overall, coming from an HSK 6 level, I found the listening portion straightforward and simple, and the reading, not overly challenging, but notably harder than the listening section- this was unexpected since my reading is typically stronger than my listening. I think the traditional characters were largely to blame though- so, if you're gonna be taking the DLPT definitely brush up on those!

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edelweis

@obscuritea: thanks for the report. Do you know your score ?

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obscuritea

@edelweis:

2+ on both reading and listening! 3 was the max. Wish I could have gotten more detailed feedback on my performance, but ah well! It was the DLPT-V I took by the way, not IV (since I didn't mention in my original post).

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edelweis

Thanks for the reply. And congratulations.

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歐博思

Any links to DLPT 5 practice tests?

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