Transcript or list of marks at UK secondary schools?

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LeRenardReynaerde

Senior Member
Dutch - The Netherlands
Hello everybody,

I am working on a translation of a secondary school diploma and the heading of the page with the list of subjects and marks is causing me some trouble. Would this be called a list of marks or a transcript in the United Kingdom, or something entirely different?

I have checked three English dictionaries for transcript in the sense of a list of subjects taken and their marks: one mentions it's US English, the second does not mention it is specifically US English and the third does not mention this meaning all together.
When I Google for "transcript secondary school" I indeed find website about (American) high school transcripts and questions about (American) university applications. "List of marks secondary school" only yielded one relevant website with the intended meaning.

I would like to ask the Brits out there what a list of subjects taken and their marks at grammar school is called, or any kind of secondary school in the UK for that matter.

Many thanks in advance.

PS: I checked some other threads about transcripts, but those were clearly US-orientated and I need to know the UK equivalent (if any).
 
  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I'm wondering what is mean by a secondary school 'diploma'. If this has to do with either of the two sets of public exams one at 16 the other at 18, it would be called a 'certificate'.
    Is there really no title on the document?
     

    LeRenardReynaerde

    Senior Member
    Dutch - The Netherlands
    Sorry for the terminological mix-up!

    I do mean a 'certificate' awarded to pupils in the age bracket 16-18 who have sat and passed the final public exams.
    Since the subjects and marks are listed on a separate page, the term 'title' would be more appropriate. (The first page mentions who passed at which school and the second page mentions the subjects and marks of the final exams.)

    Would such a list be called a transcript or something else in the UK?
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I would imagine that in the UK context, people would mainly be talking about their GCSE (or previously, O level or CSE; in Scotland, O grade) certificates; or their A level (in Scotland, Higher) certificate. The certificates would list the subjects and the subject grades but not marks.

    This will also be true of most parts of the Commonwealth, where there are public exams for 16-year-olds and 18-year-olds, though the exams may go by different names.
     
    Last edited:

    By-the-sea

    Member
    English - Scotland
    In my experience these things are quite culturally specific. Some countries have what I would definitely call transcripts. What happens in the various parts of the UK tends to differ quite substantially from other countries - partly because we sit individual subjects. To my knowledge the various parts of the UK only issue certificates.

    I would guess your job is to reflect the original as closely as possibly and in a way that is understandable to the target reader. I would probably either go for list of subjects and marks (if that is all it is) or transcript. But I would only use transcript if it really is a transcript. Usually a transcript has to include dates of study and details of the institution.

    Others may disagree...
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    A little simplified perhaps but:

    In the UK there are nationwide exams and the record from a pupil’s performnce in school is determined by those exam results, not by how they performed during their overall schooling.
    GCSE certificate example
    That is something that does not exist in the US

    In the US, a school keeps track of a student’s progress over time and documents results for each year.
    High school transcript example
    That is something that does not (publicly) exist in the UK.

    These are quite different aproaches to determining/documenting their education status, so there is no “simple” translation.

    Check the examples above and it should be easy to determine if your document is a transcript of data from several years or a GCSE certiificate from the exams from one year.
     
    Last edited:

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Just another thought. It is also possible to see the school report or report card or report book. This will include results for school exams (often including both the mark and the grade), attendance records, teachers' comments (possibly also the head's comments), possibly also information about extra-curricular activities.
     

    LeRenardReynaerde

    Senior Member
    Dutch - The Netherlands
    Thank you all for your helpful comments and interesting suggestions!

    Looking at the certificate I am dealing with, it would make more sense to call it a transcript: it features details of the student and the school as well as the average results of the school exams and of the national final exams (comparable to the GCSE).
    As By-the-sea mentioned correctly, I have to translate as closely as possible and this seems to be most true to the original.
     
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