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I was transferred by my company to Germany and had my diploma translated in German.

Among other things in the diploma transcription of records there is a bunch of disciplines without a clear ETSC mark but rather simply "passed". It was translated by the local certified translator as "Testat" and according to the official body this translation was submitted to, it's ok.

Am only starting to learn German but does the word "Testat" really means "passed" in this context? If so, then what would be the opposite, meaning "failed" (I mean, it's not possible to have "failed" in the diploma but still)?

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According to the Duden, "Testat" means "Bescheinigung" or "Beglaubigung", which would be certification or authentication in English. In that sense, translating "passed" as "Testat" can be interpreted as "this is a certification that the course has been passed". However, I have never seen it used like that and in my experience "Testat" is a rather uncommon word. But maybe it is used more often in administrative jargon. I am also not aware of a direct opposite for "Testat" in this sense.

In my opinion, the natural translation for "passed" would be either "bestanden" or "teilgenommen", where the second one literally just means "has participated", while "bestanden" applies more to an exam.

Usually, however, courses for which you do not get marks are certified as either "mit Erfolg teilgenommen" ("participated successfully") or "ohne Erfolg teilgenommen" ("participated but without success"; see, e.g., here). "Ohne Erfolg teilgenommen" would then be the opposite that you are looking for.

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    In fact, the only time I encountered "Testat", was during my studies at a German university, doing a lab class. For each experiment, we had to do a "Vortestat", which would consist in a short oral exam by supervisor to check that we understand the basics. The actual experiment and its evaluation were called "Haupttestat" and in the end we would get marks for both parts individually. So even in that instance, "Testat" did not stand for "passed" but just for a kind of test. – kof Mar 22 '17 at 12:40
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A Testat is more commonly called a Schein among university students. In German university, your study plan has mandatory courses but you may attend any course the university offers. For exams taken in the latter courses you don't get a grade but instead a Testat, which is a kind of certificate you passed the test.

You can do such exams (obviously) ad infinitum but most students will limit their efforts to the number of "Scheine" which are required by their study plan (usually from a wider selection of courses related to the plan.)

So, the translation is correct if your university gave you a certificate of the passed test instead of a grade. And there is no opposite, failed tests are simply not put into your Diploma sheet as they aren't required.

  • I have to disagree with the first paragraph; in my university time in the lab course any experiment could yield a Testat and the Schein required to have collected a Testat from all experiments of the semester. So in this case Testat was considerably less useful, since it did not persist the lab course and was completely informal (name sign on Testatskarte). – guidot Mar 22 '17 at 13:45
  • Dann wurde das Testat einfach nur in weitere Testate unterteilt. Das kenne ich aus Laborübungen auch. Es ist nicht unüblich. Wesentlich ist, dass man die einzelnen Übungen auch semesterübergreifend machen kann. Dass da nicht die einzelnen Testate auf dem Zeugnis stehen hat auch was mit Vergleichbarkeit zu tun. – Janka Mar 22 '17 at 15:06

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