Of all the online and offline methods for probing into the translation processes of student translators, written retrospective protocols are reportedly the earliest, most widely and easily administered didactic and assessment tool used in and outside classrooms. Despite their recorded advantages, a close examination of both English and Chinese literature reveals a plethora of approaches to their implementation. They differ with respect to factors that include, but are not limited to, the name, contents, nature and number of problems covered, writing guidelines, language of writing, time and frequency of writing, theoretical components, meta-language and theories used, assessors, assessment rubrics, provision and training, uses and follow-ups. Although these differences may be only a matter of trainers’ personal preferences that suit particular settings, they do have important didactic implications. This paper, therefore, sets out to capture such diversity, with a view to establishing a framework of reference to inform better use of this instrument of intervention in translator education.