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Home / Blog / Interpreting / The Benefits of the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification

How will this qualification benefit me?

The Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting is the entry level qualification for paid interpreters and is often a minimum requirement of interpreting clients (such as public services) and interpreting agencies (also known as Language Service Providers or LSPs) in the UK. It is a nationally recognised standard that allows you to interpret in community settings including:

• Health
• Mental Health
• Job centres / welfare
Social services
• Housing
• Immigration
Local government

You do not need to have studied any other interpreting qualifications to take the The Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting

The Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting is the minimum requirement to start getting paid work as an interpreter.

Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting.

Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting will allow you to demonstrate your competence in two modes of interpreting:

Consecutive interpreting: During consecutive interpreting, each participant in a conversation will take turns to speak, leaving a gap in the conversation for the dialogue to be interpreted into the other language.

Sight translation from English: A sight translation occurs when a document is presented to an interpreter in the source language (in this case, English) and they are asked to read it out in the target (non-English) language. This might occur when a doctor wants a patient who is a Limited English Speaker (LES) to understand a leaflet, but a copy in the patient’s first language (or mother tongue) is unavailable.

Level 3 also requires that you demonstrate competence with terminology from one or more of the areas of specialism mentioned above, for example medical or welfare.


The Learn Q Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting is one of the most affordable on the market, mainly due to our unique approach and our commitment to providing great value to all of our students.

The majority of other Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting qualifications require you to complete written essay assessments/exams plus practical assessments/exams. Written essays are expensive to mark and time consuming to write, which makes any qualification that requires written essays expensive.

Because our students only have to pass a practical assessment/exam it means we save a lot of money, and we pass those savings on to our students.

To make our qualifications even more affordable, we also offer a variety of bundles and payment options. The most cost-effective option is one of our bundles – they include the course, exam and certificate and prices start at just £544 for the ‘Essentials’ bundle with one attempt at the final exam, and £600 for the ‘Ultimate’ bundle that includes two attempts at the exam.

Both of these bundles can be bought by paying in full, or by interest-free instalments (meaning the total amount you pay is the same). Instalments start at just £68 per month for 8 months, but you can also choose to pay in less than 8 instalments if you prefer.

Build up your confidence

The Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting includes a number of different resources that can help you to build up your confidence.

Each of the webinar’s has an accompanying workbook which is designed to be completed by the student while the webinar is in progress. It focuses on the key learning points from each of the lessons and is useful as an aide to increase memory retention and to look back on as a reminder.

In addition, each of the webinars has several optional activities, exercises and assignments that are designed to help students build their interpreting knowledge and skills. The activities can be completed in the student’s own time and repeated as often as is necessary.

Completing the webinars and the associated activities will increase the knowledge and skill of students, and this will naturally lead to an increase in confidence!

At Learn Q, we actively encourage students to form partnerships with other students so that they can practice interpreting skills together. This kind of practice is extremely useful in building confidence and using essential skills.

There are a number of other resources available from Learn Q which are also designed to help build confidence and prepare students for the exam and becoming a professional interpreter. These resources include past papers, glossaries, videos and additional webinars.

Employability and career progression

If you want to find work as an interpreter, one of the simplest routes is to search for and register for Language Service Providers. Language Service Providers, or LSPs, are essentially interpreting agencies which connect clients who need interpreters with an interpreter. Normally, an LSP will have a ‘pool’ of registered interpreters working with them in multiple languages. When a client needs to request an interpreter, e.g., a hospital, they will get in touch with the LSP. The LSP will send the job out to interpreters with the appropriate language combination registered with them and then they will book one of those interpreters.

LSPs hold many major interpreting contracts, so in many cases with public services the only way to pick up work with these services is through LSPs. This includes hospitals, medical centers, the Department of Work and Pensions, Job Centres, Social Services, immigration, housing and charities.

For career progression, many interpreters have no desire to progress beyond a Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting. There is plenty of satisfying, paid work available at this level and compared to interpreting at higher levels it can be much less stressful. If you do wish to progress to a higher level, the next recommended step is the Level 6 Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI). Level 6 enables interpreters to work with the courts, police, prisons and immigration.

To be successful at Level 6, interpreters need to be competent at consecutive interpreting and sight translation from English, but they also need to demonstrate competence in some more difficult skills:

Simultaneous interpreting: Simultaneous interpreting is one of the most difficult skills Level 6 interpreters need and occurs when an interpreter interprets a conversation at the same time as the speaker is talking in the source language.

Sight translation to English: the same as sight translation from English, but from a non-English text.

Written translation to and from English: very different skills are needed for written translation and learning to be a translator can be as time consuming as learning to be an interpreter, if not more so. These are where you will need to work from a written document and translate it accurately into the other language.

In addition to these skills, Level 6 interpreters must also become proficient in legal specialisms in both of their languages, which can take considerable time and effort.

Due to its difficulty, cost (£1200+), time demands (6-12 months) and low pass rate, we would not advise any interpreter to attempt the Level 6 DPSI until they have first achieved a  Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting and had at least 2 years of professional interpreting experience.

Expand your knowledge

Even someone who is highly proficient in a language will not always know a wide range of terms relating to the specialisms in their work. This means that interpreters on the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting qualification often need to expand their vocabulary in all of their languages to provide a high-quality service.

Throughout the  Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting course, Learn Q provide advice and exercises designed to help students increase their knowledge of specialist vocabulary and terminology so that they can be successful in the exam, and in their interpreting career.

In addition to expanding their language knowledge, students on the  Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting course will also need to learn about interpreting skills, codes of conduct, and professional behaviors. The amount of knowledge that the successful student will obtain over the period of the course is impressive and often life-changing.

Knowledge expansion does not end when a student passes their exam. Interpreting can be likened more to a vocation or an art form then simply a job and the most successful interpreters never stop learning. If you think about the number of different conversations that take place in medical centers, local government and job centres alone, there is a huge amount to learn. The ever changing nature of these specialisms means interpreters need to constantly update their knowledge and glossaries.


Learn Q offer an unrivalled degree of flexibility in terms of payment options, studying and timescales.

There are numerous payment options available to students including interest free installments and the option to pay by credit or debit card. Students have two options to study the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting:

Option 1: As soon as a student signs up, they have immediate access 2 recordings of all seven webinars in the course. These recordings are available online and can be accessed 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, 365 days-a-year, from anywhere in the world providing there is a reasonable internet connection. Students can work through these comprehensive recordings in their own time, meaning they can prepare for the exam in a time scale the suits them.

Option 2: All students are also invited to attend live, tutor-lead webinars with the other members of the class. The webinars are interactive, with a highly skilled qualified and knowledgeable tutor asking questions of the class, encouraging participation in exercises and inviting questions throughout.

Students can complete the qualification as quickly as they wish. To be successful on the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting, students will need to dedicate 60 to 80 hours of study time. The average completion time is between 10 and 16 weeks, however, it is possible to complete the course in as little as three to four weeks.

After students have completed all the webinars, they book the exam at their convenience and can revisit the materials as many times as they wish.

Good Salary and a flexible vocation

The pay rates for interpreters vary depending on a number of factors including how the interpreting services are provided, the language combination, the specialisms in which the interpreter works and the location where the services are provided.

As a basic guide, interpreting rates usually range from around £15 per hour up to as much as £70 or £80 pounds per hour. In certain circumstances, rates can be even higher. If an interpreter works full time this means the salaries can range from £30,000 per year upward.

Another advantage to being interpreter is that you are self employed, meaning that it is down to the individual to decide how often they wish to work. This means that interpreting as a career is flexible and can fit around other responsibilities such as family or even other occupations.

There are a number of ways to provide professional interpreting services including face to face, telephone interpreting, and video remote interpreting. In terms of telephone interpreting and video remote interpreting, these can both be completed from the interpreter’s own home meaning that there is no need to travel to work.

The Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting is the minimum requirement to start getting paid work as an interpreter. Levels 1 or 2 are mainly for voluntary work and only include the consecutive interpreting skill so the amount of paid work available at these levels are severely limited. All of the content from Level 1 and 2 are already included at Level 3, so you will not miss anything by starting with the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting.

Hands-on knowledge

Interpreting is a practical skill. To successfully pass the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting exam, students need to demonstrate practical competence as an interpreter. This means that as they progress through the course, Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting students are encouraged to practice hands-on skills such as consecutive interpreting and sight translation. The activities provided for students allow them to develop these skills on their own, and also provide guidance on how to develop skills with friends, family members, and other students.

There are two parts to the exam:

Part 1 is consecutive interpreting. Students interpret a conversation between a doctor and a patient.

Part 2 is sight translation. Students are provided a text in English of around 250 words, they read through it first and then they read it out loud in their other language – like they were reading it for someone who couldn’t read the English version themselves.

That’s it – no questions, no essays, no writing. Just the practical!

Job security

In the modern world no job could be described as entirely secure. However, in the UK it is very unlikely that interpreting will not continue to be an essential service. The UK is one of the most multinational, multilingual locations in the world and this shows no signs of changing. Wherever there is a large population of people who do not speak the indigenous language, there will be a requirement for interpreters.

National spend on interpreting in the UK, which is estimated at over £200million per year, is growing, and this is another trend that looks like it will continue. For example, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust alone spent almost £200,000 on interpreting and translation services in 2019/20.

This means interpreters who provide a high-quality service will always be in demand, and the large number of public services in the UK, plus the number of LSPs mean that there will always be work available for interpreters. As mentioned, the majority of interpreters work self-employed so job security is in their own hands.

Professional qualification

The Learn Q Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting is a Nationally accredited, government approved qualification regulated by Ofqual.

Ofqual are the independent qualifications regulator for England and regulate qualifications to ensure that they are valid and trustworthy. They make clear and considered judgements for the benefit of those who study, and rely on, regulated qualifications.

While there isn’t such a thing as an ‘international qualification’. UK qualifications are highly respected around the world. Learn Q work with highly respected Awarding Organisations such as Gatehouse Awards, who work closely with schools, colleges, employers, and industry-representatives to develop and offer innovative and creative qualifications across the UK and abroad.

We specialise in ensuring our students get brilliant results in the minimum amount of time. This is why Learn Q are renowned for Quality Qualifications, Quickly.

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Although not always a requirement, usually you need a minimum qualifications to become an Interpreter. You would need to hold a minimum of a Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting (at least 60 hours of learning, and a recommended minimum of 15 credits). Experience is not always necessary, but also a bonus. Usually, interpreters are aged 18 or above.

The course takes place over 7 webinars, with each webinar lasting 2 hours.

If you join the live sessions, these take place over 7 weeks (one webinar per week). If you prefer, you can watch recorded versions of the webinars which are available any time you want them, so that means you can compete the course in your own time.

This means you can complete the course much quicker or slower depending on your preference.

After the course, if you want to take the exam it is up to you when you book – you can book immediately or leave it until you have had more chance to revise.

Level 3 is the entry level qualification for paid interpreters and is often a minimum requirement of interpreting agencies in the UK. It allows you to interpret in community settings including:

· Health
· Mental Health
· Job centres / welfare
· Social services
· Housing
· Education
· Immigration
· Local government

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