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Interpreting FAQs

No. While the DPSI will be more than sufficient for you to work with the NHS, most of the interpreting work available with the NHS can be accessed by interpreters who hold the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting. 

Strictly speaking, translators deal with the written word and would normally require a Degree in translation, or a minimum Level 6 or above equivalent (such as a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans)), plus relevant experience.

You can also become a NHS interpreter, providing services in the spoken word and interpreting conversations between doctors and patients. The requirements to become an NHS interpreter are usually 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. 

 

The minimum qualification for telephone interpreters should be a National Vocational Qualification Level 6 with a health element. Translation of documents can include the reading to the patient of a letter (or source of information) into the language required by the patient – known as sight translation.

 

As an interpreter, you have the responsibility to accurately convey what two parties are saying and the outcome could affect whether someone gets the right financial, emotional or physical support that they desperately need to enjoy their life. Due to this, interpreters often find themselves in highly emotional and stressful situations and have to maintain professionalism and remain impartial whilst thinking and speaking in two different languages.

Although not always a requirement, usually you need a minimum qualification to become an Interpreter which tends to be the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification.

Be 18 years or older.

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.

To work as a translator (working with the written word), you would often require a university bachelor’s degree in translation or an equivalent such as a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) provided by The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL). However, even those with a degree can struggle to find work as the industry is highly competitive and many commercial translation companies value experience over qualifications as they will often do their own internal translation tests to assess translator suitability. 

Attaining experience, with or without a qualification, can be tough and often translators start by doing voluntary free work, for example for charities. It can help to take Continual Professional Development (CPD) courses, take any paid work you can find, advertise through your LinkedIn profile or via forums and job boards such as Proz.com or translatorscafe. 

Becoming an interpreter (working with the spoken word) can be easier, as you only require a Level 3 Certificate and the Learn Q Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification is a lower-level qualification than a degree meaning it is not as difficult. After you have your certificate, you can apply for jobs with Language Service Providers.

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

In the UK, legally, anybody can self-certify a translation that they have completed. However, the majority of official bodies who require translations such as the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice we’ll only accept translations that have been completed by a qualified translator who is also a member of a recognised professional body for translators. Recognised professional bodies include the institute of translation and the Chartered Institute of linguists.

Interpreters convey language orally, while translators convey language in writing. 

Although language ability is a common skill needed in both roles, the skills needed for the two roles are often quite different. To be a translator you would need to be proficient in reading comprehension, transfer and target language productions skills, along with needing to be able to work efficiently with Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tools, while interpreters need excellent listening skills, a high level of spoken ability, clear pronunciation in both languages, an excellent memory and the ability to think and speak in two languages at the same time.

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

The majority of translators work from home as they are freelance and therefore self-employed, although companies that have a high demand for translation into certain languages may employ a number of ‘in-house’ translators. Often translators work in isolation and work at home so it can be quite lonely, and a lot of commercial translation can be relatively dull (such as translating a manual for a mobile phone) so many translators have to enjoy that kind of work to enjoy their role. That said, it can be tremendously rewarding both financially and with the work undertaken. Some translators do get to work on quite exciting topics and may even get to travel to a number of places as part of their role so again it can depend on what work you manage to find.

Demand for translators (written word) and interpreters (spoken word) depends on a number of factors including level of ability, specialism, language combination and experience. If you work in a language combination that has a lot of competition, such as Polish or French and you are working on a lower level specialism, such as job centre work, it can be difficult to find work and even if you find it the rates may be relatively low. On the other hand, if there is not a lot of competition for your language combination (e.g. English – Vietnamese) and you are proficient in a complex specialism such as law then the rates can be very high and the work plentiful. In other cases, for languages that do not have much demand the hourly rates may be very high, but there may not be very much work available meaning the annual rates are still quite low.

Interpreting and translation demand varies constantly based on supply and demand.

Payment rates can depend on a number of factors including your level of ability, specialism, language combination and experience. If you work in a language combination that has a lot of competition, such as Polish or French and you are working on a lower level specialism, such as job centre work, it can be difficult to find work and even if you find it the rates may be relatively low. On the other hand, if there is not a lot of competition for your language combination (e.g. English – Vietnamese) and you are proficient in a complex specialism such as law then the rates can be very high and the work plentiful. In other cases, for languages that do not have much demand the hourly rates may be very high, but there may not be very much work available meaning the annual rates are still quite low.

Interpreting rates vary constantly based on supply and demand.

Payment rates can depend on a number of factors including your level of ability, specialism, language combination and experience. If you work in a language combination that has a lot of competition, such as Polish or French and you are working on a lower level specialism, such as job centre work, it can be difficult to find work and even if you find it the rates may be relatively low. On the other hand, if there is not a lot of competition for your language combination (e.g. English – Vietnamese) and you are proficient in a complex specialism such as law then the rates can be very high and the work plentiful. In other cases, for languages that do not have much demand the hourly rates may be very high, but there may not be very much work available meaning the annual rates are still quite low.

Interpreting rates vary constantly based on supply and demand.

Face to face interpreting occurs in a specific location, often a public service location (for instance, a hospital or court), a home or within a business’ premises. The client/ Service Provider (doctor or police officer), the Limited English Speaker(s) (LES) / Service User and the interpreter are all present in the same location. F2F interpreting can be either consecutive or carried out via the following: 

 

Telephone interpreting is completed remotely with the interpreter joining a conversation via a telephone. Often the client and LES are together in a physical location (e.g., a hospital or Job Centre) while the interpreter is at home, or in a call centre. Telephone interpreting is always consecutive (see below).

 

Video remote interpreting is also completed remotely with the interpreter joining the conversation via a secure Internet video link. In most cases the client and LES are in the same location (e.g., a police station) and the interpreter joins either from home, or from a centralised client or LSP location specifically for that purpose.

When people ask about interpreting ‘types’ they may actually mean interpreting ‘modes’. There are several modes of Interpreting that the interpreter may master for use in different situations. The more modes an interpreter is competent in, the greater the variety of assignment they can complete. If you wish to acquire an interpreting qualification, the higher the level you choose, the more modes you will have to demonstrate.

The first mode that interpreters generally learn is consecutive interpreting. This is required for nearly all interpreting assignments. 

Next is sight translation from English, which is the next most common.

Sight translation to English is often the next skill learned.

Simultaneous interpreting is one of the most difficult skills to learn and is often used in specific locations, such as a courtroom, during a conference, or in mental health interpreting assignments.

Finally, written translation to and from English, is most often used in court assignments. While strictly speaking this is translation and not interpreting, it is a skill that certain interpreters need to use.

It is possible to be both an interpreter and translator, but although the two roles have similarities they are also very different and require different skills and abilities, so it is rare to find those who work in both disciplines. 

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

Face to face interpreting occurs in a specific location, often a public service location (for instance, a hospital or court), a home or within a business’ premises. The client/ Service Provider (doctor or police officer), the Limited English Speaker(s) (LES) / Service User and the interpreter are all present in the same location. F2F interpreting can be either consecutive or carried out via the following: 

Telephone interpreting is completed remotely with the interpreter joining a conversation via a telephone. Often the client and LES are together in a physical location (e.g., a hospital or Job Centre) while the interpreter is at home, or in a call centre. Telephone interpreting is always consecutive (see below).

Video remote interpreting is also completed remotely with the interpreter joining the conversation via a secure Internet video link. In most cases the client and LES are in the same location (e.g., a police station) and the interpreter joins either from home, or from a centralised client or LSP location specifically for that purpose.

When people ask about interpreting ‘types’ they may actually mean interpreting ‘modes’. There are several modes of Interpreting that the interpreter may master for use in different situations. The more modes an interpreter is competent in, the greater the variety of assignment they can complete. If you wish to acquire an interpreting qualification, the higher the level you choose, the more modes you will have to demonstrate.

The first mode that interpreters generally learn is consecutive interpreting. This is required for nearly all interpreting assignments. 

Next is sight translation from English, which is the next most common.

Sight translation to English is often the next skill learned.

Simultaneous interpreting is one of the most difficult skills to learn and is often used in specific locations, such as a courtroom, during a conference, or in mental health interpreting assignments.

Finally, written translation to and from English, is most often used in court assignments. While strictly speaking this is translation and not interpreting, it is a skill that certain interpreters need to use.

There are a large number of interpreters working in the UK and the demand does not show any signs of letting up. Interpreting can be a competitive industry and many interpreters work freelance, so generally the most successful interpreters are those who are willing to work hard, aim to be as professional as possible and develop a good reputation. 

The DPSI is a degree equivalent qualification that is seen as the ‘gold’ standard for interpreters. It has a very low pass rate even for experienced interpreters so at Learn Q we wouldn’t recommend even attempting it without a minimum of a Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting and 2 years professional interpreting experience, otherwise you would probably spend 12 months and £1000 or more working toward an exam that you are likely to fail. To be successful at the DPSI, we recommend you study the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting, gain 2 years work experience and then if you still wish to obtain this qualification to take a thorough course, practice your skills daily and then attempt the DPSI. Realistically the journey is likely to take 4 or more years and some never make it.

Although the levels are not precisely aligned, a level 3 certificate, such as the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification is equivalent to a GCSE at grade A-C. These are vocational qualifications, meaning they are designed for use in one or more work roles.

A Level 4 is equivalent to an A level, Level 5 is equivalent to a foundation degree and Level 6 is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree.

A level 3 certificate, such as the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification is equivalent to a GCSE at grade A-C. These are vocational qualifications, meaning they are designed for use in one or more work roles.

Unfortunately, as a privately run (non-Government) organisation we do not have any access to direct funding, but you can spread the cost with interest free instalments starting at just £68 per month.

Alternatively, if you claim benefits such as Universal Credit, you might get help from your work coach at the Job Centre. The Job Centre have access to funding through the ‘Low Value Procurement’ scheme, which forms part of the ‘Flexible Support Fund’.  It does depend on individual circumstances, but it is definitely worth asking and naming our Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification. If you send an email request to admin@learnq.co.uk we will send you an email about the course that you can show to the Job Centre that can help you to secure funding.

Translation is the rendering of the written word from one language to another. Rates for translators vary depending on the client, the language combination and the specialism of the text that is being translated. Usually for commercial translation the payment is per word and translators use Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tools to help promote translation quality, efficiency and consistency. Translators typically earn around £30 per hour translating for the NHS and other clients.

Interpreters, on the other hand, render the spoken word between languages. Again, interpreting rates will vary depending on the client, the language combination and the specialism but interpreters can expect to earn around £15 interpreting for NHS clients.

If you want to become an interpreter, you should start out by studying the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification.

The aim of community interpreting is to ensure people who do not speak English as their first language have equal access to public services in the UK. Community interpreters provide services to a range of different public services including hospitals, job centers, schools, social services, local government, immigration and many more. In the majority of cases, to provide professional community interpreting services, interpreters must hold a minimum of Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification

It can depend on what type of work you undertake. Face to Face interpreting does require travel, albeit mostly local as you will travel between the different locations where interpreting services are needed, such as medical centres and government offices. On some occasions you may get a number of assignments in one location, on other occasions you will need to travel for each assignment. Occasionally you may also get the opportunity to travel further and some interpreters even travel internationally for certain clients.

Telephone interpreting (TI), also known as Over the Phone (OTP) interpreting) does not require any travel, as it can be conducted from your home providing you have a reliable phone line.

Some Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) can be conducted from home, provided you have a reliable, modern internet connection but in other cases VRI may also require the interpreter to travel to a client location and conduct the VRI session from there (usually due to security requirements e.g. prison interpreting)

Remuneration for travel time varies depending on the terms and conditions of the different Language Service Providers (LSPs) and the particular clients. 

To work as a translator (working with the written word), you would often require a university Bachelor’s Degree in translation or an equivalent such as a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans). However, even those with a degree can struggle to find work as the industry is highly competitive and many commercial translation companies value experience over qualifications as they will often do their own internal translation tests to assess translator suitability. 

Attaining experience, with or without a qualification, can be tough and often translators start by doing voluntary free work, for example for charities. It can help to take Continual Professional Development (CPD) courses, take any paid work you can find, advertise through your LinkedIn profile or via forums and jobboards such as Proz.com or translatorscafe. 

Becoming an interpreter (working with the spoken word) can be easier, as you only require a Level 3 Certificate and the LearnQ Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting and is a lower level qualification than a degree meaning it is not as difficult. After you have your certificate you can apply for jobs with Language Service Providers.

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

To work as a translator (working with the written word), you would often require a university Bachelor’s Degree in translation or an equivalent such as a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans). However, even those with a degree can struggle to find work as the industry is highly competitive and many commercial translation companies value experience over qualifications as they will often do their own internal translation tests to assess translator suitability. 

Attaining experience, with or without a qualification, can be tough and often translators start by doing voluntary free work, for example for charities. It can help to take Continual Professional Development (CPD) courses, take any paid work you can find, advertise through your LinkedIn profile or via forums and jobboards such as Proz.com or translatorscafe. 

Becoming an interpreter (working with the spoken word) can be easier, as you only require a Level 3 Certificate and the LearnQ Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting and is a lower level qualification than a degree meaning it is not as difficult. After you have your certificate you can apply for jobs with Language Service Providers.

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

To work as a translator (working with the written word), you would often require a university Bachelor’s Degree in translation or an equivalent such as a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans). However, even those with a degree can struggle to find work as the industry is highly competitive and many commercial translation companies value experience over qualifications as they will often do their own internal translation tests to assess translator suitability. 

Attaining experience, with or without a qualification, can be tough and often translators start by doing voluntary free work, for example for charities. It can help to take Continual Professional Development (CPD) courses, take any paid work you can find, advertise through your LinkedIn profile or via forums and jobboards such as Proz.com or translatorscafe. 

Becoming an interpreter (working with the spoken word) can be easier, as you only require a Level 3 Certificate and the LearnQ Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting and is a lower level qualification than a degree meaning it is not as difficult. After you have your certificate you can apply for jobs with Language Service Providers.

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

Like with many roles, often whether translation is a good career can depend on a number of factors including your level of ability, specialism, language combination and experience. If you work in a language combination that has a lot of competition, such as Polish or French and you are working on ‘general’ translations it can be difficult to find work and even if you find it the rates may be relatively low. On the other hand, if there is not a lot of competition for your language combination (e.g. English – Vietnamese) and you are proficient in a complex specialism such as aerospace or law then the rates can be very high and the work plentiful. Often translators work in isolation and work at home so it can be quite lonely, and a lot of commercial translation can be relatively dull (such as translating a manual for a mobile phone) so many translators have to enjoy that kind of work to enjoy their role. That said, it can be tremendously rewarding both financially and with the work undertaken. Some translators do get to work on quite exciting topics and may even get to travel to a number of places as part of their role so again it can depend on what work you manage to find.

To work as a translator (working with the written word), you would often require a university bachelor’s degree in translation or an equivalent such as a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) provided by The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL). However, even those with a degree can struggle to find work as the industry is highly competitive and many commercial translation companies value experience over qualifications as they will often do their own internal translation tests to assess translator suitability. 

Attaining experience, with or without a qualification, can be tough and often translators start by doing voluntary free work, for example for charities. It can help to take Continual Professional Development (CPD) courses, take any paid work you can find, advertise through your LinkedIn profile or via forums and job boards such as Proz.com or translatorscafe. 

Becoming an interpreter (working with the spoken word) can be easier, as you only require a Level 3 Certificate and the Learn Q Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification is a lower-level qualification than a degree meaning it is not as difficult. After you have your certificate, you can apply for jobs with Language Service Providers.

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

Although not always a requirement, usually you need a minimum qualification to become an Interpreter. The most popular is the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification.

Be 18 years or older.

Hold a minimum of a Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification (at least 60 hours of learning, and a recommended minimum of 15 credits).

Experience is not always necessary, but also a bonus.

To work as a translator (working with the written word), you would often require a university bachelor’s degree in translation or an equivalent such as a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) provided by The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL). However, even those with a degree can struggle to find work as the industry is highly competitive and many commercial translation companies value experience over qualifications as they will often do their own internal translation tests to assess translator suitability. 

Attaining experience, with or without a qualification, can be tough and often translators start by doing voluntary free work, for example for charities. It can help to take Continual Professional Development (CPD) courses, take any paid work you can find, advertise through your LinkedIn profile or via forums and job boards such as Proz.com or translatorscafe. 

Becoming an interpreter (working with the spoken word) can be easier, as you only require a Level 3 Certificate and the Learn Q Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification is a lower-level qualification than a degree meaning it is not as difficult. After you have your certificate, you can apply for jobs with Language Service Providers.

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

Anything from 1-5 years. To work as a translator (working with the written word), you would often require a university bachelor’s degree in translation or an equivalent such as a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) provided by The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL). However, even those with a degree can struggle to find work as the industry is highly competitive and many commercial translation companies value experience over qualifications as they will often do their own internal translation tests to assess translator suitability. 

Attaining experience, with or without a qualification, can be tough and often translators start by doing voluntary free work, for example for charities. It can help to take Continual Professional Development (CPD) courses, take any paid work you can find, advertise through your LinkedIn profile or via forums and job boards such as Proz.com or translatorscafe. 

Becoming an interpreter (working with the spoken word) can be easier, as you only require a Level 3 Certificate and the Learn Q Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification is a lower-level qualification than a degree meaning it is not as difficult. After you have your certificate, you can apply for jobs with Language Service Providers.

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

When people think of United Nations (UN) translators, often they are picturing the large round room, packed with delegates listening to a speech. This is actually called ‘interpreting’, which is rendering the spoken word into another language. Very few professional interpreters get to work with the UN. Those that do are often highly qualified, with a minimum Level 6 Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) or equivalent (such as a university degree which includes an interpreting specialism), are fluent in a minimum of 3 languages and highly experienced. This means if you wish to become a UN interpreter you will need to work very hard. 

Although it is tough, it is not an impossible dream. The starting point is to become qualified (usually with a Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting), gain a minimum of 2 years’ professional interpreting experience, then become qualified as a Level 6 interpreter (taking around 12 months), and from there it is possible to build up experience in public service interpreting, private interpreting (directly for companies) and you may achieve your goal within 5-10 years of starting out.

If you do mean you wish to become a translator (rendering the written word) that is also a challenge. You would generally need a first-level degree (Level 6 or above) from a university or institution of equivalent status plus a minimum of two years’ translation experience in relevant specialisms (including technical, political, scientific, social, economic and legal). As with interpreters, UN translators need to have a perfect command of one ‘official’ UN language, plus an excellent command of at least two others (one of which must be French), as tested by a relevant UN examination. Successful applicants then undergo 6 months to 2 years training at UN headquarters, before a potential transfer to one of the UN duty stations.

Interpreters convey language orally, while translators convey language in writing. 

Although language ability is a common skill needed in both roles, the skills needed for the two roles are often quite different. To be a translator you would need to be proficient in reading comprehension, transfer and target language productions skills, along with needing to be able to work efficiently with Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tools, while interpreters need excellent listening skills, a high level of spoken ability, clear pronunciation in both languages, an excellent memory and the ability to think and speak in two languages at the same time.

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

To work as a translator (working with the written word), you would often require a university bachelor’s degree in translation or an equivalent such as a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) provided by The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL). However, even those with a degree can struggle to find work as the industry is highly competitive and many commercial translation companies value experience over qualifications as they will often do their own internal translation tests to assess translator suitability. 

Attaining experience, with or without a qualification, can be tough and often translators start by doing voluntary free work, for example for charities. It can help to take Continual Professional Development (CPD) courses, take any paid work you can find, advertise through your LinkedIn profile or via forums and job boards such as Proz.com or translatorscafe. 

Becoming an interpreter (working with the spoken word) can be easier, as you only require a Level 3 Certificate and the Learn Q Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification is a lower-level qualification than a degree meaning it is not as difficult. After you have your certificate, you can apply for jobs with Language Service Providers.

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

An interpreter who holds a Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification can expect to make an average of £14.55 per hour (£28,000 per year based on a 37 hour week). 

If you have a Level 6 Diploma in Public Service interpreting (DPSI) you could get rates of up to £36 per hour or more for some clients, such as legal clients, but this is not always the case. If, for example, an NHS client is paying £15 per hour the rate will be the same regardless of qualification level. Rates of pay can also depend on the language combination with ‘rare’ languages (languages with a low number of qualified interpreters) commanding higher rates. 

Although not always a requirement, usually you need a minimum qualification to become an Interpreter which tends to be the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting.

Be 18 years or older.

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.

If you want to become an interpreter, you should start out by studying the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification.

On average, a Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting involves 60-80 hours of learning and can be completed between 6 months and a year. The Learn Q Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification is a practical Level 3 and certification is based wholly on your abilities as an interpreter, which you demonstrate in a practical exam. Because there is no requirement for writing and rewriting multiple essays, the average time taken to achieve our qualification is 10-16 weeks, but ultimately that is up to because you would book the exam when you feel ready.  Some learners complete the course quicker or slower depending on their personal circumstances, their prior experience and learning and how much time they have to dedicate to the course.

Strictly speaking, translators deal with the written word and would normally require a Degree in translation, or a minimum Level 6 or above equivalent (such as a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans)), plus relevant experience.

 

You can also become a NHS interpreter, providing services in the spoken word and interpreting conversations between doctors and patients. The requirements to become an NHS interpreter are usually a minimum of a Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification (at least 60 hours of learning, and a recommended minimum of 15 credits). 

 

Experience is not always necessary, but also a bonus. 

Although not always a requirement, usually you need a minimum qualification to become an Interpreter which tends to be the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting.

Be 18 years or older.

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.

If you want to become an interpreter, you should start out by studying the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification.

The aim of community interpreting is to ensure people who do not speak English as their first language have equal access to public services in the UK. Community interpreters provide services to a range of different public services including hospitals, job centers, schools, social services, housing, local government, immigration and many more. In the majority of cases, to provide professional community interpreting services, interpreters must hold a minimum of Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification

There are 2 main levels of qualification for paid interpreters, Level 3 and Level 6. 

 

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 like hospitals, job centres, social services, housing and local government.

 

To be successful at Level 3, interpreters need to be competent at consecutive interpreting and sight translation from English

 

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 and simultaneous interpreting, sight translation to and from English and in some cases, written translation to and from English. It is a very difficult qualification and not recommended for beginners.

 

Levels 1 and 2 also exist but they are aimed at voluntary (unpaid) interpreters.

 

If you want to become an interpreter, you should start out by studying the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification.

To work as a translator (working with the written word), you would often require a university bachelor’s degree in translation or an equivalent such as a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) provided by The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL). However, even those with a degree can struggle to find work as the industry is highly competitive and many commercial translation companies value experience over qualifications as they will often do their own internal translation tests to assess translator suitability. 

Attaining experience, with or without a qualification, can be tough and often translators start by doing voluntary free work, for example for charities. It can help to take Continual Professional Development (CPD) courses, take any paid work you can find, advertise through your LinkedIn profile or via forums and job boards such as Proz.com or translatorscafe. 

Becoming an interpreter (working with the spoken word) can be easier, as you only require a Level 3 Certificate and the Learn Q Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification is a lower-level qualification than a degree meaning it is not as difficult. After you have your certificate, you can apply for jobs with Language Service Providers.

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

A level 3 certificate, such as the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification is equivalent to a GCSE at grade A-C

An interpreter facilitates a conversation between two people who do not speak the same language (e.g. English and Polish) usually in a public service setting such as health, welfare, social services, housing, education, immigration or law.

The speakers take turns to speak with the interpreter interpreting the conversation in between. They also sometimes provide sight translation services where they read out literature in English in the ‘target’ language (e.g. Polish).

If you want to become an interpreter, you should start out by studying the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification.

In the UK, there are over 250 languages spoken, of which English is the most spoken language. The other most spoken languages include:

  • Welsh
  • Scottish
  • Polish
  • Punjabi
  • Urdu
  • Bengali
  • Gujarati
  • Arabic
  • Dari
  • Pashto
  • Chinese

There are several modes of Interpreting that the interpreter may master for use in different situations. The more modes an interpreter is competent in, the greater the variety of assignment they can complete. If you wish to acquire an interpreting qualification, the higher the level you choose, the more modes you will have to demonstrate.

The first mode that interpreters generally learn is consecutive interpreting. This is required for nearly all interpreting assignments. 

Next is sight translation from English, which is the next most common.

Sight translation to English is often the next skill learned.

Simultaneous interpreting is one of the most difficult skills to learn and is often used in specific locations, such as a courtroom, during a conference, or in mental health interpreting assignments.

Finally, written translation to and from English, is most often used in court assignments. While strictly speaking this is translation and not interpreting, it is a skill that certain interpreters need to use.

If you want to become an interpreter, you should start out by studying the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification.

When people ask about interpreting ‘types’ they may actually mean interpreting ‘modes’. There are several modes of Interpreting that the interpreter may master for use in different situations. The more modes an interpreter is competent in, the greater the variety of assignment they can complete. If you wish to acquire an interpreting qualification, the higher the level you choose, the more modes you will have to demonstrate.

The first mode that interpreters generally learn is consecutive interpreting. This is required for nearly all interpreting assignments. 

Next is sight translation from English, which is the next most common.

Sight translation to English is often the next skill learned.

Simultaneous interpreting is one of the most difficult skills to learn and is often used in specific locations, such as a courtroom, during a conference, or in mental health interpreting assignments.

Finally, written translation to and from English, is most often used in court assignments. While strictly speaking this is translation and not interpreting, it is a skill that certain interpreters need to use.

If you want to become an interpreter, you should start out by studying the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification.

To work as a translator (working with the written word), you would often require a university bachelor’s degree in translation or an equivalent such as a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) provided by The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL). However, even those with a degree can struggle to find work as the industry is highly competitive and many commercial translation companies value experience over qualifications as they will often do their own internal translation tests to assess translator suitability. 

Attaining experience, with or without a qualification, can be tough and often translators start by doing voluntary free work, for example for charities. It can help to take Continual Professional Development (CPD) courses, take any paid work you can find, advertise through your LinkedIn profile or via forums and job boards such as Proz.com or translatorscafe. 

Becoming an interpreter (working with the spoken word) can be easier, as you only require a Level 3 Certificate and the Learn Q Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification is a lower-level qualification than a degree meaning it is not as difficult. After you have your certificate, you can apply for jobs with Language Service Providers.

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

Anything from 1-5 years. To work as a translator (working with the written word), you would often require a university bachelor’s degree in translation or an equivalent such as a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) provided by The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL). However, even those with a degree can struggle to find work as the industry is highly competitive and many commercial translation companies value experience over qualifications as they will often do their own internal translation tests to assess translator suitability. 

Attaining experience, with or without a qualification, can be tough and often translators start by doing voluntary free work, for example for charities. It can help to take Continual Professional Development (CPD) courses, take any paid work you can find, advertise through your LinkedIn profile or via forums and job boards such as Proz.com or translatorscafe. 

Becoming an interpreter (working with the spoken word) can be easier, as you only require a Level 3 Certificate and the Learn Q Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification is a lower-level qualification than a degree meaning it is not as difficult. After you have your certificate, you can apply for jobs with Language Service Providers.

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

On average, a  Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting involves 60-80 hours of learning and can be completed in under 6 months. The LearnQual approach is a practical Level 3 and certification is based wholly on your abilities as an interpreter, which you demonstrate in a practical exam. Because there is no requirement for writing and rewriting multiple essays, the average time taken to achieve our qualification is 10-16 weeks, but ultimately that is up to because you would book the exam when you feel ready.  Some learners complete the course quicker or slower depending on their personal circumstances, their prior experience and learning and how much time they have to dedicate to the course.

In the UK, legally, anybody can self-certify a translation that they have completed. However, the majority of official bodies who require translations such as the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice we’ll only accept translations that have been completed by a qualified translator who is also a member of a recognised professional body for translators. Recognised professional bodies include the institute of translation and the Chartered Institute of linguists.

Although not always a requirement, usually you need a minimum qualification to become an Interpreter which tends to be the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification.

Be 18 years or older.

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.

To work as a translator (working with the written word), you would often require a university bachelor’s degree in translation or an equivalent such as a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) provided by The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL). However, even those with a degree can struggle to find work as the industry is highly competitive and many commercial translation companies value experience over qualifications as they will often do their own internal translation tests to assess translator suitability. 

Attaining experience, with or without a qualification, can be tough and often translators start by doing voluntary free work, for example for charities. It can help to take Continual Professional Development (CPD) courses, take any paid work you can find, advertise through your LinkedIn profile or via forums and job boards such as Proz.com or translatorscafe. 

Becoming an interpreter (working with the spoken word) can be easier, as you only require a Level 3 Certificate and the Learn Q Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification is a lower-level qualification than a degree meaning it is not as difficult. After you have your certificate, you can apply for jobs with Language Service Providers.

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

To work as a translator (working with the written word), you would often require a university bachelor’s degree in translation or an equivalent such as a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) provided by The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL). However, even those with a degree can struggle to find work as the industry is highly competitive and many commercial translation companies value experience over qualifications as they will often do their own internal translation tests to assess translator suitability. 

Attaining experience, with or without a qualification, can be tough and often translators start by doing voluntary free work, for example for charities. It can help to take Continual Professional Development (CPD) courses, take any paid work you can find, advertise through your LinkedIn profile or via forums and job boards such as Proz.com or translatorscafe. 

Becoming an interpreter (working with the spoken word) can be easier, as you only require a Level 3 Certificate and the Learn Q Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification is a lower-level qualification than a degree meaning it is not as difficult. After you have your certificate, you can apply for jobs with Language Service Providers.

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

Spanish translators work with the written word and render languages such as English into Spanish (which would be their primary (often ‘native’ or ‘mother tongue’ language). In commercial translation, usually translators work with companies and in certain specialisms such as legal, automotive, medical etc. Key translator skills include Writing, interpersonal communication, grammar, attention to detail, accuracy and concentration as well as the ability to work with Computer Aided Translation (CAT) software.

Translators often have a university Bachelor’s Degree in translation or an equivalent such as a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans). However, even those with a degree can struggle to find work as the industry is highly competitive and many commercial translation companies value experience over qualifications as they will often do their own internal translation tests to assess translator suitability. 

Attaining experience, with or without a qualification, can be tough and often translators start by doing voluntary free work, for example for charities. It can help to take Continual Professional Development (CPD) courses, take any paid work you can find, advertise through your LinkedIn profile or via forums and job boards such as Proz.com or translatorscafe. 

Becoming an interpreter (working with the spoken word) can be easier, as you only require a Level 3 Certificate and the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification is a lower level qualification than a degree meaning it is not as difficult. After you have your certificate you can apply for jobs with Language Service Providers.

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

Although it is possible to find a limited amount of work as an interpreter without a qualification, often this work is difficult to come by and poorly paid. By getting a qualification you are much more likely to find work opportunities and enjoy better rates of payment. if you are just starting out as an interpreter the recommended level of qualification is the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification. You do not need to have studied levels one or two to take the Level 3 Certificate.

It helps but it is not always essential. Even those with a translation certification can struggle to find work as the industry is highly competitive and many commercial translation companies value experience over qualifications because they often do their own internal translation tests to assess translator suitability. 

Attaining experience, with or without a qualification, can be tough and often translators start by doing voluntary free work, for example for charities. It can help to take Continual Professional Development (CPD) courses, take any paid work you can find, advertise through your LinkedIn profile or via forums and job boards such as Proz.com or translatorscafe. 

Becoming an interpreter (working with the spoken word) can be easier, as you only require a Level 3 Certificate. The Learn Q Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification is a lower-level qualification than a degree meaning it is not as difficult. After you have your certificate, you can apply for jobs with Language Service Providers.

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

Unfortunately, as a privately run (non-Government) organisation we do not have any access to direct funding, but you can spread the cost with interest free instalments starting at just £68 per month.

Alternatively, if you claim benefits such as Universal Credit, you might get help from your work coach at the Job Centre. The Job Centre have access to funding through the ‘Low Value Procurement’ scheme, which forms part of the ‘Flexible Support Fund’.  It does depend on individual circumstances, but it is definitely worth asking and naming our Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification. If you send an email request to admin@learnq.co.uk we will send you an email about the course that you can show to the Job Centre that can help you to secure funding.

It’s possible. To work as a translator (working with the written word), you would often require a university bachelor’s degree in translation or an equivalent such as a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) provided by The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL). However, even those with a degree can struggle to find work as the industry is highly competitive and many commercial translation companies value experience over qualifications as they will often do their own internal translation tests to assess translator suitability. 

Attaining experience, with or without a qualification, can be tough and often translators start by doing voluntary free work, for example for charities. It can help to take Continual Professional Development (CPD) courses, take any paid work you can find, advertise through your LinkedIn profile or via forums and job boards such as Proz.com or translatorscafe. 

Becoming an interpreter (working with the spoken word) can be easier, as you only require a Level 3 Certificate and the Learn Q Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification is a lower-level qualification than a degree meaning it is not as difficult. After you have your certificate, you can apply for jobs with Language Service Providers.

You can find out more about the difference between translators and interpreters in our blog here.

In the UK, legally, anybody can self-certify a translation that they have completed. However the majority of official bodies who require translations such as the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice we’ll only accept translations that have been completed by a qualified translator who is also a member of a recognised professional body for translators. Recognised professional bodies include the institute of translation and the Chartered Institute of linguists.

Interpreters need to be familiar with a large number of specialist terms and vocabulary. Often, these terms are not known two interpreters prior to becoming an interpreter or prior to completing a specific assignment, meaning interpreters need to research assignments and the terminology that might come up prior to completing them. creating a glossary is beneficial in two ways:

  1. It provides a written record of terminology that may come up in an assignment, and will include the translation of the term, the pronunciation of the term, the definition of the term and at least one example of the term in use. This record can be referred to during interpreting assignments.
  2. By completing research and creating a glossary, interpreters learn a large amount of vocabulary and increase their understanding of the specialisms in which they work. Therefore, when providing an interpreting service they are already familiar with the terminology that they need to use and how to interpret it into the other language.

Accuracy is one of the most important skills that’s an interpreter needs. Interpreters should preserve the meaning of the message as closely as possible, without omissions, additions, or alterations, while reflecting the register and tone of each speaker. In medical interpreting, conveying information, instructions and advice accurately could literally be the difference between life and death. This is why medical interpreters should always be qualified and hold a minimum of the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification.

Community interpreters provide services to a range of different public services including hospitals, job centers, schools, social services, local government, immigration, housing, charities and many more. In the majority of cases, to provide professional community interpreting services, interpreters must hold a minimum of the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification.

Community interpreters have been operating in the UK for over 60 years. In modern times, community interpreters provide services to a range of different public services including hospitals, job centers, schools, social services, local government, immigration, housing, charities and many more. In the majority of cases, to provide professional community interpreting services, interpreters must hold a minimum of the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification.

The purpose of an interpreter is to ensure people who do not speak English as their first language have equal access to public services in the UK, by accurately and faithfully rendering what is being said in one language into the other language therefore enabling understanding between the participants. Community interpreters provide services to a range of different public services including hospitals, job centers, schools, social services, local government, immigration and many more. In the majority of cases, to provide professional community interpreting services, interpreters must hold a minimum of the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification.

Interpreters deal with extremely sensitive and private matters such as medical information, welfare applications and information on legal matters. it is important that this information is kept private and therefore interpreters are bound by strict confidentiality rules as part of the interpreter code of conduct. If any of these private details are shared outside of an interpreting appointment it can cause a great deal of personal and or professional damage to those involved.

Accuracy is one of the most important skills that’s an interpreter needs. Interpreters should preserve the meaning of the message as closely as possible, without omissions, additions, or alterations, while reflecting the register and tone of each speaker.

In a typical interpreter code of ethics, also known as the code of conduct, there are usually 6 codes of conduct. They are:

  • Accountability – Interpreters must be aware of liability and risk issues, admit interpreting mistakes during assignments, and correct them as soon as possible. Ideally this should happen during assignments, but sometimes even afterward.
  • Accuracy – The interpreter should preserve the meaning of the message as closely as possible while portraying the register and tone of each speaker.
  • Confidentiality – It is forbidden for them to share any information acquired during the assignment without the consent of the parties involved.
  • Impartiality – Interpreters should be impartial and avoid conflict of interest, advocating for any party, giving advice, or expressing personal opinions. All parties must be treated equally, objectively, and professionally. It is not appropriate for interpreters to accept assignments involving people they know (except for service providers (e.g., doctors) or people they have worked with previously and who are only known to them professionally).

As soon as you begin an assignment and realise you know the LES for which you are interpreting (but you were unaware of this before accepting the assignment), you should inform the service provider as soon as you learn they are familiar to you.

  • Limit of Practice – It is important for interpreters to be aware of their limitations and decline assignments that exceed their abilities.
  • Professional development – To perform accurate interpreting, interpreters must maintain, improve, and expand their skillset through continuous learning (also known as Continual Professional Development, or CPD). Additionally, the interpreter should be able to evaluate their own performance and work toward improving their skills. Keeping a glossary up to date is also essential.

A pre session is a session where the service provider (such as a doctor) has the opportunity to brief the interpreter with details relevant to the assignment including case background, what to expect during the assignment and any important information that the interpreter needs to know. It is a good opportunity for the service provider to help the interpreter to understand what is required of them to make the appointment proceed as smoothly as possible and can also be an opportunity to establish guidelines such as how and when the interpreter can interject and if the service provider would like cultural assistance.

The DPSI (Diploma in Public Service interpreting) is a degree equivalent qualification that is offered by the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) and is recognised as the ‘gold’ standard for interpreters. It allows interpreters to interpret in all public services, including legal situations.

The DPSI has a very low pass rate even for experienced interpreters so at Learn Q we wouldn’t recommend even attempting it without a minimum of a Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification and 2 years professional interpreting experience, otherwise you are likely to spend 12 months and £1000 or more working toward an exam that you are likely to fail. To be successful at the DPSI, we recommend you study the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification, gain 2 years work experience and then if you still wish to obtain this qualification to take a thorough course, practice your skills daily and then attempt the DPSI. Realistically the journey is likely to take 4 or more years and some never make it.

The three types of interpreting are face to face, telephone interpreting, and video remote interpreting.

Face to face interpreting occurs in a specific location, often a public service location (for instance, a hospital or court), a home or within a business’ premises. The client/ Service Provider (doctor or police officer), the Limited English Speaker(s) (LES) / Service User and the interpreter are all present in the same location. F2F interpreting can be either consecutive or carried out via the following: 

Telephone interpreting is completed remotely with the interpreter joining a conversation via a telephone. Often the client and LES are together in a physical location (e.g., a hospital or Job Centre) while the interpreter is at home, or in a call centre. Telephone interpreting is always consecutive (see below).

Video remote interpreting is also completed remotely with the interpreter joining the conversation via a secure Internet video link. In most cases the client and LES are in the same location (e.g., a police station) and the interpreter joins either from home, or from a centralised client or LSP location specifically for that purpose. 

 

What factors must be taken into consideration prior to engaging a professional interpreter?

There are a number of different factors that you should take into consideration before engaging a professional interpreter. Firstly, determine if an interpreter is needed at all. The best way to determine this is to ask the service user if they would like the services of an interpreter. Even if the service user speaks English, they may not be comfortable with their level of English to proceed with a conversation without the services of an interpreter. When speaking to someone whose first language is not English, they may not fully understand technical words and phrases that might be involved.

 

The key factors to take into consideration about which interpreter you should use include:

  • ensuring they speak the right language combination – in the UK this is usually English and another language
  • you may also want to consider dialect as with certain languages different dialects have very different words. Again, simply asking the service user what language and dialect they speak it’s sufficient to determine this.
  • Ensure that any interpreter you use how’s the relevant level of qualification. No interpreter should be used without a minimum of a Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification which has over 12 credits and included a practical assessment of their interpreting ability.
  • You should also consider if your organization has a contract with a language service provider (LSP) who will ensure the interpreter that you use is sufficiently qualified and experienced.
  • There are other considerations if you intend to employ an interpreter directly such as making sure they have the appropriate right to work in the UK, have a basic disclosure so you know they are not a risk to the service users and appropriate insurance.

The stages of interpreting are:

  1. listening to hear what the participant that is speaking is saying
  2. processing and understanding what the speaker said
  3. identifying words and grammar to use in your interpretation
  4. rendering the original statement into the other language out loud for the other participant to understand

Absolutely not. The role of the interpreter is not to give their own opinion on a conversation or take part in the conversation other than to reflect the communication, both verbally and non-verbally between the two (or more) parties. Ideally, the interpreter should interpret the exact meaning of the original communication as closely as possible, without adding or omitting any information and not changing the original message. This includes more than just the words used. A skilled interpreter will also mirror the tone of voice used in the original communication, including aspects such as humour, sarcasm, emotion and similar.

An interpreter profile would normally contain similar information to the information that would be found in a CV. It would include the interpreter’s name, contact details, qualifications, skills, experience, languages spoken, and job history.

Any interpreter accepting an assignment should as a minimum have the required knowledge and skills of interpreting techniques. They also need to be fluent in both languages that need to be spoken. Usually, preparation for an assignment will he involve the interpreter researching specialist terminology and, if possible, the background of the assignment that they will be interpreting so that they understand what will be discussed during the assignment. for Example, if an interpreter has an assignment at an ear nose and throat clinic, they were typically research conditions, procedures, symptoms, medicines, job roles, and other information and the sociated terminology that they may be expected to interpret during the session.

Any interpreter accepting an assignment should as a minimum have the required knowledge and skills of interpreting techniques. They also need to be fluent in both languages that need to be spoken. Usually, preparation for an assignment will he involve the interpreter researching specialist terminology and, if possible, the background of the assignment that they will be interpreting so that they understand what will be discussed during the assignment. for Example, if an interpreter has an assignment at an ear nose and throat clinic, they were typically research conditions, procedures, symptoms, medicines, job roles, and other information and the sociated terminology that they may be expected to interpret during the session.

Yes. Interpreters deal with extremely sensitive and private matters such as medical information, welfare applications and information on legal matters. it is important that this information is kept private and therefore interpreters are bound by strict confidentiality rules as part of the interpreter code of conduct. If any of these private details are shared outside of an interpreting appointment it can cause a great deal of personal and or professional damage to those involved.

Before accepting an interpreting assignment interpreters must ensure that they are available at the time and date of the assignment, that they can travel to the location of the assignment, that they speak the correct languages, that they have the right level of knowledge in a specialisms that they will be interpreting, and that they have the right skills to fulfill the assignment. For certain assignments there may be other factors involved such as being familiar with interpreting technology or even being the correct sex.

Although there is no set way to introduce yourself as an interpreter you should aim to cover information including your identity the role you will be fulfilling, assurances of confidentiality, explanation of how you interpret and what participants can expect. An example of an interpreter introduction could be:

“My name is [Name], hired by [Agency], and I will be interpreting for you and the patient/client today. 

I will repeat everything that is said today, and everything will be interpreted in first person. To ensure accuracy, please keep your sentences short. 

If I raise my hand like this [stop signal], please pause so I can catch up. 

Finally, I will keep everything said here confidential. 

I will now introduce myself in (the second language of conversation).”

What are the requirements of accuracy in interpreting?

Accuracy is one of the most important skills that’s an interpreter needs. Interpreters should preserve the meaning of the message as closely as possible, without omissions, additions, or alterations, while reflecting the register and tone of each speaker.

Interpreters deal with extremely sensitive and private matters such as medical information, welfare applications and information on legal matters. it is important that this information is kept private and therefore interpreters are bound by strict confidentiality rules as part of the interpreter code of conduct. If any of these private details are shared outside of an interpreting appointment it can cause a great deal of personal and or professional damage to those involved.

Confidentiality involves ensuring interpreters do not share any information acquired during an interpreting assignment without the consent of the parties involved.

In a typical interpreter code of ethics, also known as the code of conduct, there are usually 6 codes of conduct. They are:

  • Accountability – Interpreters must be aware of liability and risk issues, admit interpreting mistakes during assignments, and correct them as soon as possible. Ideally this should happen during assignments, but sometimes even afterward.
  • Accuracy – The interpreter should preserve the meaning of the message as closely as possible while portraying the register and tone of each speaker.
  • Confidentiality – It is forbidden for them to share any information acquired during the assignment without the consent of the parties involved.
  • Impartiality – Interpreters should be impartial and avoid conflict of interest, advocating for any party, giving advice, or expressing personal opinions. All parties must be treated equally, objectively, and professionally. It is not appropriate for interpreters to accept assignments involving people they know (except for service providers (e.g., doctors) or people they have worked with previously and who are only known to them professionally).

As soon as you begin an assignment and realise you know the LES for which you are interpreting (but you were unaware of this before accepting the assignment), you should inform the service provider as soon as you learn they are familiar to you.

  • Limit of Practice – It is important for interpreters to be aware of their limitations and decline assignments that exceed their abilities.
  • Professional development – To perform accurate interpreting, interpreters must maintain, improve, and expand their skillset through continuous learning (also known as Continual Professional Development, or CPD). Additionally, the interpreter should be able to evaluate their own performance and work toward improving their skills. Keeping a glossary up to date is also essential.

All professional interpreters she’ll follow the interpreter code of conduct.

The interpreters code of conduct is a set of standards which professional interpreters will adhere to when providing a professional service.

There are several points in interpreting codes of conduct that outline how interpreters should act in different situations and what clients can expect. In fact, interpreters can use them to guide them on what to do and what not to do when interpreting for clients.

Reading and understanding the original Code of Professional Conduct is the best way to ensure that you are following it.

An interpreted code of conduct usually covers the following points:

  • Accountability – Interpreters must be aware of liability and risk issues, admit interpreting mistakes during assignments, and correct them as soon as possible. Ideally this should happen during assignments, but sometimes even afterward.
  • Accuracy – The interpreter should preserve the meaning of the message as closely as possible while portraying the register and tone of each speaker.
  • Confidentiality – It is forbidden for them to share any information acquired during the assignment without the consent of the parties involved.
  • Impartiality – Interpreters should be impartial and avoid conflict of interest, advocating for any party, giving advice, or expressing personal opinions. All parties must be treated equally, objectively, and professionally. It is not appropriate for interpreters to accept assignments involving people they know (except for service providers (e.g., doctors) or people they have worked with previously and who are only known to them professionally).

As soon as you begin an assignment and realise you know the LES for which you are interpreting (but you were unaware of this before accepting the assignment), you should inform the service provider as soon as you learn they are familiar to you.

  • Limit of Practice – It is important for interpreters to be aware of their limitations and decline assignments that exceed their abilities.
  • Professional development – To perform accurate interpreting, interpreters must maintain, improve, and expand their skillset through continuous learning (also known as Continual Professional Development, or CPD). Additionally, the interpreter should be able to evaluate their own performance and work toward improving their skills. Keeping a glossary up to date is also essential.

Respect for all parties – To successfully complete an interpreting assignment, the interpreter must show respect to all participants, regardless of their background, ethnicity, sex, religion, or beliefs.

The interpreter code of practice is also known as the interpreter code of conduct.

The interpreters code of ethics is a set of standards which professional interpreters adhere to when providing a professional service.

There are several points in interpreting codes of conduct that outline how interpreters should act in different situations and what clients can expect. In fact, interpreters can use them to guide them on what to do and what not to do when interpreting for clients.

Reading and understanding the original Code of Professional Conduct is the best way to ensure that you are following it.

An interpreted code of conduct usually covers the following points:

  • Accountability – Interpreters must be aware of liability and risk issues, admit interpreting mistakes during assignments, and correct them as soon as possible. Ideally this should happen during assignments, but sometimes even afterward.
  • Accuracy – The interpreter should preserve the meaning of the message as closely as possible while portraying the register and tone of each speaker.
  • Confidentiality – It is forbidden for them to share any information acquired during the assignment without the consent of the parties involved.
  • Impartiality – Interpreters should be impartial and avoid conflict of interest, advocating for any party, giving advice, or expressing personal opinions. All parties must be treated equally, objectively, and professionally. It is not appropriate for interpreters to accept assignments involving people they know (except for service providers (e.g., doctors) or people they have worked with previously and who are only known to them professionally).

As soon as you begin an assignment and realise you know the LES for which you are interpreting (but you were unaware of this before accepting the assignment), you should inform the service provider as soon as you learn they are familiar to you.

  • Limit of Practice – It is important for interpreters to be aware of their limitations and decline assignments that exceed their abilities.
  • Professional development – To perform accurate interpreting, interpreters must maintain, improve, and expand their skillset through continuous learning (also known as Continual Professional Development, or CPD). Additionally, the interpreter should be able to evaluate their own performance and work toward improving their skills. Keeping a glossary up to date is also essential.

Respect for all parties – To successfully complete an interpreting assignment, the interpreter must show respect to all participants, regardless of their background, ethnicity, sex, religion, or beliefs.

The interpreters code of ethics is also known as the interpreter code of conduct, and is a set of standards which professional interpreters adhere to when providing a professional service.

 

There are several points in interpreting codes of conduct that outline how interpreters should act in different situations and what clients can expect. In fact, interpreters can use them to guide them on what to do and what not to do when interpreting for clients.

Reading and understanding the original Code of Professional Conduct is the best way to ensure that you are following it.

An interpreted code of conduct usually covers the following points:

  • Accountability – Interpreters must be aware of liability and risk issues, admit interpreting mistakes during assignments, and correct them as soon as possible. Ideally this should happen during assignments, but sometimes even afterward.
  • Accuracy – The interpreter should preserve the meaning of the message as closely as possible while portraying the register and tone of each speaker.
  • Confidentiality – It is forbidden for them to share any information acquired during the assignment without the consent of the parties involved.
  • Impartiality – Interpreters should be impartial and avoid conflict of interest, advocating for any party, giving advice, or expressing personal opinions. All parties must be treated equally, objectively, and professionally. It is not appropriate for interpreters to accept assignments involving people they know (except for service providers (e.g., doctors) or people they have worked with previously and who are only known to them professionally).

As soon as you begin an assignment and realise you know the LES for which you are interpreting (but you were unaware of this before accepting the assignment), you should inform the service provider as soon as you learn they are familiar to you.

  • Limit of Practice – It is important for interpreters to be aware of their limitations and decline assignments that exceed their abilities.
  • Professional development – To perform accurate interpreting, interpreters must maintain, improve, and expand their skillset through continuous learning (also known as Continual Professional Development, or CPD). Additionally, the interpreter should be able to evaluate their own performance and work toward improving their skills. Keeping a glossary up to date is also essential.

Respect for all parties – To successfully complete an interpreting assignment, the interpreter must show respect to all participants, regardless of their background, ethnicity, sex, religion, or beliefs.

The aim of community interpreting is to ensure people who do not speak English as their first language have equal access to public services in the UK. Community interpreters provide services to a range of different public services including hospitals, job centers, schools, social services, local government, immigration and many more. In the majority of cases, to provide professional community interpreting services, interpreters must hold a minimum of Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting Qualification

The DPSI is a degree equivalent qualification that is seen as the ‘gold’ standard for interpreters. It has a very low pass rate even for experienced interpreters so at Learn Q we wouldn’t recommend even attempting it without a minimum of a Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting and 2 years professional interpreting experience, otherwise you would probably spend 12 months and £1000 or more working toward an exam that you are likely to fail. To be successful at the DPSI, we recommend you study the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting, gain 2 years work experience and then if you still wish to obtain this qualification to take a thorough course, practice your skills daily and then attempt the DPSI. Realistically the journey is likely to take 4 or more years and some never make it.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that if they speak two languages, interpreting is easy. That is not the case at all. Interpreting is a demanding job that takes dedication, understanding, skills and knowledge to provide.
To be a high quality interpreter can take years of hard work, building glossaries, studying language and specialisms and developing glossaries.

Our qualifications are accredited in the UK and approved by Ofqual, the UK government department responsible for maintaining qualification standards.

UK qualifications are respected around the world for their quality.

No. While the Diploma in Public Service interpreting (DPSI) will be more than sufficient for you to work with the NHS, most of the interpreting work available with the NHS can be accessed by interpreters who hold the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting.

Interpreters convey language orally, while translators convey language in writing.

Although language ability is a common skill needed in both roles, the skills needed for the two roles are often quite different. To be a translator you would need to be proficient in reading comprehension, transfer and target language productions skills, along with needing to be able to work efficiently with Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tools, while interpreters need excellent listening skills, a high level of spoken ability, clear pronunciation in both languages, an excellent memory and the ability to think and speak in two languages at the same time.

You can read more about interpreting skills in our blog How to Improve Your Consecutive interpreting Skills.

Interpreter Salary in the UK:

An interpreter who holds a Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting can expect to make an average of £14.55 per hour (£28,000 per year based on a 37 hour week).

If you have a Level 6 Diploma in Public Service interpreting (DPSI) you could get rates of up to £36 per hour or more for some clients, such as legal clients, but this is not always the case. If, for example, an NHS client is paying £15 per hour the rate will be the same regardless of qualification level. Rates of pay can also depend on the language combination with ‘rare’ languages (languages with a low number of qualified interpreters) commanding higher rates.

On average, a Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting involves 60-80 hours of learning and can be completed in under 6 months. The LearnQ approach is a practical Level 3 and certification is based wholly on your abilities as an interpreter, which you demonstrate in a practical exam. Because there is no requirement for writing and rewriting multiple essays, the average time taken to achieve our qualification is 10-16 weeks, but ultimately that is up to because you would book the exam when you feel ready. Some learners complete the course quicker or slower depending on their personal circumstances, their prior experience and learning and how much time they have to dedicate to the course.

Strictly speaking, translators deal with the written word and would normally require a Degree in translation, or a minimum Level 6 or above equivalent (such as a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans)), plus relevant experience.

You can also become a NHS interpreter, providing services in the spoken word and interpreting conversations between doctors and patients. The requirements to become an NHS interpreter are usually 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.

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.

If you pass the exam you will receive a total of 17 credits.

When you are looking for work as an interpreter, some agencies will ask for a minimum of 15 credits for you to register with them.

Our qualification is UK Government regulated so it is the same as any other Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting.

The major difference is the way that we deliver the information and or exam only assessment approach.

If you go to the ‘About’ page on the website you can find links to the Ofqual site where you can see our qualifications. That means they are genuine, quality products that deliver what they are supposed to.

Our live, tutor-led courses start regularly (at least one per month), but if you don’t want to wait you can start your course using the provided self-study materials as soon as you sign up.

Often students go through the self-study materials 2 or 3 times and join the live sessions as well.

You can only take your exam when you have paid in full, but if you start paying in 8 instalments and want to take your exam earlier you can clear the remaining balance any time you like.

Many of our students take this option.

You need to make your own mind up, but you can practice with other students to help you decide.
The advice and guidance in our preparation course will also help you to decide when you are ready.

If you would rather take a mock exam before your main exam you can do so at a reduced price and this is useful in helping you to understand how the exam will work and whether you are ready to sit it.

There are two parts to the exam:

Part 1: consecutive interpreting. You interpret a conversation between a doctor and a patient
Part 2: Sight translation. You are provided a text in English of around 250 words, you read through it first and then you read it out loud in your other language – like you were reading it for someone who couldn’t read the English version.

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

No qualification is needed to join but you need to be fluent in 2 or more languages including English.

Yes, our Level 3 interpreting qualification is completely online so no need to travel.

You can either access our recorded webinars, join them live via a free Zoom link or combine live sessions with recordings.

When you come to take the exam, that is also online via a free Zoom link

It’s very simple – you only need to make your first payment.

Once your first instalment is made you can join the course immediately and start learning.

Interpreting is a practical skill and no interpreter has to write an essay as part of their job.

Therefore, we believe there is no point asking interpreters to write essays – the way you prove you are competent and earn your certificate is by demonstrating your abilities as an interpreter.

The majority of other Level 3 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 time consuming and 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.

The course itself does not have a certificate, however, if you take and pass the exam at the end of the course you will receive an accredited certificate.

Unfortunately, the course isn’t funded at this time, but we do have easy instalment options to make it more affordable.

Some of our students get funding from the DWP (Job Centre) or ‘back to work’ charities, so it might be worth speaking with them to see if they can arrange funding.

There are 2 main levels of qualification for paid interpreters, Level 3 and Level 6.

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 like hospitals, job centres, social services, housing and local government. To be successful at Level 3, interpreters need to be competent at consecutive interpreting and sight translation from English.

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 and simultaneous interpreting, sight translation to and from English and in some cases, written translation to and from English Levels 1 and 2 also exist but they are aimed at voluntary (unpaid) interpreters.

You do not need to have completed any of the lower levels (1 or 2) to study Level 3.

As a guide for Level 3 your English should be at level B2 or above:

In everyday speech, this level might be called “confident”, as in “I am a confident English speaker”. The official level descriptor is “upper intermediate”. At this level, students can function independently in a variety of academic and professional environments in English, although with a limited range of nuance and precision.

For Level 6, your English needs to be at level C1 or above:

In everyday speech, this level might be called “advanced”, and that is the official level descriptor for this level as well, also used by EF SET. At this level, students can function independently and with a great deal of precision on a wide variety of subjects and in almost any setting without any prior preparation.

If you are unsure, you can test your English here for free : https://www.efset.org/quick-check/take-test

A community interpreter facilitates a conversation between two people who do not speak the same language (e.g. English and Polish) usually in a public service setting such as health, welfare, social services, housing, education, immigration or law.

The speakers take turns to speak with the interpreter interpreting the conversation in between. They also sometimes provide sight translation services where they read out literature in English in the ‘target’ language (e.g. Polish).

Levels 1 or 2 are mainly for voluntary work and only includes the consecutive interpreting skill.

If you have been specifically asked to take a Level 2 by someone (e.g. a client who wants to offer you paid work) then that is fine but you may find paid work outside of that client difficult to come by. Level 2 is also suitable for voluntary work.

Level 3 is best for paid interpreting assignments and will give you access to a paid interpreting career. It includes both the consecutive interpreting and sight translation skills. So, if you want to get started on a paid interpreting career that is the best starting point.

The Level 6 Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) is widely regarded as the highest level of interpreting qualification available outside of a university.

The Level 6 DPSI is a very difficult, degree level qualification and is not recommended for anyone other than experienced interpreters who already have a Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting due to the high level of knowledge and experience required to pass. Even experienced interpreters and those with legal qualifications regularly fail the Level 6 DPSI.

If you are just starting out in your career, we advise obtaining the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting, then gaining at least 2 years professional interpreting experience before undertaking the Level 6.

The LearnQ Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting is an accredited qualification, which means it is UK Government regulated and nationally recognised by interpreting clients and agencies.

This means the qualification can be used to work as a professional interpreter in the UK.

We prefer students to pass first time, which is why you don’t need to take your exam until you are ready. If you do fail, you would need to pay for a resit, but the price of a re-sit is much lower than the first exam.

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

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.

No. Levels 1 and 2 are aimed at voluntary (unpaid) interpreters.

You do not need to have completed any of the lower levels to take levels 3 or 6 and all of the content from Levels 1 and 2 are covered at Level 6.

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