Best practice guidelines for conference interpreting training programmes

Looking for a conference interpreting training programme? Make sure it meets these best practice criteria to give yourself the best start in the profession.

AIIC's Directory of Interpreting Schools and Programmes is open to all (excluding commercial) interpreting schools and programmes that meet AIIC's Best Practice criteria. There are 6 eliminatory criteria as well as comprehensive recommendations.

1.       Eliminatory criteria


The course is only open to post-graduate students.


Aptitude test before the course begins (one year) or at an early stage in the course for longer courses.


The curriculum must include instruction in both consecutive and simultaneous interpretation.


The course must be at least 2 semesters (1 academic year) long..


The course must have already run for one academic year.


Interpreting Schools/university courses may not benefit financially from assignments worked by their students.

Users are then invited to compare this and the additional published information for each School or Programme with the following Best Practice recommendations drawn up by AIIC.

2.       Before the course


Programmes at postgraduate level are more appropriate to train conference interpreters for entry into the profession.


Applicants must pass an aptitude test before being admitted to the school.


Applicants are encouraged to spend considerable time living and working or studying in a country where their non-native languages are spoken before they consider entering a professional training programme.


The school and teaching faculty will inform candidates before and during their studies about relevant potential employment opportunities.

3.       The course


The curriculum is posted online.


The language combinations offered as part of the regular curriculum reflect market requirements.


The curriculum includes a theory component and a course which addresses professional practice and ethics. These courses should be delivered by professional conference interpreters.

4.       Trainers


Courses are designed and interpretation classes taught by professional conference interpreters whose language combinations are recognised by AIIC or by an international organisation.


Teachers of interpretation have had some teacher training specifically related to interpretation.


All programmes are delivered by a combination of native speakers of the students' A and B/C (native and non-native) languages.

5.       Exams


The final diploma in Conference Interpretation is only awarded if the candidate's competence in both consecutive and simultaneous interpreting in all working language combinations has been assessed and judged consistent with professional entry requirements.


All tests are eliminatory at the final examinations.


Final examinations are conducted in an open and transparent fashion. Candidates should understand the assessment criteria.


Final examination juries are composed of teachers from the academic programme and external assessors who are also professional conference interpreters. The latter's assessment of each examinee's performance should count towards the final mark awarded.


Representatives from international organisations and other bodies that recruit interpreters are invited to attend final exams as observers if they are not already present as external assessors.


Any Degree or Diploma awarded states the graduate's language combination, clearly indicating active and passive languages.

──      See also: Guidelines for Student Internships in Conference Interpreting

──      Visit the Schools Directory

──      For matters related to interpreting schools, including enquiries from schools wishing to be listed, please contact AIIC Training and Professional Development