Project background

Within Germany, a wide range of training courses are available for people interested in completing basic or advanced training as interpreters in the community. However, these courses vary considerably in terms of their scope, their learning goals and content, and their requirements. Many programmes do not include a final exam or, if they do, require students only to demonstrate a good grasp of theory. Yet interpreting is an active profession that requires a practical exam. If this is not included, interpreters may know how interpreting should work in theory but not how to put this into practice. This makes profession-alisation more difficult in relation to interpreting in the community.

The qualification ‘Interpreting in the Community’ gave interpreters a solid grounding in interpreting as a profession. At the same time, interpreters who have attended many types of courses over the years may well be unconvinced of the benefits of completing such a comprehensive programme. An equivalence procedure has therefore been developed with the aim of evaluating past training and interpreting experience for individuals seeking to qualify as community interpreters. This procedure gave these individuals the chance to prove their expertise in the form of a practical exam followed by a feedback session on their interpreting.


The project pursued the following goals:

  • Advising applicants about their previous level of training and experience
  • Comparing documentation submitted with the ‘Interpreting in the Community’ training course standard
  • Organising and holding exams for 10 candidates

Project duration


Project specification

As part of the two-year AMIF project ‘Optimising quality for service providers and interpreters’, goals in the ‘Equivalence exam’ sub-project were achieved with the said of the following modules:

  • Module 1: Preparation of an overview of existing training courses in Germany
  • Module 2: Developing a set of criteria for the equivalence procedure
  • Module 3: Public relations work
  • Module 4: Advising applicants and reviewing documentation submitted
  • Module 5: Organising and holding exams
  • Module 6: Dissemination of results

Description of the equivalence exam in detail

Target group

The equivalence procedure for the qualification of interpreting in the community was aimed at interpreters who have been working in the community for a long time and have already completed many training courses. Despite many years of experience, many interpreters have never received professional feedback on their approach to interpreting and have not had the opportunity to obtain official proof of their expertise.
Interpreters with extensive previous knowledge from their profession and education or studies were able to show that they meet the minimum standard of the qualification by taking the exam as a profesional interpreter without needing to attend any additional courses.


  • Review of the submitted application documents
  • Interview with candidates who have submitted all documents in full
  • Selection of candidates for the equivalence examination
  • Workshop to prepare for the examination
  • Examination

Candidate qualifications

Persons who participated in the equivalence procedure had to fulfil the following requirements:

  • German (minimum CEFR level B2.2)
  • Knowledge of at least one other relevant working language
  • Interpreting experience equivalent to at least 300 units (225 h)
  • Completion of interpreter-specific training (basic, further, advanced) equivalent to at least 224 units
  • Personal eligibility
  • At least eight years of formal schooling (advisable)
  • Professional qualifications (advisable)
  • Participation in the scientific evaluation of the equivalence procedure (oral and written questionnaire)


The equivalence procedure concludes with a practical and oral examination. Participants were issued with a certificate stating their examination grade.


Participation was free of charge for the candidates. Examination costs were covered by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund as well as contributing project partners.

Number of examination candidates

A total of 10 exams were planned as part of this project.