Examinations

Admission and Diploma Exams

Participating universities are committed to encouraging applications from candidates with less widely-used and less-taught languages.

Candidate profile

In order to be eligible for admission to the programme candidates must

  • Hold a recognized University degree or equivalent. The type of degree (BA or MA) depends on the university system of which the school is a part. It is not necessary to have a languages degree: interpreters have a wide variety of backgrounds.
  • Have an excellent command of their mother tongue (A language)* over a wide range of topics and registers. See the definition of A, B and C languages given below.
  • Have a full understanding of their B and C languages* across the full range of registers.
  • Be aware of – and able to understand – a range of accents in their B and/or C languages*.
  • Offer one of the following language combinations:
    A-CC, ACCC or A-B(C) or A-A (where the language combination is offered by the University concerned. Different schools offer different language combinations in the light of demand, teaching resources and the need for minimum number of students for any given combination to be offered.)
  • Have a good overall knowledge of international affairs.
  • Be well-informed of the economic, social and cultural background of the countries in which their working languages are used.

Applicants will be expected to have the following skills:

  • An ability to follow an argument or line of reasoning.
  • Good powers of concentration, analysis and synthesis.
  • Good communication skills.

They will also be expected to show:

  • A high degree of motivation: these are demanding – and rewarding – courses, requiring serious commitment.
  • The ability to work under pressure.
  • A willingness to learn.
  • Readiness to accept advice. Trainee interpreters are effectively assessed every time they work; while feedback on questions of accuracy, style and use of language may seem personal it is central to training. Applicants must show an ability to deal with constructive criticism.

Aptitude tests

All EMCI schools have aptitude tests. The test panel generally includes a majority of professional interpreters and interpreter trainers. These tests may vary for a number of reasons to do with the number of applicants, the language combinations offered or institutional constraints.

The aptitude tests reflect the demands of the profession of conference interpreting. Admission to a course is not a guarantee of its successful completion.

These tests are designed to test applicants for the skills as outlined in the Applicant Profile section above. These are rigorous tests: conference interpreting is a demanding profession.

The complete aptitude test shall include:

  • An interview.
  • The oral reproduction of short and structured speeches (2-3 minutes) from the candidate’s C and B languages* into A* and, where appropriate, A into B. This is to test applicants’ ability to listen to, understand, process and reproduce a short speech on a general topic. They must show that they have understood the message and are able to communicate it.
  • A general knowledge test. This will be a written test in some schools. Others include general knowledge questions in the aptitude tests.

Additionally the test may include:

  • A sight translation: applicants are given a short (300-word) text to read; they are then invited to provide an oral rendition of the text.
  • A brief oral presentation in the A and/ or B language* by the applicant on a subject chosen by the panel.
  • Written tests which are eliminatory in some schools.

Diploma Exams

Students will be assessed at the final examination in both consecutive and simultaneous modes of interpreting into their A language(s)* from all the other languages in their combination. Candidates offering a B language* in an A-B-C combination will also be assessed in consecutive interpretation from their A language* into their B language*.

Candidates who offer an A-B combination must pass both consecutive and simultaneous sections in that combination.

In order to be awarded the degree, candidates will be required to pass each section of the examination at one and the same session.

However, candidates who do not achieve a pass in interpretation from additional C languages* or into their B language* in an A-B-C combination may be awarded a degree with an A-C-C combination.

The degree certificate shall clearly state the language combination for which it has been awarded.

Final examinations

The examinations should comprise speeches on a variety of subjects in different registers. The speeches will be prepared to a standard commonly encountered by professional interpreters and delivered as if impromptu by practised speakers. Speeches will be approximately 5 to 7 minutes for consecutive interpretation and 10 minutes for simultaneous.

Candidates will be assessed on the mastery of their target language(s), comprehension of their source language(s) and on their interpreting skills, using the criteria defined in the Curriculum. They must demonstrate sufficient competence to be able to join a team of professional conference interpreters.

Tape recordings of the final examinations will be kept for one year.

Assessors

The panel shall be composed of a majority of experienced interpreters of whom at least two must have the mother tongue of the candidate in their combination, including one who is a native speaker of the target language of the examination.

The panel shall also include at least one external examiner. The European Institutions, other international organisations, and other member institutions of the consortium will be invited to send a representative. If necessary, the panel may invite speakers or observers who are entitled to take part in the deliberations without voting rights.

The final decision on the candidates' performance shall be taken by consensus.

 

* Languages

A: The interpreter’s native language (or another language strictly equivalent to a native language), into which the interpreter works from all her or his other languages in both modes of interpretation, simultaneous and consecutive.

B: A language other than the interpreter’s native language, of which she or he has excellent command and into which they work from one or more of their languages. Some interpreters work into a “B” language in only one of the modes of interpretation.

C: Languages, of which the interpreter has a complete understanding and from which he or she works.

Appendix 1: Examples of speeches used for the oral reproduction test in EMCI universities

 

Last updated 15.10.2015

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Submitted by PhilippeBaudrion on