Criteria for cooperation

Conference interpretation in international organisations like the European Parliament is very different from other forms of linguistic mediation like liaison or court interpreting. Experience over many years of testing university graduates has led to the conclusion that an interpreting course must meet certain standards if it is to impart a usable professional skill.

Universities are encouraged to follow these guidelines when designing their curricula:

  • Courses should consist overwhelmingly of practice activity in both simultaneous and consecutive interpreting (at least 75%) with speech material from a wide variety of real-life sources
  • Courses should be given by practising professionals, accredited to the EU Institutions or other international organisations. Moreover, professional conference interpreters are full members of the examination jury
  • Graduates must pass exams in both interpretation modes to obtain a diploma
  • There should be no minimum number of students required for a course to be organised or any quotas for obtaining a diploma
  • The course coordinator should also be a practitioner with the pedagogical autonomy to ensure these conditions.

This aim is best served when the course is allowed to be structurally independent of language or translation departments. Knowledge of another language is a prerequisite for commencing an interpreting course, but the processing skill that is to be acquired is very distinct, and the Masters should be open to suitable graduates from all areas of study.

The above standards and benchmarks are widely recognised by the Heads of Interpreting Services of International Organisations who signed a joint Declaration on Training of Conference Interpreters.

Where a course meets the required standards and subject to availability of resources and the recruitment needs of the institution, the European Parliament may back up the efforts of the university by providing pedagogical and financial assistance.

The partnership between a university and the Interpretation Service of the European Parliament may be formalised in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding. The cooperation will be assessed on a yearly basis by means of indicators reported by the university.