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DG Interpretation


  • Staff interpreter: A permanent member of staff within the EU institutions. In order to become a staff interpreter you need to pass an open competition, which are organised annually by EPSOexternal link, the European Personnel Selection Office.
  • Freelance interpreter: A self-employed interpreter who is not employed continuously by the EU institutions but is hired to do specific assignments. In order to become a freelancer you need to pass a freelance accreditation test, which take place throughout the year.
  • Conference interpreter: An interpreter who works in international conferences and meetings. This is in contrast to other types of interpreting such as:
    • Community interpreting
    • Court interpreting
    • Business interpreting
    See hereexternal link for more information on the different types of interpretation.
  • Active language: A language into which the interpreter works from his or her other languages, usually (but not always) his or her native language. See language regime and language combination for more information.
  • Passive language: A language that an interpreter understands and from which he or she works. See language regime and language combination for more details.
  • A, B, C languages: An AIIC (see below) nomenclature whereby an A language is the mother tongue or mother-tongue equivalent.

    A B language is the language into which an interpreter is able to work from his/her A language. Some interpreters only work into their B language in consecutive interpreting.

    Finally, a C language is passive: one of which an interpreter has perfect understanding but will only work from, never into (although he/she may speak it very well).
  • AIIC: The International Association of Conference Interpreters. link
  • AD5/AD7: Staff members are given a grade according to their level of expertise. The grading system for administrators (AD) ranges from 5 to 16. 

    New staff interpreters usually enter at either AD5, which is graduate level, requiring no professional experience, or AD7, which for interpreters requires at least 4 years' graduate-level professional experience after obtaining their first degree or diploma.  To find out which grade is for you please use our flowchart or visit EPSO'sexternal link website.
  • Dummy booth: A dummy or mute booth is a real interpreting booth in a meeting room, which is not being used by the interpreters during that meeting, and in which student interpreters may sit and listen to the meeting, or practise their interpreting in a realistic environment without turning on the microphone.