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Conference Interpretation

The mission of DG Interpretation is to make possible multilingual communication at the core of EU decision-making by providing quality interpretation services. In order to secure the availability of a sufficient number of qualified conference interpreters, DG Interpretation provides training support to a limited number of courses (in Member States, candidate countries or even third countries when justified by the needs of the EU Institutions) whose curriculum and pedagogical practices (strive to) comply with the criteria below.  This cooperation can start/end at any time.

Cooperation with Universities in EU and Candidate Countries

Criteria for cooperation

Course structure and organisation

Conference interpretation in international organisations is very specific and different from other forms of linguistic mediation. Experience over many years of in-house training and of testing university graduates has led to the conclusion that an interpreting course must meet very high standards if it is to impart a usable professional skill.

Good conference interpreting training is a highly selective process that starts with screening the potential of the candidates (mastery of mother tongue and foreign languages, communication, presentation and analysing skills, general knowledge, etc.) and is not academic nor is it intended for learning languages.

Therefore, Universities and Higher Education Institutes (hereafter referred to as ‘universities’) are encouraged to follow these guidelines, based on the European Master in Conference Interpreting (EMCI) curriculum, developed jointly by leading universities and the EU Institutions:

  • Courses should be organised at Masters or Postgraduate level (preferably structurally independent of language or translation departments)
  • The curriculum and other relevant information about the course must be public and posted on-line
  • Admittance to the course should be open to suitable graduates from all areas of study with appropriate language knowledge and subject to passing a specific aptitude test. Criteria for admission and successful completion of the course should be governed exclusively by principles of quality and not of quantity
  • Courses should consist mainly of practice activity in both simultaneous and consecutive interpreting
  • Training should be given by practising professionals, preferably accredited as conference interpreters to the EU Institutions or other international organisations
  • The course coordinator should also be a practising professional with the pedagogical autonomy to ensure these conditions and having direct influence on the design and monitoring of the course curriculum
  • Final examination juries must be composed of trainers from the programme and external assessors who are also practising conference interpreters
  • Graduates must pass exams in both interpretation modes at the same time to obtain a diploma
  • The quality of the graduates should be appropriate to meet the requirements of an accreditation test in the European Institutions


Need of the service

Where a course meets the required standards, DG Interpretation may back up the training efforts of that university by providing pedagogical and/or financial assistance, subject to availability of resources and according to its succession plan and recruitment needs. At present the needs of DG Interpretation are sufficiently covered by the cooperation with the universities listed below. This list will be regularly reviewed.

Where the course does not (yet) meet the required standards, DG Interpretation may collaborate with it, if necessary in cooperation with the local authorities, when essential to the smooth functioning of the EU Interpretation Services.

Cooperation with partners in non-EU countries

Conference interpreting training courses organised by universities in non-EU countries may also appear on this list, in connection with international cooperation programmes and/or in view of the needs of the EU Institutions and its Interpretation Services.

List of Universities

Disclaimer: inclusion in this list does not automatically entitle the university organising that course to any support. The European Commission cannot be held responsible for the quality of the training provided by the courses listed here.

When choosing a course, please also pay attention to the recommendations published by AIIC.


SCIC-Universities Conference

Ever since 1996, DG Interpretation organises every spring the SCIC-Universities Conference, our DG's flagship annual event that brings together the relevant stakeholders in the interpreting world: representatives of the partner universities in EU Member States and candidate countries, China, Russia, Africa, Canada and the USA, as well as representatives of international organisations and other European institutions.

The main objectives of the conference are to raise awareness on EU requirements concerning interpretation and update participants on the latest developments, but also to create a networking platform and generate vivid debates and exchanges on interpretation-related topics. 

The 2019 edition took place on 4-5 April in Brussels. 

SCIC-Universities Conference 2017