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EUROPA > Interpreting for Europe > Becoming a Freelance Interpreter


Becoming a Freelance Interpreter with the European Institutions

Freelance interpreters routinely work alongside staff interpreters in meetings served by the interpreting services of the European Institutions. For freelances there is no nationality requirement and all languages worldwide may be considered.

Accreditation as a freelance interpreter is obtained by passing an inter-institutional interpreting test. To be eligible for such a test, you must:

  • Hold a recognised university degree in conference interpreting or
  • Hold a recognised university degree in any subject and a postgraduate qualification in conference interpreting or
  • Hold a recognised university degree in any subject and have documented experience in consecutive and simultaneous conference interpreting. (Experience as a court interpreter, liaison interpreter or company interpreter does not count as experience as a conference interpreter.)

You can find information regarding the current language profiles in demand with the EU interpreting services here.

If you think you are eligible for a test, you should complete an on-line application form and also submit copies of your CV, degrees and/or diplomas giving details of marks obtained for each interpreting component, and, where relevant, proof of sufficient experience. For languages not covered by the diploma some evidence of how the language knowledge was acquired should be submitted (such as certificates or a personal statement).

Once you have done this, you will be sent an acknowledgement of receipt.

Tests are scheduled as necessary. An indicative calendar (see 2014 ) is published every year, but is subject to modifications at any time. As soon as a relevant test is planned, a selection committee will examine your application. You will then be notified that:

  • your application has been accepted and that you are being invited for a test, or
  • your language profile is interesting but not a priority. You will therefore not be invited to a test in the near future. However, , your application will remain valid for a specified period during which you do not need to re-apply, or
  • your language profile is not in line with our requirements. Consequently your application has not been accepted.
  • you do not have the required university diploma or the required professional experience. Consequently, your application has not been accepted.

Please note that participation in a test is upon invitation only.

The EU Institutions are interested in candidates working into or from the languages of the 27 EU member states (28 with the accession of Croatia expected on 1 July 2013), or countries currently engaged in accession negotiations. There is also a limited need for Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian and other non-EU languages.

If you have Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian or Montenegrin as part of your language combination please consult this note and contact SCIC-Signalaic for further information.



However, language profile requirements are subject to change and vary from one language unit to another. Consequently, all valid applications will be considered.

At the accreditation test, you will be asked to interpret speeches in both consecutive and simultaneous interpreting mode(around 6 minutes for consecutive and 10 minutes for simultaneous) from your passive languages into your active language(s), in accordance with the language profile you are offering. At least one of the speeches will be on an EU-related topic. On completion of the test, the panel will inform you of its decision.

Please note that pre-recorded speeches may be used for the simultaneous tests.

For some languages, the accreditation test is organised in two steps. You will not be accredited until you have passed all the required tests.

In this document, you will find the marking criteria used to assess your performance as a test candidate (not an exhaustive list).

If you pass the accreditation test, your name and contact details will be entered into the joint EU database of accredited freelance interpreters. Please note that passing the inter-institutional accreditation test and inclusion on the common list does not confer an automatic entitlement to recruitment.

If you fail the accreditation test, but the panel thinks you have potential, it may recommend that you re-apply for a test.

Conditions for partial reimbursement of travel and subsistence expenses can be found here

Many freelance interpreters are members of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC). The AIIC negotiates working conditions for freelance interpreters with the European Institutions PDF File ( Rules for implementing certain provisions of the Agreement ) + Decision of 20 June 2001 (only FR) PDF File + Classification criteria (valid as of 01/08/2010). PDF File

E-learning "How to become an ACI" (freelance interpreter)

[ Privacy statement ] PDF File

- On-line application form -

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