Official or co-official languages

Dutch, French, German

Brief description of linguistic diversity

English, Arabian, Romanian, Polish, Bulgarian, Russian, Spanish, Albanian, Italian, Turkish, Serbian. (cfr the 3th Salduz evaluation report:  44  languages in April/ May 2012)



Current legislative mandates for LIT and certification

There is a legal requirement to use sworn LITs, but sometimes police and judges appoint individuals without this qualification. To become a sworn LIT no certification is required.  There are different practical regulations in different regional courts. Interpreters & translators are basically untrained, untested and unattested.


Antwerp Project: University experts from Lessius /KuLeuven/Thomas More have worked together with the court, the bar, and the police to develop training and testing for LITs.

Responsible parties:


Current accrediting bodies

Sworn Interpreters/translators are designated as such by different regional courts or prosecutor services. Criteria differ but may include a practical test, presentation of a diploma of studies, simply taking an oath. Real selection, training and certification exams do not exist in most cases.


Antwerp Project: accreditation by regional court after certification by KuLeuven/Thomas More (initial screening, training, exams)

Does register exist?

Only local unofficial registers exist.


Antwerp: In Antwerp a register was created in 2003 and is managed by the Court, in team with the District Attorney and the Bar. Criteria for inclusion are certification (initial screening, training and exams Lessius), good morality (no criminal record), and legal resident status. 

The register is broadly recognized and accepted by stakeholders (Courts, Police, Bar, private persons) in the Antwerp District.

Who develops certification exams?

Antwerp project: KuLeuven/Thomas More in team with magistrates, lawyer, and police have developed training and certification exams. Training entails approximately 150 hours (including screening) and is for translators and interpreters. Initial screening in Dutch and other specific language is carried out for all candidates (minimum results 80%). Training then includes the law (introduction, criminal law, criminal procedure, civil law, civil procedure, juvenile law, social law, immigration law, legal internetsources, deontology), police role plays, legal Dutch, and visits to the court. All courses are taught in Dutch.

There are also legal translation (theoretical and practical) and legal interpreting (theoretical and practical) components (20h).

Who/How many rate performances?



Antwerp Project: The lecturers are professional teachers IT, lawyers, policemen and judges.


Test Format:


T & I in one exam?

Antwerp Project: different for I & T

Screening exam? Describe.

Antwerp Project: Test of knowledge of Dutch and of foreign language, legal terminology, law, and professional ethics for all. The interpreting test consists of a 20-minute role play or a police/court/lawyer interaction, a short  consecutive (4 minute total, original and interpreting),  a long consecutive (6 minute total, 3 original in other language–2-3’ interpreting); a sight translation (maximum 6 minutes); whispered interpreting–(max. 3 minutes, conclusion max. 1 minute). The translation exam is  a legal text: translation (90minutes – 200 source words) + Revision test (20minutes – 10 sentences)+ Recognition test (10 minutes/10sentences).

Test type/format


Antwerp Project: Oral and written examination, role play

Domains tested


Antwerp Project: Terminology, different domains of law, proceedings, professional ethics, languages, IT skills


Good written and spoken Dutch



Website? Dissemination of info about certification


Yes, on

Requirements to sit exam



Sample questions or practice exam available?



Additional qualifications for certification (experience, training, educational level, nationality)

Before the oath moral screening via prosecutor

Cost to candidate/#of locations/ frequency

Antwerp Projecct:  Initial screening Dutch 100€; specific screening other language 100€; course 350€

Feedback on exam performance




Maximum nº of sittings







Revocation of certification possible?

Antwerp Project: No revocation of certification.  However, a district Court/Prosecutor can decide to continue with a LIT or to end the registration of the  sworn LIT temporarily of permanently.

If so, for what reasons?


Performance monitored? If so, how?

No monitoring, except for children's testimony. The use of control interpreters is very rare. If a complaint is filed based on the quality of a translation or interpretation, or in case of misconduct or conviction, the LIT can be excluded from the register.