Official or co-official languages

Spanish, Catalan, Valencian, Basque, Galician

Brief description of linguistic diversity


Special protection is given to Aranés (Catalunya) and Bable-Asturiano (Asturias). The major immigrant languages are Arabic, Romanian, Bulgarian, Chinese, and English, among others.



Current legislative mandates for LIT and certification

There is no legal requirement to use certified interpreters. The Criminal Procedures Act states qualified interpreter should be used, but when one is not available, anyone “who knows the language” can be appointed by the judge. The Judiciary Act has a similar provision.

Responsible parties:


Current accrediting bodies

Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Sworn Translators-Interpreters

Ministry of Justice: Staff interpreters for the judicial system

Ministry of the Interior: Staff interpreters for the police

Some regional governments and administrations certify sworn translators and/or sworn interpreters in co-official languages.

Equivalent qualifications from other EU or EES countries are recognized.

Does register exist?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains a list of sworn interpreters, principally for consular or diplomatic translation and interpretation. Some regional governments also maintain lists.

Who develops certification exams?

At the national level, joint exams are managed by the Ministry of Public Administration for all of the positions mentioned above under "current accrediting bodies."  Regional governments organize regional exams.

Who/How many rate performances?



There is currently consultation between authorities, university representatives and professional associations, but little actual collaboration.


Test Format:


T & I in one exam?


Screening exam? Describe.

Written translation exam that is eliminatory. Oral exam follows.

Test type/format

Ministy of Foriegn Affairs Sworn Interpreter/Translator: 

            Written translation exam

                 1 journalistic or literary text w/o dictionary (timed) from Spanish

                 1 journalistic or literary text w/o dictionary to Spanish

                 1 legal text with dictionary (timed) to Spanish

             Second round oral exam

                 Brief oral summary of short non-specialized reading. Questions asked on text.  No evaluation of interpreting skills is included.

Ministries of Justice and the Interior:

            Multiple choice questions on the Ministry,  the Spanish   Constitution, the laws governing worker’s contractual rights, organization of the judicial system, etc. (Eliminatory)

Written translating exam (Spanish -> foreign lg, foreign lg ->Spanish)

            Read aloud non-specialized text and conversation with evaluators.

            Interpreting skills are not evaluated.


Domains tested

MFA Sworn interpreter/translator: Translation and oral production skills. No testing of interpreting skills or knowledge of ethics.

Ministry of Justice and Interior: Constitution, judicial system, workers rights, translation. (No oral exercise is included).



Points system combined with holistic evaluation.



Website? Dissemination of info about certification

For the MFA sworn interpreter exam, general information about testing dates and application procedures and some prior exam texts are available on line.


Requirements to sit exam

For the MFA sworn translator-interpreter exam a candidate must be of legal age (18 in Spain), hold a university first degree in any subject, and be a citizen of the EU.


Sample questions or practice exam available?

Limited. Previous tests available upon request from the MFA.


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

None beyond those required to take the exam. Currently the provision of interpreting services is outsourced to a private agency that is responsible for qualifying individuals. Requirements for employment vary by agency.

Cost to candidate/#of locations/ frequency

The MFA sworn translator-interpreter exam is given once a year in Madrid (although it has not been offered in recent years). The cost to the candidate is reasonable. Regional sworn translator and sworn interpreter exams are also given in the capital city of the corresponding region. Cost and frequency vary.

Feedback on exam performance

None, only pass or fail.

Score grievance procedure available


Maximum nº of sittings







Revocation of certification possible?


If so, for what reasons?


Performance monitored? If so, how?

No structured monitoring of performance.