Official or co-official languages

Irish and English

Brief description of linguistic diversity

There has been significant immigration only over the last 10-20 years. Migrants have come from all over the world, not only the EU. Numbers in groups vary, with Polish probably the largest



Current legislative mandates for LIT and certification

ECHR requirements apply and there is relatively good provision of interpreters in police stations and the courts. The issue is that these interpreters are basically untrained and untested. LIT arrangements have been outsourced to a commercial company through an imperfect tender which does not require certification and has resulted in reduced fees and expenses for interpreters. Priority is not given to those who have qualifications (e.g. the Graduate Certificate in Community Interpreting, which ran from 2004-2009) or are professional members of ITIA.

Responsible parties:


Current accrediting bodies

The Irish Translators and Interpreters Association (ITIA) is the only accrediting body; applicants for professional membership are tested. Professional members can apply for certified status, which involves and additional test on legal documents. The ITIA has a most informative and helpful web-site

Does register exist?

ITIA offers a register of members who have met its criteria (see web-site) but is not yet a professional regulatory register in the full sense of the term. Professional members are tested but most are translators rather than interpreters. The existing register would not be sufficient to meet the needs of the police and the courts.

Who develops certification exams?

The Irish Translators and Interpreters Association ITIA – for professional members and for certified translator status.

No certification scheme has been developed by government or judicial authorities.

Translation texts sent to selected markers. Interpreter candidates submit to an additional interview and translate out of and into English.

Who/How many rate performances?



There is collaboration between ITIA and universities (Dublin City University in particular) but little or none with judicial authorities, who do not reply to requests to do so.


Test Format:


T & I in one exam?

No. The test for interpreters consists of two short texts, one into English and one out of English. Interpreters also have to attend an interview.

Screening exam? Describe.

Candidates for professional membership are screened to ascertain if they hold qualifications in the area of translating or interpreting and if they have translation/interpreting experience. Interpreters have to pass the translation test first: if successful, they attend an interview.

Criteria for becoming a Professional Member of ITIA in  the Interpreter category include a postgraduate qualification in interpreting, 2 years full-time work as an interpreter with a minimum of 40 days or 280 hours per year, successfully passing the ITIA professional membership exam, OR a recognized university level degree in translation and interpreting, 3 years full-time work and successfully passing the ITIA professional membership exam OR 5 years full-time interpreting work with approval of membership sub-committe as regards other qualifications, and successfully passing the ITIA professional membership exam.

Test type/format

Interview for candidate interpreters (ethics are explored). Interpreting skills not assessed due to the work involved in preparing role-plays in different languages and in ensuring attendance by native speakers of foreign languages.


Domains tested




Cut-off criteria, holistic/scoring units/band descriptors/combined

For translations:

     Pass = satisfactorily meets commercial standard; no critical/major errors and only a few minor erros

     Fail = below commercial standard expected from a translator with at least to years' full-time translating experience.

None provided for oral interview.



Website? Dissemination of info about certification



Requirements to sit exam

All languages are treated equally. No exceptions are made and everyone is tested.


Sample questions or practice exam available?

Yes, translation exams are available for languages which have been tested previously.


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

Candidates must work into/out of English

Cost to candidate/#of locations/ frequency

The cost is 120 euros

Feedback on exam performance

Feedback given to failed candidates

Score grievance procedure available

Appeals procedure available. Candidates who fail the test can ask for a re-test, which costs 35 euros. If the result is changed to a pass, this fee is refunded.

Maximum nº of sittings

No  limit

Permanent or renewable certification Permanent unless a member leaves and wishes to rejoin, in which case they must take the test again





Revocation of certification possible?

Not so far. Disciplinary procedures not yet

If so, for what reasons?


Performance monitored? If so, how?


General additional comments;

Clearly ITIA has done much with little encouragement or support from the legal authorities. Dr Phelan would like this nucleus taken forward through national and consistent system for:

  • Selection
  • Training
  • Assessment/certification
  • Accreditation/registration
  • CPD
  • Acceptable working conditions.