Level 6 Diploma in Community Interpreting Wins Silver

learn_tech_awards_logoThe International School of Linguists (ISL), the specialist training and testing provider for the language services sector, has won a major accolade for its work supporting interpreters.

The Leeds-based company took the silver award for ‘Best Online Distance Learning Programme at the Learning Technologies awards, a prestigious international showcase for the learning and development sector.

The awards programme attracted entries from across the world with more than 30 different countries taking part.

ISL was competing in a field of major national and international organisations including telecoms giants, financial services institutions and fast-growing retailers.

Here’s what the LTA Awards website had to say:

Level 6 Diploma in Community Interpreting – International School of Linguists

In this project International School of Linguists (ISL) effectively addresses a clear gap in the provision of advanced academic qualifications for interpreters. It does so through a design that offers a rich range of context-relevant activities that mirror interpreting in the real world. Impressive support provided through a range of community features supported by a highly committed teaching team combine to achieve high levels of learning satisfaction. The main challenge to delivering a qualification in this sector is where and when the qualification is delivered.

An affordable, flexible and effective distance learning level 6 interpreting qualification now exists through ISL, delivering a diverse blend of learning, creating interactive e-learning modules for its virtual learning environment (VLE), videos of tutors presenting lessons in the classroom, research activities, audio, video and live, optional, classroom workshops.

This project clearly spoke to the judges as they called it ‘very effective’ in addressing a clear gap in the provision of advanced academic qualifications for interpreters.


ISL General Manager, Robert Mynett, said: “I am delighted that ISL’s Level 6 Diploma in Community Interpreting has been recognised at the Learning Technologies awards.

“We pride ourselves on developing high quality interpreter qualifications and for making learning and training affordable, effective and flexible.

“We believe that our award-winning approach to training can be deployed more widely in the learning and development sector and will be making some announcements in the coming months.”

Massive well done to everyone at ISL and our Subject Matter Experts who helped to make this possible.

Thinking of becoming a Legal Interpreter?

Here at ISL we have put together 5 top tips to help anyone considering taking the leap and accepting their first Legal Interpreting booking.

1. Terminology

Imagine yourself in a court room, interpreting between the Judge and the accused, and the Judge says a complex legal term and you have no idea what this means in your native language or what the direct equivalent is. You must prepare yourself for any potential situations involving complex terms. You can do this by compiling a glossary of legal terms. This is easy to do. It involves a little research and practice but it is so useful and convenient to have these glossaries to hand when at a legal Interpreting assignment. Here I have included a few websites that may prove useful to give you a head start:


2. Further details

Some language service providers and agencies are very vague when offering assignments. So it is important to gather as much information from them as possible so you can do your job correctly. Do you know everything about the offered assignment? Where is it? What is it about? Who will be present? Is it face to face, telephone or video remote? Who are you interpreting for? You can only prepare for an assignment once you know all the details about it. If you feel like the information given by the agency isn’t sufficient, ask for more!


3. Professional Etiquette

It may seem obvious but it’s so essential. If you were attending a court case you must be dressed appropriately, a Judge can actually ask you to leave the court if he or she thinks you are not dressed or acting appropriately. Here are a few resources and examples of an Interpreters code of conduct:


4. Mode of Interpreting

Are you familiar with all modes of interpreting?  Consecutive, simultaneous, whispered, sight translation etc.?  As a legal interpreter, it is highly likely that you will need to perform each mode of interpreting and know when to apply them. If there are aspects of interpreting where you feel you need to improve your understanding, it may be worthwhile to undertake a course or qualification to get your skills up to date.


5. Court Room preparations

There are lots of preparation steps to perform before a legal interpreting assignment begins.

Position: Before the assignment begins, you will need to ensure you are positioned appropriately, ensuring that everyone in the room can hear and see you clearly.

Introduction: It is important to introduce yourself, your role and responsibilities so that all parties involved in the assignment are aware of what you are there to do.

Can everyone understand you: It’s also important that you clarify that all parties can understand you. You may have an accent or may have a different dialect to that of the Non-English speaker. This must be made clear at the start of the assignment so relevant actions can be taken.

Note taking: During any interpreting assignment you are permitted to take notes. Note taking is a very effective technique as it helps you remember large chunks of information. Make it known to the professional at the start of the assignment that you will be making notes to ensure you correctly interpret everything that is said. You must destroy these notes after the assignment to avoid breach of confidentiality.


court room, council chambers


If you have not yet received your first legal interpreting booking, ask yourself these questions: have I registered with the relevant language service providers? How good is my CV? Are my skills, experience and qualifications sufficient? Have I exposed myself enough to companies and agencies?

If you want to maximise your chances of being recognised, register and become a part of as many groups as possible.

  • NRPSI: They regulate the interpreting profession in the UK. They are an independent, voluntary public interest body and their core role is to ensure that good standards within the profession are consistently maintained for the benefit of the public and interpreters. Become a member of their register and you will be open to receive direct bookings from companies, the Police and Home Office, plus many more.
  • ITI: ITI has over 3000 interpreter and translator members who specialise in more than 100 languages and dialects from around the world. They maintain the ITI directory of qualified professional translators and interpreters, who have been assessed according to their strict admission criteria. Since 1986 they have continued to represent the translation and interpreting industry at the highest levels. They support government, businesses and organisations in locating the right translation and interpreting resources for their needs. They are also a key resource for information about the translation and interpreting industry.
  • ACCI: ACCI (the Association of Certified Interpreters) is the global body for professional interpreters. Founded in 2013 by Pawel Janicki as the Association of Qualified Translators and Interpreters; in 2016 they became the only organisation focusing solely on the profession of a language interpreter.
  • Hubstaff Talent: Hubstaff Talent is a 100 percent free freelance website where businesses and freelancers can connect - no mark-ups and no fees. Once freelancers create a profile, businesses will be able to search for them based on skills, experience, location or availability and contact the freelancer directly if they feel they'd be a good fit for their team. Freelancers can also browse through hundreds of remote positions on the Hubstaff Talent Remote Job Board.

Further your job opportunities today!

This blog is brought to you by Tess Wilkinson, Learning and Development Specialist, International School of Linguists.




The International School of Linguists (ISL) is widening access to the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI), making it affordable for the first time and increasing the frequency of examinations from once or twice per year to every month. ISL’s aim is to increase the number and quality of linguists who are available to deliver services to British hospitals, courts and other vital public services.

ISL, the UK’s leading provider of interpreter qualifications, has teamed up with Training Qualifications UK, an awarding organisation recognised by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation, to deliver the highly regarded qualification. TQUK award over 310 qualifications across 8 sectors and provide more interpreting qualifications than any other Awarding Organisation.

Until recently, the DPSI qualification was offered by a sole provider and in the opinion of many of our interpreters the route to qualification was restrictive in terms of languages, locations, timetables and cost.

The ISL qualification includes all of the same standards as our competitor, however, ISL is making it more widely available. From today, exam dates will be available every month of the year, and available from anywhere in the UK, in over 200 languages. We have also ensured that the qualification is more affordable. In addition, the ISL qualification is the only DPSI to offer all 5 units at level 6, making it the highest standard DPSI available.

Independence and fairness are at the heart of everything ISL does, that’s why we work with an Ofqual-regulated TQUK. Working with an independently owned, awarding organisation means that the quality of our qualification is guaranteed.

ISL General Manager, Robert Mynett, said: “The DPSI is a well-regarded qualification and has been producing the highest quality interpreters for many years. Following feedback from our interpreters, we are delighted that we can now improve accessibility, frequency, and affordability for interpreters across the UK.

Andrew Walker Managing Director at TQUK said: “We are delighted to have been approached by ISL and others within the interpreting sector to develop this new, exciting alternative to the established DPSI qualification.

Speaking to expert practitioners and training delivery staff during the development process, it quickly became apparent that the sector was crying out for a more flexible approach to assessment which removed barriers to learning and achievement, allowing more people to undertake this valuable qualification.  We have applied tried and tested vocational assessment methodologies to this qualification and are proud to be able to use our expertise to meet a need in the marketplace as identified by our subject experts and existing centres.

This qualification is rigorous, robust and reliable. We are confident that upon achievement learners will find themselves in possession of the highly specialist skills required and desired by the legal profession. We look forward to awarding our first certificates soon.

ISL was established in 2010 as a provider of training and testing that specialises in the language services industry. Over the last seven years we have grown to become the UK’s leading provider of interpreter qualifications and delivers quality provision to hundreds of students.

Do you have questions regarding our DPSI? Ring the team on 0800 757 3475 or email us on info@islinguists.com.