Legal Interpreters / Translators How to become a legal interpreter/translator

Admission criteria for becoming a legal interpreter/translator in Austria:
  • a diploma in translation and/or interpreting (minimum: 240 ECTS credits) and proof of one year of experience as an interpreter/translator prior to applying for certification, or
  • without a diploma in translation and/or interpreting: proof of three years of experience as an interpreter/translator during the five years prior to applying for certification

Interpreters and translators must also have professional qualifications to be able to apply for admission as certified legal interpreters/translators (language skills: CERF level C1). Hence, they must also be familiar with
  • the legal and court system of Austria and of the country/countries where their other working language is the official language
  • the legal and economic terminology of the countries concerned as well as a good knowledge of the terminology of other specialized fields (medicine, technology, etc.)
  • the interpreting modes (consecutive, simultaneous/whispered, sight interpreting/translation) as well as translation techniques
  • the code of professional conduct.

Several documents (birth certificate, police record, proof of nationality, diplomas, proof of professional experience, CV, etc.) must be submitted to the competent court when applying for certification.

The ÖVGD has published extensive educational material to help candidates to prepare for the certification examination. Please visit the ÖVGD web shop. A guide (Ratgeber zur Prüfungsvorbereitung) available in German only can be downloaded from the ÖVGD website and gives detailed information about how to prepare for the examination.

The certification examination before a jury (1 judge, 2 language experts) consists of four parts:
  • test of legal terminology (definitions and acronyms in German)
  • (written) translation of a short text in both directions
  • sight interpreting/translation in both directions
  • a short “mock trial” with interpreting in both directions

Successful candidates will become certified for a 5-year period which can be extended for further 5-year terms, depending on the court interpreter’s/translator’s job record and proof of CPD activities.

In Austria those who have passed the certification examination, are awarded the professional title of “allgemein beeideter und gerichtlich zertifizierter Gerichtsdolmetscher”. They work both as interpreters and translators.