The interpretation test developed and administered by ALTA Language Services encompasses all of the important skills one must use in an interpreting situation. It is a 30-minute test that requires you to interpret from English to the target language, and from the target language to English. The test deals with different types of speech, a variety of vocabulary, and dialogue units of different lengths. You must be able to deal with idioms and phrases, and must be able to handle both formal and conversational speech.
The test is designed for candidates who have practiced the skills specific to the task of interpretation, whether in a training course or by self-study. An individual who has excellent oral skills but who has not completed any sort of interpreter training will likely find ALTA’s interpretation test to be very difficult.
The interpretation test is given over the phone, with two evaluators participating (one for each language). One of the evaluators will provide these instructions at the start of the test:
- You are allowed to take notes during the test, but you are requested to start interpreting as soon as we stop speaking.
- You will interpret the English portions into the target language, and you will interpret the target language portions into English.
- Please do not begin interpreting the given unit of dialogue until the evaluator is finished speaking.
- You may make 2 requests for repetition over the course of the test. If, after these 2 repetitions, you are unable to interpret a given unit of dialogue, the evaluator will simply move on to the next portion of the test.