Interpreter accreditation

Accreditation is currently available only for simultaneous or conference interpreting. This is available for both spoken languages and South African Sign Language (SASL). In time, the Institute hopes to introduce accreditation for liaison and court interpreting as well.


Because of the logistics involved in testing interpreting skills, testing sessions are held once or twice a year at different centres, depending on demand. Candidates should therefore not simply submit an application. They must inform the SATI office that they wish to undertake interpreter accreditation and they will then be advised as soon as a large enough group of candidates is available for the relevant arrangements to be made.


Because recordings of texts have to be acquired for interpreter accreditation, the range of languages available is limited. Prospective candidates should check with the SATI office whether accreditation in their desired language combination is possible. An effort will be made to accommodate new languages, but candidates must realise that this may take time and can generally not be done only for a single candidate.


What the exam involves

The interpreter accreditation examinations involve testing of interpreting skills. This is done using recordings, which are assessed on the spot or by accredited or other reputable interpreters from recordings made at the testing sessions. SATI decides on the assessors, and where assessment is done from recordings it is carried out anonymously.


Candidates are assessed on the basis of a set of criteria. A mark of 80% must be obtained on each criterion for a pass.


Go to the links below for more information on the actual exam procedures and assessment criteria.



The assessment process may unfortunately take several months, owing to the procedures involved and the fact that markers may not be readily available. Results are conveyed to candidates by e-mail or post as soon as practicable.


Candidates who pass are issued with a certificate indicating the details of their accreditation and may then use the appropriate abbreviations behind their name to indicate their professional accredited status.


Assessment criteria

Candidates for spoken interpreting are assessed on the following criteria:

  • Accuracy and coherence of message (sense conveyed fully, names, dates, figures, etc. transferred accurately, ability to deverbalise the message, i.e. not to interpret literally)
  • TL vocabulary and register (vocabulary, terminology, register appropriate to subject matter)
  • TL grammar, idiom and purity (tenses, concord, syntax, use of prepositions of mother-tongue-speaker quality)
  • Interpreting technique (fluency of delivery, e.g. little or no hesitation or backtracking ability to vary décalage (‘following distance’) voice quality, e.g. voice and breath control, distance from microphone booth behaviour, e.g. professional handling of documents and equipment, no irritating habits)


Candidates for SASL interpreting are assessed on the following criteria:

  • Language skills (vocabulary grammar, idiom, purity)
  • Content/message (faithfulness to message, accuracy, clarity)
  • Interpreting technique (fluency of delivery, hesitation, backtracking, lag time, irritating habits, eye contact)
  • Professional conduct (preparation, knowledge of the topic, behaviour/dress code)


Further information

Download details of what the testing comprises and how it is conducted from the links below.

Sign into the Members Only area and then go to Accreditation > Application forms for an application form for an exam.

Any queries can be directed to the SATI office.




Simultaneous interpreting accreditation guidelines (21862 bytes)

SASL interpreting accreditation guidelines (19691 bytes)




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