CIOL Qualifications Level 6 Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI)

To find out how to prepare for the DPSI exam, click here.

The CIOL Qualifications Level 6 Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) has been the benchmark qualification for public service interpreting for over 30 years, and is now available fully online. Linguists seeking recognition as an interpreter can take the CIOLQ DPSI with pathways in Law (English, Scottish and Northern Irish) Health and Local Government.

The CIOLQ DPSI provides candidates with recognition and validation of their skills in these specialist areas and provides reassurance to employers, public bodies and those benefiting from the services of freelancers that the interpretation provided by qualified holders of the DPSI is of the highest professional standard

CIOL Qualifications (CIOLQ) supports professional linguists by providing the gold standard for translators and interpreters recognised widely in the UK and around the world, as well as for other linguists who may have a different primary role but who use their languages on a regular basis in their professional work.

Holders of the CIOLQ DPSI are tested rigorously and in depth to prove they have the language skills, interpreting techniques and the right approach to take on the most demanding assignments. Add CIOL Study Affiliate Membership to that and you have:

  • Membership of the leading professional body for language practitioners
  • Access to online CPD and a community of language professionals and linguists
  • A mentoring programme and an instant job board (Find-a-Linguist)

The CIOLQ DPSI qualifies you not just for work but to become a valued participant in a community of like-minded professionals widely respected for their skill, expertise and experience.

In addition, once you have our DPSI, applying for full CIOL membership and Chartered Linguist status can set you apart to ensure you get the recognition and reward you deserve.

The following languages have been offered to date, paired with English:

Albanian, Arabic (MSA), Bengali, Bulgarian, Cantonese (Traditional or Simplified Script), Czech, Dari, Farsi, French, German, Gujarati, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Kurdish (Sorani), Mandarin (Traditional or Simplified Script), Panjabi (Indian), Pashto, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Portuguese (European), Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tigrinya, Turkish, Urdu.

Please note that no guarantee is given that a particular pathway and language combination  will be set for future exam sessions. Availability is dependent on the number of candidates registering for a specific pathway and language combination in any given year.

Assessment Adaptation - Exam session June 2022  

Unit 01 -  Interpret consecutively and simultaneously in the public services 

CIOL Qualifications (CIOLQ) has listened to feedback received from candidates and training providers and has made the decision to adapt the way in which Unit 01 of the CIOL Qualifications Level 6 Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) will be examined in June 2022.

The initial move in 2020 to online assessment (due to the Covid-19 pandemic) and our decision to continue to offer online assessments in 2022 has presented an opportunity for us to review and improve the way in which we assess the above unit.

We are pleased to announce that as of June 2022, Unit 01 will be assessed via Microsoft Teams using an audio recording for Unit 01 – Part B. You will listen to the audio recording through headphones and interpret simultaneously.

For practice purposes only, a sample English recording is available here:

An English Unit 01 paper is available here:

PDF icon DPSI Sample Paper U01.pdf  


Key points:

  • An invigilator will support you during your Unit 01- Part A and Part B exam.
  • Your laptop/pc must always have a camera and microphone access.
  • You must ensure you have good quality headphones.
  • You must have either Microsoft - Windows 10 or for Macs - OS-X10.9 or later.
  • Minimum bandwidth requirement of at least 2Mbps down/1Mbps up.
  • It is highly recommended that where possible an ethernet cable is used, for faster internet and more reliable connectivity.

Unit 01:

Part A – Interpret consecutively between an English Speaker and a speaker of the Other Language. Both speakers will be present and the exam will be conducted on Microsoft Teams. A recording will not be used for Part A. Role play topics will be published on our website on 06 June 2022. You will be required to interpret consecutively for approximately 20 minutes.

Part B – Interpret simultaneously. You are no longer required to whisper.

You will listen to two audio recordings which you will be required to interpret simultaneously. On the day of the exam an invigilator will share the audio recordings with you. The two recordings cannot be slowed down and there will be no repetition.

The recordings will be as follows:

  • Recording 1: Interpret simultaneously from your chosen language into English
  • Recording 2: Interpret simultaneously into your chosen language from English

Both Recording 1 and Recording 2 will be on the same broad topic but could be from a different area. Role play topics will be published on our website on 06 June 2022. You will be required to interpret simultaneously for a period of 10 minutes.

While the format of the assessment has been adapted for ease of online delivery, the learning outcomes and assessment descriptors remain the same. The marking and moderation of completed assessments and results processing remain unaffected. Your achievement will still be entirely representative of the qualification as a whole.

If you have any questions, please contact our Client Services Team (CST) by email to