Chartered Institute
of Linguists

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

What is the DPSI?

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. 

What are the benefits?

Recognised by the UK Ministry of Justice and for the UK Police PAIT Scheme, the DPSI is also strongly recommended for work in Health and all public service contexts.

  • Enhance your career - you will be entitled to:
  • The DPSI is an Ofqual-regulated, nationally recognised qualification

What format does the exam take?

The qualification is composed of five units:

  • Unit 01: Interpret consecutively and simultaneously
  • Unit 02: Provide a sight translation into English 
  • Unit 03: Provide a sight translation from English
  • Unit 04: Translate into English 
  • Unit 05: Translate from English

For detailed information on the content and format of the qualification please refer to the DPSI Qualification Specification.

How can I prepare for the exam?

The CIOL Qualifications Level 6 Diploma in Public Service Interpreting is a professional qualification, set at degree level. It is the responsibility of each candidate to ensure that they are sufficiently prepared for the exam, competent in both the source and target languages, have very good interpreting and writing skills and the ability to interpret at a professional level. It is essential that you read the Qualification Specification and our Candidate Information for detailed information about the exam format, criteria and regulations.

The exam is available both to candidates attending courses and to independent candidates. It is good practice to prepare for a professional qualification by following a course of study. Courses are available in different regions of the UK. Please refer to the list of courses and contact course providers directly. Please note that as the Awarding Organisation for the DPSI, we are unable to endorse or recommend any particular course.

Preparing to take the DPSI online

An online demo test is available to help you in preparing to take the DPSI online. This is recommended, to familiarise yourself with the exam software in advance.

This YouTube video guide (click the link or on the picture below) offers advice on joining the DPSI Oral Unit. 

This YouTube video guide (click the link or the picture below) offers advice on joining the CIOLQ Online Exam Delivery Platform for written units. 

For the DPSI Law pathway, you may wish to supplement your preparation and studies with a five-part interactive preparatory online workshop available to CIOL members in our webinar library. Non-members and CIOL Study Affiliates can purchase past DPSI papers using this form DPSI Past Paper Order Form.

Examiner Reports & Sample Law Paper

Candidates may also be interested in recent DPSI Examiner Reports which set out recommendations for candidates based on previous DPSI candidate performance by language. A sample Law paper in English is also available here

DPSI Role Play Topics

Role Play topics for the June 2024 DPSI exam are available to download here.

Unit 01

Interpret consecutively and simultaneously in the public services 

CIOL Qualifications (CIOLQ) listened to feedback received from candidates and training providers and made the decision to change the way in which Unit 01 of the CIOL Qualifications Level 6 Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) is examined. The initial move in 2020 to online assessment (due in part to the Covid-19 pandemic) and our decision to continue to offer online assessments presented an opportunity for us to review and improve the way in which we assess this unit.

Following the success of this approach in the last several years, Unit 01 will continue to 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. In the live exam each audio recording will be approximately 4 minutes in length.

An English Unit 01 paper is available here: DPSI Sample Paper U01.pdf

Key points:

  • An interlocutor 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 headset with a microphone
  • You must have either Windows 10 or 11 for Microsoft or macOS 12.0 or higher for Apple Mac
  • Minimum bandwidth requirement of at least 5 Mbps Upload / 10 Mbps Download
  • It is highly recommended that, where possible, a wired network is used, for faster internet and more reliable connectivity

More about 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 are published on our website in line with the dates confirmed in the Key Dates document. You will be required to interpret consecutively for approximately 20 minutes.

Part B – Interpret simultaneously. You are not 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 are published on our website in line with the dates confirmed in the Key Dates document. You will be required to interpret simultaneously for a period of 10 minutes.

The format of the assessment has been changed for online delivery, but the learning outcomes and assessment descriptors remain the same. The marking and moderation of completed assessments and results processing remain unchanged. 

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


Registration for the November 2024 DPSI exams is open. Please note minimum candidate numbers are required for certain languages to run, so please be ready to register early to avoid disappointment.



For November 2024 the following fees will apply:  

  • Unit 01 - £300
  • Unit 02 - £250
  • Unit 03 - £250
  • Unit 04 - £250
  • Unit 05 - £250

Full exam entry (or a combination of any four units) - £995


For more information, please check our Exam Fees, Invoicing and Billing Policy on our Policies page.


Registration for the November 2024 DPSI is open. Please note minimum candidate numbers are required for certain languages to run, so please register early to avoid disappointment. You can register and pay using the Register Now button below.


Once you have submitted the registration form, you will be taken to PayPal to complete the payment. You do not need to have a Paypal account to book and pay, you can pay securely via PayPay using a debit/credit card. Your payment will be taken by the IoL Educational Trust, CIOL's associated educational charity.



If you are interested in other languages or in taking the DPSI later in 2025, please express an interest here

For help and support with registration and payment contact us at




Please refer to our Policies page to find further information on all aspects of our exams.


Due to illness/personal circumstances I could not attend the exam. Can I request a refund?

Candidates unable to sit an exam due to personal ill health may apply to be considered for the issue of a credit note to the value of 50% of the exam fee received. The credit note is valid for the next available exam session only and has no alternative cash value. 

To apply for a credit note, submit a current medical certificate from your doctor to, no later than two weeks after the exam date. In the absence of any such proof, candidates are liable to forfeit the full exam fee paid. Any difference arising due to increased fees at the next exam session is payable by the candidate.

Something went wrong on the day of the exam. How do I report this?

Please refer to the Special Consideration policy.

How do I submit an enquiry, deliver a compliment, or lodge a complaint?

Please refer to the Enquiries, Compliments and Complaints policy.

What if I want to appeal my result?

Please refer to the Review of Marking and Independent Review Appeals policy.

I have passed a unit, but not the full qualification. Will I receive a certificate?

Yes, you will receive an electronic certificate for the unit which you have passed.

When and how are e-certificates released?

Please refer to the qualification Key Dates document. This gives you the date by which the electronic certificate will be emailed to you.

What is the cost of a resit?

Please refer to the Exam Fees, Invoicing and Billing policy. 

How many times can I resit a unit?

You are required to complete the full qualification within a three-year period. CIOLQ does not specify how many times you resit a unit. The three-year full exam completion period applies from the first year that you receive a unit certificate.