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Conference Interpreting

Degree: Master of Arts
Application: mandatory
Course commences: winter semester only
Standard period of study: 4 semesters
Format options: full-time only
Language requirements: On application (see admission regulations):
  • A-language = native language
  • B-language = active foreign language (at least C2 level)
  • C-language = passive foreign language (at least C2 level)
  • German as B-language: at least DSH3 level
Languages available: German, English, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish
Other features: postgraduate, consecutive
Institute homepage:


Faculty of Modern Languages

The Master’s degree programme in Conference Interpreting conveys the scientific as well as methodological/practical competences required of conference interpreters.

It covers consecutive interpreting and simultaneous interpreting from B- and C-languages into the A-language, and from the A-language into the B-language. The A-language is normally the strongest language, native or working language, while the B-language is an active and the C-language a passive foreign language. Interpreting competences are predominantly based on translation studies and cognitive sub-competences (e.g. strategic auditory analyses, memory management, coordinating processes) of interpreting, as well as note-taking and linguistics.

The Institute of Translation and Interpreting (Institut für Übersetzen und Dolmetschen, IÜD) can look back on a long tradition of teaching and research. It began its activities in the summer term of 1930, which makes it the oldest institution of its kind in Germany. Owing to its numerous connections and its cooperation with international institutions, the IÜD can offer its students a wide range of exchange options to choose from. It also has an on-site Internship Centre that can be contacted at any time (not only in term-time). In embarking on their careers, graduates are supported to an unusual degree by the academic staff, almost all of whom are professional interpreters themselves, and by an in-house job mart. After graduation, students can go on to work for a PhD in the subject.

Course Outline

The aim of the course is to impart to students all the simultaneous and consecutive interpreting skills they require to work as professional conference interpreters for international organisations such as the EU, UNO or ECB, or as freelancers operating at multinational events like political conventions, academic conferences, etc. Professional interpreters need a sound academic grounding and a good working command of these techniques.

Native speakers of German (German as A-language) will choose two of the foreign languages on offer at the IÜD as their B- and C-languages. Students with a different A-language are required to have German as their B-language and English as their C-language. German cannot be selected as a C-language.

Research focuses and course content

  • theoretical and methodological principles and current issues in linguistics, culture and interpreting theory; participation in research projects at the Institute
  • simultaneous and consecutive interpreting
  • ancillary skills: terminological studies, note-taking for consecutive interpreting, etc.
  • interpreting as cultural and intercultural competence – participation in a multi-day conference at the Institute

a study-relevant sojourn abroad for at least eight weeks in a country whose national language is the student’s B-language

Course structure

The standard period of study for the M.A. course in Conference Interpreting is four semesters. The third semester is shortened to enable students to submit their M.A. thesis on schedule. The total of courses required for successful graduation corresponds to 120 credit points (CP) or 66 hours of classes.

An integral part of the course is the study-relevant sojourn abroad for at least eight weeks in a country whose national language is the student’s B-language. Students are also given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the practical side of interpreting at an in-house multi-lingual conference taking place every Monday in term time (Montagskonferenz).

After the successfully completed final examination, students can take the supplementary examination in a third language (C-language) offered by the Institute of Translation and Interpreting.

Teaching in the (recommended) special subjects (medicine, economics, law etc.) takes place at the corresponding Faculties of Heidelberg University.

Formal requirements


Access to the course is restricted. As there is an oral aptitude test before the course begins, timely application is of the essence. You will find the admission regulations here.

Prospective students (both German and international) apply centrally via Heidelberg University’s online application procedure.

Further information

Updated information on the application procedure

Application dates

1 April to 15 May for the winter semester

Study and examination regulations

Examination Regulations (13 May 2009, expiring)
Examination Regulations (6 November 2015; last update 6 July 2017)

Module Handbook

Please click here to find the latest Module Handbook.

Examinations board

Issues arising in connection with examinations, credit transfer and academic credential recognition are dealt with by the relevant examinations board/office. For more information, consult the academic advisor(s) indicated below.


Heidelberg University tuition fees are payable at the beginning of each semester.


The M.A. course in conference interpreting is accredited until 31. March 2022.


Academic advisors

A list of the academic advisors at the IÜD and their office hours can be found on the website of the School of Translation and Interpreting.


Institut für Übersetzen und Dolmetschen (IÜD)
Plöck 57a
D-69117 Heidelberg

Secretaries' office

phone: +49 (0)6221 547560
fax: +49 (0)6221 547561


Student representation: IÜD Student Council


E-Mail: Seitenbearbeiter
Letzte Änderung: 2018-03-08
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