ISO 13611:2014 Interpreting – Guidelines for community interpreting

This international standard was published in 2014 and will be due for its systematic review in 2019 when it is likely to be revised


This international standard establishes criteria and recommendations for community interpreting during oral and signed communication that enables access to services that people who have limited proficiency in the language of such services. Community interpreting occurs in a wide variety of private and public settings and supports equal access to community and/or public services.

This international standard addresses community interpreting as a profession, not as an informal practice such as interpreting performed by friends, family members, children or other people who do not have the competences and qualifications specified in this international standard or who do not follow a relevant code of ethics.

This international standard is a guidance document. It establishes and provides the basic principles and practices necessary to ensure quality community interpreting services for all language communities, for end users, as well as for requesters and for service providers. Furthermore, it provides general guidelines that are common to all forms of community interpreting. This international standard is applicable to settings where speakers of non-societal languages need to communicate to access services. The settings vary and can include, among others, the following:
– public institutions (schools, universities, community centres etc)
– human and social services (refugee boards, self-help centres etc)
– healthcare institutions (hospitals, nursing homes etc)
– business and industry (real estate, insurance etc)
– faith based organizations (rituals, ceremonies etc)
– emergency situations (natural disasters, epidemics etc)

Interpreting that enables access to services may include services provided in legal settings (police stations, courts, prisons etc) that facilitate equal access to justice. In some countries, legal interpreting, a broad field that includes court interpreting, is not considered part of community interpreting. This international standard does not supersede national standards or legislation which addresses any sector of interpreting, including court or legal interpreting. (See Annex A for further details)

This international standard also provides guidance for the provision of community interpreting services. As a result, this international standard addresses and refers to all parties involved in facilitating any communicative event enables access to community services, such as members of linguistic minorities, community interpreters, community interpreting service providers, public institutions and other stakeholders who provide services to diverse linguistic communities.