Certifying Your Language Skills
Posted by Dreamer
It’s all about proving what you know: here you’ll find information about the language certifications available for Spanish, Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Valencian.
Do you know Spanish? That’s great, but how can you prove it? Sometimes just saying so isn’t enough. That’s where language certification comes in. It’s a good way to externally validate your language skills in a way that employers, universities, and others in Spain and around the world take seriously. So let’s take a look at the main language certifications available for the Spanish, Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Valencian languages. These certificates are awarded after you have passed the corresponding exams.
The Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE) issued by the Cervantes Institute (Instituto Cervantes) are to Spanish what the University of Cambridge ESOL exams are to English: widely-recognized and prestigious language certifications. The DELE exams are only available for general English, however.
The DELE exams are offered at three levels: Nivel Inicial, Nivel Intermedio, and Nivel Superior. Each exam is divided into five sections which test reading comprehension, written expression, listening comprehension, grammar and vocabulary, and oral expression. Test dates are offered three times a year in an impressive number of countries and cities throughout the world. After the exam it takes approximately three months to find out your results. For more information (in English and Spanish) on the Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera, see here.
For more specialized language certification, however, Madrid’s Chamber of Commerce – the Cámara Oficial de Comercio e Industria de Madrid – offers different types of professionally-oriented language certificates (Certificado Básico, Certificado Superior, Diploma) in three subject areas: business, health, and tourism. The exams are offered in Madrid and test the following skills: listening comprehension, oral expression, written expression, reading comprehension, and language knowledge (aka grammar and vocabulary). You can read more about these certificates (in Spanish) here.
The Euskararen Gaitasun Agiria (EGA) (or Certificado de Conocimiento del Euskera as it is known in Spanish), is issued by the Basque government and accredits a person’s general knowledge of the Basque language. However, the exam is only offered at one level – C1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages – which means that your Basque must be pretty spectacular in order to pass. This certification doesn’t have foreign speakers in mind though, but the Spanish-Basques who need to prove their Euskera skills in order to get certain government jobs. The battery of exams is offered twice a year in the Basque Country and has three parts offered on separate testing days. For more information (in Spanish), see here.