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      If you need to certificate your command of a foreign language, consider taking internationally recognized examinations.


 Contents
  The ALTE framework          
 

Basque
Bulgarian
Catalan
Chinese
Czech
Danish
Dutch
English
Esperanto
Estonian
Finnish
Flemish
French

 

Gaelic
Galician
German
Greek
Hebrew
Hungarian
Irish Gaelic
Italian
Japanese
Latvian
Lithuanian
Luxembourgish

 

Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Russian
Slovak
Slovene
Spanish
Swedish
Turkish
Valencian
Welsh

 
- - - - - - -
   
                 
                 
   

The ALTE
framework

     

In order to make it easier for you to compare certificates for different languages, we have tried to match them with the proficiency levels defined by ALTE (Association of Language Testers in Europe) and by the Council of Europe in its "Common European Framework of Reference for Languages" (CEFR).

Warning: This information may be inaccurate. Refer to the institution issuing each certificate for precise information.

  ALTE CEFR Description Example context
  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
A1/A2 Basic lingo, "traveller's guide" style. Holidays.
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
B1 Knowledge of basic rules, smalltalk. Working as a waiter or as a taxi driver.
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
B2 Recognition of context and style. Working at a tourism office.
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
(B2) Use of different styles. First university studies in the foreign language.
  LEVEL 5
Good User
C1 Recognition of culture-specific points. High-level academic work.
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User*
C2 Use of culture-specific points. High-level academic work in arts.

*Level 6 was introduced by us and is not an official ALTE level.

To know which precise skills are required for each level, refer to the
ALTE website or to the CEFR website, or to the explanation of CEFR levels in German provided by the Goethe-Institut.

The ALTE was founded in 1990. Among its members are prestigious institutions such as Cambridge University (UK) and the Goethe-Institut (Germany). Currently, it covers 24 languages. Anyway, on this page we will try to apply these standards to certificates for other languages.


Alternative certification systems:

  • A similar framework was developed by the ACTFL (American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages). There are 4 skill-oriented levels. Standard tests are also available for specific purposes, e.g. for business, professional, or academic use.
  • UNIcert® is an interuniversity language certificate developed in aegis of the AKS (Arbeitskreis der Sprachenzentren, Sprachlehrinstitute und Fremdspracheninstitute) of the University of Bochum, Germany. The AKS is an association of some 100 language centers of various German-speaking universities.
  • Association for Educational Assessment (AEA), Europe
  • International Association for Educational Assessment
   
                 
                 
   

Basque

      Certificates are conferred by Eusko Jaurlaritza / Basque Regional Government (Basque Country, Spain).    
                 
                 
   

Bulgarian

      The following certifications are conferred by the Department of Language Learning (DLL) of the University of Sofia "St Kliment Ohridski".

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  Standard Test of Bulgarian as a Foreign Language (STBFL) Basic
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
   
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
  Standard Test of Bulgarian as a Foreign Language (STBFL) Intermediate
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
   
  LEVEL 5
Good User
  Standard Test of Bulgarian as a Foreign Language (STBFL) Advanced
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   
   
                 
                 
   

Catalan

      The following certifications are conferred by the Direcció General de Política Lingüística of the Generalitat de Catalunya / Catalan Regional Government (Catalonia, Spain) and the Institut Ramon Llull.

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  Certificat de nivell bàsic de català (A bàsic)
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Certificat de nivell elemental de català (A elemental)
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
  Certificat de nivell intermedi de català (B)
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
  Certificat de nivell de suficiència de català (C) 
  LEVEL 5
Good User
  Certificat de nivell superior de català (D) 
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   

Note: These diplomas supersede the old Certificat Internacional de Català (Bàsic, Llindar, Avançat) conferred by the same institution and the Certificat de Coneixements (A, B, C, and D) conferred by the Junta Permanent de Català.

In addition to these diplomas, there are others related to specific fields: public administration (labeled G), law (J), business (M) and proofreading (K). For more information, see the website of the
Catalan Regional Government.

Remember that Catalan and Valencian are usually regarded to be the same language. Apart from existing political status and controversy, diplomas for both "languages" are usually recognized as interchangeable. The following certifications are conferred by the
Junta Qualificadora de Coneixements del Valencià, a department of the Valencian Regional Government (Spain).

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  Certificat grau elemental
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
   
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
  Certificat grau mitjà
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
   
  LEVEL 5
Good User
  Certificat grau superior
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   
   
                 
                 
   

Chinese

      The following certifications are conferred by the State Commission of the Chinese Proficiency Test. (Information also from Beijing Language and Culture University.)

These are included in the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) / Chinese Proficiency Test.

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
   
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Basic
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
  Elementary-Intermediate
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
   
  LEVEL 5
Good User
  Advanced
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   


Hong Kong University (Hong Kong, P.R.China) also offers the Certificate in Chinese Language (CertChinLang) and the Diploma [...] (DiplChinLang).
   
                 
                 
   

Czech

      The Akademie J.A. Komenského (Czech Republic) is affiliated to The European Language Certificates promoted by the German adult education centers (Volkshochschulen).    
                 
                 
   

Danish

      The following certifications are conferred by the Danish Language Testing Consortium (Denmark).

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  Test 1
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Test 2
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
   
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
  Danskprøve 2
  LEVEL 5
Good User
   
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   
   
                 
                 
   

Dutch

      The following certifications are conferred by the Certificaat Nederlands als Vreemde Taal (CNaVT) of the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and the Instituut voor Toetsontwikkeling (CITOgroep) (Netherlands).

These levels are included in the C
ertificaat Nederlands als Vreemde Taal (CNaVT).

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
   
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Examen Elementaire Kennis (CNaVT)
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
  Staatsexamen Nederlands als Tweede Taal, Examen I (NT2-I)
Examen Basiskennis (CNaVT)
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
  Staatsexamen Nederlands als Tweede Taal, Examen II (NT2-II)
Examen Uitgebreide Kennis (CNaVT)
  LEVEL 5
Good User
   
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   
   
                 
                 
   

English

      The following certifications are conferred by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) (United Kingdom):

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  Key English Test (KET)
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Preliminary English Test (KET)
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
   
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
  First Certificate in English (FCE)
  LEVEL 5
Good User
  Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
  Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

The University of Cambridge and
British Council also offer the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The IELTS test is required prior to enroling in a British, Australian, or New Zealand university. It is also recognized by a number of North American universities, by European universities for so-called international studies, and by professional bodies and immigration services in other countries. Unlike the certifications mentioned above, the IELTS test is an all-in-one test with no levels.

Passing the
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required prior to enroling in a North American (USA / Canada) college or university. The TOEFL is an all-in-one test with no levels: the score you get is what counts.

GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is meant for college graduates and tests proficiency in the jargon of 16 different subjects. GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) tests overall verbal, mathematical, and analytical skills of people pursuing postgraduate studies in management.

There are various other diplomas on the market. For example, the Test of English for International Communication (
TOEIC), supervised by a for-profit company and focusing on English "for the workplace". Moreover, the University of Cambridge offers the International Legal English Certificate (ILEC) and the International Certificate in Financial English (ICFE).
   
                 
                 
   

Esperanto

      Say what? xD    
                 
                 
   

Estonian

      Certificates are conferred by the Ministry of Education (Estonia).    
                 
                 
   

Finnish

      The following certifications are conferred by the Jyväskylän yliopisto / University of Jyväskylä (Finland).

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  Suomen kieli, perustaso 1
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Suomen kieli, perustaso 2-3 / keskitaso 3
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
  Suomen kieli, keskitaso 4-5 / ylin taso 5
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
  Suomen kieli, ylin taso 6
  LEVEL 5
Good User
  Suomen kieli, ylin taso 7-8
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   
   
                 
                 
   

Flemish

      See Dutch.    
                 
                 
   

French

      The following certifications are conferred by the Alliance Française (France).

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  Certificat d'Études de Français Pratique 1 (CEFP1)
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Certificat d'Études de Français Pratique 2 (CEFP2)
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
  Diplôme de Langue Française (DL)
[DELF / DALF]
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
  Diplôme Supérieur d'Études Françaises Modernes (DS)
  LEVEL 5
Good User
  Diplôme de Hautes Études Françaises (DHEF)
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   
   
                 
                 
   

Gaelic

      See Irish Gaelic.    
                 
                 
   

Galician

      Certificates are conferred by the Xunta de Galicia (Galicia, Spain).

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  Certificado de Lingua Galega (CELGA) 1
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Certificado de Lingua Galega (CELGA) 2
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
  Certificado de Lingua Galega (CELGA) 3
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
  Certificado de Lingua Galega (CELGA) 4
  LEVEL 5
Good User
  Certificado de Lingua Galega (CELGA) 5
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   
   
                 
                 
   

German

      The following certifications are conferred by the Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband or the Goethe Institut (Germany).

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  Start Deutsch 2
Grundbaustein Deutsch als Fremdsprache (GBS DaF)
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Zertifikat Deutsch (ZD)
[formerly known as Z. D. als Fremdsprache (ZDaF)]
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
   
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
  Zentrale Mittelstufenprüfung (ZMP)
  LEVEL 5
Good User
  Zentrale Oberstufenprüfung (ZOP)
Kleines Deutsches Sprachdiplom (KDS)
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
  Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom (GDS)

Similar certifications are provided by the Austrian
ÖSD consortium.

For more information on university access and business-oriented diplomas, see
Deutsche Kultur International.
   
                 
                 
   

Greek

      The following certifications are conferred by the Eqniko kai kahodistriako Panehisthmio Aqhnwn / University of Athens (Greece).

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
   
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Veveosi Elinomathias
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
   
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
   
  LEVEL 5
Good User
   
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   
   
                 
                 
   

Hebrew

      The Hebrew Proficiency Test is conferred by National Institute for Testing and Evaluation (Israel).    
                 
                 
   

Hungarian

      Certificates are conferred by the Idegennyelvi Továbbképzö Központ (ITK) (Hungary) and the European Consortium for the Certificate of Attainment in Modern Languages (ECL) at Pécs University (Hungary).    
                 
                 
   

Irish Gaelic

      The following certifications are conferred by the Institiúid Teangeolaíochta Éireann (ITÉ) (Ireland).

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  Réamhtheastas Gaeilge (RTG)
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Bunteastas Gaeilge (BTG)
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
   
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
   
  LEVEL 5
Good User
   
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   
   
                 
                 
   

Italian

      The following certifications are conferred by the Università per Stranieri, Perugia (Italy).

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  Certificato di Conoscenza della Lingua Italiana, Livello 1
(CELI 1)
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Certificato di Conoscenza della Lingua Italiana, Livello 2
(CELI 2)
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
  Certificato di Conoscenza della Lingua Italiana, Livello 3
(CELI 3)
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
  Certificato di Conoscenza della Lingua Italiana, Livello 4
(CELI 4)
  LEVEL 5
Good User
  Certificato di Conoscenza della Lingua Italiana, Livello 5
(CELI 5)
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   
   
                 
                 
   

Japanese

      The Japanese Language Proficiency Test is a yearly test for non-native students, administered by the Japan Foundation. JLPT certification is required by all major Japanese universities.

Note: The following classification into ALTE levels is tentative.

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  JLPT 4
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  JLPT 3
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
  JLPT 2
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
  JLPT 1
  LEVEL 5
Good User
   
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   

Other certificates are conferred by the
Japan Language Testing Association (JLTA)
   
                 
                 
   

Latvian

      Certificates are conferred by the Naturalisation Board of Latvia.    
                 
                 
   

Lithuanian

      Certificates are conferred by Vilnius University (Lithuania).

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  Test of Lithuanian as a State Language, Category I
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Test of Lithuanian as a State Language, Category II
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
  Test of Lithuanian as a State Language, Category III
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
   
  LEVEL 5
Good User
   
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   
   
                 
                 
   

Luxembourgish

      The following certifications are conferred by the Centre de Langues Luxembourg (CLL).

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  Zertifikat Lètzebuergesch als Friemsprooch (ZLaF)
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Éischten Diplom Lètzebuergesch als Friemsprooch (1DLaF)
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
  Zweten Diplom Lètzebuergesch als Friemsprooch (2DLaF)
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
   
  LEVEL 5
Good User
  Ieweschten Diplom Lètzebuergesch (IDL)
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   
   
                 
                 
   

Norwegian

      The following certifications are conferred by the Universitetet i Bergen and the Folkeuniversitetet (Norway).

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  Norskprøve 2 for  voksne innvandrere
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Norskprøve 3 for  voksne innvandrere
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
   
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
   
  LEVEL 5
Good User
  Test i norsk - høyere nivå
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   
   
                 
                 
   

Polish

      Certificates are conferred by Jagiellonian University - Instytut Polonijny (Poland).    
                 
                 
   

Portuguese

      The following certifications are conferred by the CAPLE, Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal).

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  Certificado Inicial de Língua Portuguesa (CIPLE)
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Diploma Elementar de Língua Portuguesa (DEPLE)
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
  Diploma Intermédio de Português Língua Estrangeira (DIPLE)
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
  Diploma Avançado de Português Língua Estrangeira (DAPLE)
  LEVEL 5
Good User
  Diploma Universitário de Português Língua Estrangeira (DUPLE)  
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   

The
Brazilian Ministry of Education confers the CELPE-Bras (Certificado de Proficiência em Língua Portuguesa para Estrangeiros).
   
                 
                 
   

Romanian

      The certification "Atestat de Competenta Lingvistica a Cunostintelor de Limba Romana" (ACLro) is conferred by the Ministry of Education, Research, and Youth of Romania.

This institution is not affiliated to
ALTE.
   
                 
                 
   

Russian

      The following certifications are conferred by the Head Russian Language Testing Consortium of the Ministry for Compulsory and Professional Education of the Russian Federation. (For more information, see the Regional Russian Language Testing Center for Foreigners of the St. Petersburg State University.)

These levels are included in the Test of Russian as a Foreign Language
(TORFL), and the following is an attempt at mapping the certificates to ALTE categories:

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  Elementary test
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Preliminary test
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
  First level certificate
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
  Second level certificate
  LEVEL 5
Good User
  Third level certificate
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
  Fourth level certificate
   
                 
                 
   

Slovak

      The Akadémia Vzdelávania - Anglická jasyková škola (Slovakia) is affiliated to The European Language Certificates promoted by the German adult education centers (Volkshochschulen).

This institution is not affiliated to
ALTE.
   
                 
                 
   

Slovene

      Certificates are conferred by the Univerza v Ljubljani / University of Ljubljana (Slovenia).
 
This institution is not affiliated to
ALTE.
   
                 
                 
   

Spanish

      The following certifications are conferred by the Instituto Cervantes and the Universidad de Salamanca (Spain).

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
   
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Certificado Inicial de Español (CIE)
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
  Diploma Básico de Español (DBE)
[Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera, DELE]
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
   
  LEVEL 5
Good User
  Diploma Superior de Español (DSE)
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   
   
                 
                 
   

Swedish

      The following certifications are conferred by the Stockholms Universitet, Centrum för Tvåspråkighetsforskning and the Institutionen för Nordiska Språk (Sweden) respectively.

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  National Test of Swedish for Adult Immigrants (Sfi-provet), Course B
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  National Test of Swedish for Adult Immigrants (Sfi-provet), Course C 
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
  National Test of Swedish for Adult Immigrants (Sfi-provet), Course D
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
   
  LEVEL 5
Good User
  Test in Swedish for University Studies (Tisus)
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   
   
                 
                 
   

Turkish

      The TÖMER, the foreign-language teaching department of the University of Ankara, provides students with a European Language Passport recognized by the Council of Europe.

This institution is not affiliated to
ALTE.
   
                 
                 
   

Welsh

      The following certifications are conferred by the Cyd-Bwyllgor Addysg Cymru (CBAC) / Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC) and the Bwrdd Yr Iaith Gymraeg (BYIG) / Welsh Language Board (WLB).

  LEVEL 1
Waystage User
  Defnyddio'r Gymraeg: Mynediad
  LEVEL 2
Threshold User
  Defnyddio'r Gymraeg: Sylfaen
  LEVEL 3
Independent User
  Defnyddio'r Gymraeg: Canoradd
  LEVEL 4
Competent User
  Defnyddio'r Gymraeg: Uwch
  LEVEL 5
Good User
  (in development)
  LEVEL 6*
Excellent User
   
   
                 
                 
   
     
   
    Updated: 2016 January 24
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