Intermediate vs B1? – More about linguistic proficiency

Recently I spent some time writing my CV and I got a bit stuck on my level of proficiency in some languages. After doing a bit of research I realised that there are several ‘proficiency frameworks’ and each one uses a different system to indicate the levels. Luckily I came across the Languages Ladder on the CILT website, which maps the different qualification levels in one clear table. My prefered system is the CEF (Common European Framework), which consists of the levels A1-2, B1-2, and C1-2. The table shows that a Higher GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education in the UK) is equivalent to B1, while an A-level would class as B2.

In terms of stages (which are most appropriate for a CV), having a Higher GCSE means   an ‘intermediate’ or ‘conversant’ level in the language, whereas being a fluent or native speaker can be marked as ‘proficiency’, or C1 on the CEF ladder. I have also downloaded and completed the European Language Portfolio, which gives detailed information about my linguistic proficiency levels in each of the languages, together with evidence of my cultural awareness. I recommend the ELP to everyone who wishes to apply for a job in the areas of translation/interpretation, linguistics, teaching etc. The document couldn’t be simpler: ticking the boxes for a number of ‘can do’ statements to determine a CEF level, and providing evidence of lingual ability by attaching some work written in the language concerned. Simple!


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