National Occupational Standards

Sector Profile

We live in a multilingual, multicultural world. Due to this, our engagement with non-English-speaking persons in business will remain a challenge unless we develop our capacity in other languages. We believe that with increased ability in languages, the UK will:

  • Be more successful in the global economy
  • Build better relationships at home and abroad
  • Enable young Britons to compete with their international peers

The UK government states that Britain’s focus is on boosting economic growth, keeping people in employment and creating new jobs. This means working with European partners and preparing the workforce to compete globally in the 21st century. However, only 6% of the world’s population speak English as a first language. Furthermore, 75% of the world’s population doesn’t speak any English at all.

We aim to increase language proficiency throughout the UK and develop intercultural working skills to successfully compete in the global economy.


We oversee five NOS suites in languages and intercultural skills for business.


These standards cover the skills and knowledge needed to use a language in a work setting. They can be applied to any language and in any work context. This allows learners to choose specific standards at a level that is most suitable for them.

  • Four skills: understand, speak/sign, read, and write.
  • Seven levels: from basic to complex to specialist.

Language (PDF) ⇢
Language NOS Guidance (PDF) ⇢

Intercultural Skills

These standards cover the skills and knowledge needed to work with people (both in the UK and internationally) from different countries or diverse cultures in ways that promote respectful interaction, better understanding and improved performance.

Intercultural Working (PDF) ⇢


These standards cover what individuals need to do, and the knowledge and skills they require, in order to be competent professional translators. They describe core aspects of translation performance at both professional and advanced levels, as well as relevant support activities such as project management and mentoring colleagues.

Translation (PDF) ⇢


These standards cover what individuals need to do, and the knowledge they need to acquire, in order to become competent, professional interpreters.

CFAINT01 – Assess Your Ability to Undertake Interpreting Assignments (PDF) ⇢
CFAINT02 – Prepare for Interpreting Assignments (PDF) ⇢
CFAINT03 – Interpret One-Way as a Professional Interpreter (PDF) ⇢
CFAINT04 – Interpret Two-Way as a Professional Interpreter (PDF) ⇢
CFAINT05 – Evaluate & Develop Your Professional Practice as an Interpreter (PDF) ⇢
CFAINT06 – Produce Sight Translations Within Interpreting Assignments (PDF) ⇢
CFAINT07 – Produce Immediate Translations Within Interpreting Assignments (PDF) ⇢
CFAINT08 – Work With Other Interpreters (PDF) ⇢
CFAINT09 – Undertake Remote Interpreting Assignments (PDF) ⇢


These standards are for people who are working as professional lipspeakers or who wish to achieve accreditation as a professional lipspeaker to work with deaf, deafened and/or deafblind people.

Lipspeaking (PDF) ⇢

Speech to Text Reporter

The suite was developed in partnership with The National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People. The NOS are for people who have language skills equivalent (but not necessarily accredited) to level 5 of the UK Occupational Language Standards and Speech to Text Reporting skills and who would like to develop or gain accreditation for the skills needed to work as a professional Speech to Text Reporter.

Speech to Text (PDF) ⇢

Define the Standards for Your Sector

Our NOS and frameworks have been developed to best represent the skills that you need in your sector. If you would like to join one of our sector-focused steering groups and ensure that training continues to work for your business, please contact us on

We are proud to work with

Instructus Skills is a pan-sector body that represents the training needs of over 11 million employees across the UK. From consultations to certification, we ensure that apprenticeships deliver the skilled workers that employers need.

In other words, we make apprenticeships work.