Q.1 What languages can I learn?

Our trainers are normally native speakers from Europe, Asia, the USA & Oceania.

Q.2 Which languages and language combinations do you translate?

We regularly translate more than 50+ languages into or out of German and English. We also translate other combinations e.g. French into Norwegian or Japanese into Dutch. If you have a language that is less common we are happy to find the right translator for your language combination.

Q.3 Which languages do you interpret?

We have contact to interpreters with over 144 language combinations located mainly in Europe and Oceania.


Q.1 Where do I find the language test?

Registered users can find the language test inside the client centre — please use the following link to login: Client Centre

Q.2 What is a CEF Level (A1-C2)?

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages CEFR was developed for foreign language learning, teaching and assessing.
The standard describes the language ability level on a scale from A1 for beginners up to C2 for near-native speakers.
Each level consists of statements describing what a learner “can do”.
For each level approximately 200 guided learning hours are required.

This system allows learners, trainers or employers to identify what language level a learner currently has. It describes the levels they want to reach i.e. “can do” and the linguistic skills they may want to acquire.

CEF table diagram

Q.3 How long does it take to learn a language?

Anyone can start learning a language, some 120 to 200 guided learning hours are needed to move up a CEF level e.g. from A1to A2. Success, nevertheless, differs from person to person. Many different factors are involved, e.g. motivation, learning ability, classroom hours and time spent learning and practicing the language.

skills to learn a language

Speaking a second language, the learning environment and need to learn are also relevant, as is the learning intensity. Additionally, the learner’s first language plays an important role, especially if they have to learn a new alphabet or system of writing, e.g. Chinese characters or Arabic script.

It’s fun understanding different cultures and communicating with people in a new language.

We will support you to learn a new language. It is a pleasure to develop a learning plan based on your personal interest and motivation. Our trainers love helping people acquire new language skills.

Q.4 When is individual training better than being in a group?

One-to-one training means your learning needs are exactly tailored to. Your learning path, speed and goals are personalized. You can learn at your own pace. This way is more flexible, especially if your needs change, thus resulting in greater learning impact.

Find out more about our different training courses: language training.

Q.5 When is group training beneficial?

Group training is very useful when several persons at the same level have to acquire a language for similar reasons: – meetings, presentations or negotiations – working in the same project with foreign partners – talking about the same topics e.g. European tax laws – being in the same department e.g. Purchasing, Human Resources, Finance

Finally, you learn a lot by interacting with your colleagues, and it is also cost effective.

Q.6 What sort of content can be dealt with in language training?

The course content is tailored to the learners’ needs. Participants and trainer identify the key content to be covered and agree on learning objectives.

For example, for the purpose of facilitating or participating in meetings, the learning content would include giving you the written and spoken language skills to use the right phrases and terminology. This could also include: – email invitations, agenda, minutes of meeting, and other documentation – opening and closing the meeting – decision-making and persuading – dealing with conflict and reaching agreement – clarification and giving feedback – finalizing and agreeing on deliverables or deadlines

Other learning content could cover email communication, organising meetings, makinge email communication more productive, giving presentations and speeches a meaningful message, making negotiations more professional, enhancing your business correspondence.

Q.7 What are the differences between face-to-face, online and blended training?

We are flexible and can offer the form of  training or coaching that best suits your requirements, whether it is on-site with a trainer who’s physically present, or an online course for individuals from regionally diverse companies or organisations. Even a combination of blended training (both online and face-to-face with one of our qualified staff can be arranged to fit your daily schedule. Contact us so we can determine the best solution for your learning needs.

Q.8 What are the challenges of leading international project teams when communication is virtual?

Leading a team is a challenging management task made even more challenging when your teams come from different countries and cultural backgrounds. To develop the awareness and knowledge needed when working internationally, merle & sheppard specialists design programs just for you. The training provides you with a toolkit and coaching, both online and face-to-face. You learn different ways to communicate with teams virtually and cross-culturally, to develop team trust, deal with conflict, and to encourage team spirit.

Q.9 Why is cross-cultural awareness essential when working with international partners?

Although you might be communicating in a common language each culture has different expectations, beliefs and behaviours. Some cultures express emotionally and directly, others avoid direct conflict and saying “no”. Being able to read between the lines and understand how silence is valued avoids misunderstandings. Not only are there national cultural profiles, but your partners will have a personal cultural profile based on their experience and own nationality which affects how they communicate with you. Cross-cultural awareness enables you to adapt your own behaviour and understand your partner’s.


Q.1 Which languages can be translated?

merle & sheppard can translate your text from many source languages into the target language of your choice or vice versa.
Native-speaking translators with an academic degree ensure you are getting first-class translations. We can handle many different source texts and file formats covering different topics.

Q.2 What is a certified translation? When do I need a certified translation?

A certified translation is a legal confirmation that the content of a translated document is exactly the same as in the original version. It is frequently used for legal and official purposes, e.g. birth certificate, driver’s license and identity card — mainly in other countries. Only certified translators are allowed to issue these documents which must be specially stamped.

Q.3 Does the translator require the original documents for a certified translation?

Government and legal bodies often require notarized translations. This type of certification requires the original documents, because the translated documents have to be certified by a notary, who typically validates them with an official stamp.

The following documents require an original:

  • Birth and marriage certificates
  • Driver’s license
  • Diploma, degree and school certificates
  • Identity cards and passports
  • Salary statements
  • Court rulings and legal documents
  • Medical records

Please contact us to coordinate the availability of documents, when a notarized translation is necessary.

Q.4 Why do you offer translation and proofreading as separate tasks?

A translated document can be free of error, and it does serve the main purpose of understanding text in a foreign language. Nevertheless, a proofreader not only looks at specific details e.g. consistency of story line, correct grammar and word usage, they also consider style and localization factors, e.g. special ethnic, gender or local user factors, to ensure the text meets the right quality standard.

Q.5 How long does it take to have my translation ready?

The translation time depends on different factors, e.g. document size, source and target languages, proofreading, document format, whether a certified & notarized translation is necessary, quality expectations, target audience etc.

Q.6 What is the cost of a translation?

The cost of a translation is based on:

  • The number of words to be translated
  • The language combination
  • Whether other related services are required, e.g. formatting, proofreading, quality reviews
  • Use of translation technology
  • Urgency
  • Complexity of topic e.g. scientific publications, highly specialized legal topics
Q.7 How can translation technology support quality?

Translation technology is most suitable for texts with repeated segments e.g. contracts, catalogues, online webshops, guidelines, instruction booklets and user manuals etc. Key terminology, phrase segments or corporate wording is stored in the database, and repeated segments or approved terminology are only used in the translation. This guarantees consistency of text and higher quality levels.


Q.1. Which kind of interpreter is best for me?
  •     Depending on your requirements and the event location, interpreters can be on-site or remotely located (interpreting by phone or video).
  •     Simultaneous interpreting ensures smooth, accurate and fast communication, e.g. at conferences or large meetings. Interpreters are in a booth or at the back of the room. They work in pairs, swapping every 30 to 45 minutes.
  •     Consecutive interpreting sometimes is cheaper, and technical equipment is not always required on-site. It gives listeners time to process and reflect on the content, which is often needed in negotiations and complex discussions. It is more common in smaller groups. However, telephone interpreting is usually consecutive.
  •     Whispered interpreting (chuchotage) is normally for short meetings and only for one or two persons. It is not recommended for groups or when several interpreters translate different languages at the same time in the same room.
  •     Liaison interpreting is preferred when the interpreter’s role is not only to translate, but also helps to clarify information or complete a task, e.g. for legal matters, health issues, immigration and education authorities.
  •     Telephone interpreting is the ideal solution when geographically separated people want to talk, but do not share a common language. The interpreter is also elsewhere, thus saving travel costs. The telephone call might only last 15 minutes and can clarify important issues quickly and efficiently. The interpreter cost is minimal.
  •     Video interpreting is an ideal alternative when participants don’t need to be on-site for a meeting. There are no travel costs and it is time-saving. The webinar or video conference can be multilingual with each partner setting their own language preference.
Q.2 What kind of costs occur when booking an interpreter?

The cost of an interpreter depends on several different factors: language combination, topic, event, distance to location or working remotely, duration and technical requirements, etc.

The following need to be considered:

  • On-site or remote
  • Interpreter’s fee
  • Professional qualifications & experience
  • Travel & accommodation expenses
  • Technical equipment (booth, headsets, microphones, etc.)
  • Recording & copyright
Q.3 Why can I only book an on-site interpreter for a full day?

Firstly, preparation time prior to the event is included in the daily fee. The time spent travelling to and from the location prevents the interpreter from taking on other work. Therefore they have to block the whole day.

Q.4 Why do interpreters normally work in pairs?

Interpreting is an extremely demanding job. It requires full concentration, knowledge of industry-specific terms and the ability to operate in two languages simultaneously. The interpreter listens, understands, translates and then speaks — all at the same time. To maintain this high level of concentration it is essential that the team switch roles every 30-45 minutes to ensure that accurate, high-quality interpreting is guaranteed.

Q.5 What sort of technical equipment do I need for an interpreter?

For a conference or large event our technical partners provide booths and a technician as well as headsets and microphones for your guests.

  • For plant tours a mobile unit plus headsets and a microphone for the interpreter is more suitable
  • For telephone interpreting we only need to schedule your call and have your telephone numbers.
  • For video conferencing our partners provide the online application.
Q.6 How can I support the interpreters to do an excellent job?

The more information interpreters have, the better their translation. Interpreters prepare for every assignment in advance and need to know what the event and topics are about. It is extremely helpful to provide industry-specific information and resources (program, venue, duration, audience, products, documents like presentations or reference material) well in advance.

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Where to find us

Headquarters Germany:

Augustastr. 58, D-42119 Wuppertal
Ph. +49 (0) 202 / 69 58 79 0     Fax +49 (0) 202 / 69 58 79 19
mail@language-consulting.com     Find us on Google Maps

Headquarters New Zealand:

16 Lakewood Ave, Churton Park
6037 Wellington, New Zealand
mail@language-consulting.com     Find us on Google Maps