Do you often find yourself speaking Italian in the course of your daily business transactions?
Do you need certification of your Business Italian language skills to advance professionally?
Are you learning Italian with an eye toward establishing your own business, or work with partners in Italy?
If any of these apply to you, you may have a need for official validation of your ability to conduct business in Italian.
The great benefit to sitting for an exam focused on the language of business is that, come time to work in Turin, Bologna or Milan, you have the advantage over anyone who has sat for a mere general language proficiency exam.
It's not for nothing that 90% of all Italian enterprises aver that care must be given to assess non native speakers' language ability!
Come find out why this certification of Italian language learning matters so much to the Italian professional!
What is CIC?
That acronym stands for Certificato dell'Italiana Commerciale – in English: Certificate of Commercial Italian.
This exam is advised for professionals who routinely speak Italian and deal with Italian concerns in the course of their business dealings.
This proof of competency with the Italian language is administered by the University of Perugia, the same institute that delivers the CELI exams.
Unlike other exams that evaluate learners who study Italian, the CIC offers only two levels of attestation:
- Intermediary level, which corresponds to level B1 on the CEFRL – the Common European Framework of Reference for language
- Advanced level, equivalent to level C1 on the CEFRL
While rated approximately the same as other Italian language proficiency exams such as CILS or PLIDA, CIC is much more specialised because it concentrates exclusively on the professional aspect of Italian vocabulary.
While other language exam certificates permit non native speakers to study, work and live in Italy, the CIC is favoured by every enterprise interested in hiring only the most qualified candidates.
And by that, we mean the ones who understand Italian language and culture, as they relate to business!
The CIC, along with the CILS are the only two Italian language certifications recognised by Alte, the Association of Language Testers in Europe: a resolute guarantee of quality and recognition among certificates of other languages.
What to Expect when Sitting for CIC
Whether testing at intermediate or advanced level, CIC attempts to evaluate and quantify aptitudes in five language competencies.
- Reading skills: comprehension of written Italian is measured by the candidate's understanding of more or less complex texts.
- Listening skills: the candidate may listen to an audio recording, or demonstrate this ability through conversation with a native speaker of Italian, or someone who is bilingual.
- This phase of the exam is particularly challenging as it may involve words and phrases from regional dialects, such as: Florentine, Sardinian or Venetian – just as examples.
- The candidate's use of vocabulary and expressions that relate to business weigh heavily in evaluating this portion of the exam.
- Writing skills reflect the your ability to compose thoughts in Italian, using proper sentence structure and word order, as well as the correct verb tense and gender assignment for nouns.
- How the candidate turns a phrase: use of adjectives and adverbs, and overall fluency of writing distinguishes an intermediate from advanced test subject.
- Speaking skills: the ability to communicate effectively in Italian, to express one's ideas, to respond and participate in a conversational setting – all of these criteria are measured through dialogue with a proctor.
The type of test topics you are likely to encounter depends on which level you are sitting for.
Intermediate level candidates would most likely meet issues concerning finding a position, job training; and aspects of stakeholder relationships, such as banks, customers and suppliers.
If you are sitting for the advanced level exam, you would be confronted with subjects reflecting business matters that executives or upper management personnel might face.
The overall themes of the CIC exam are more strategic and theoretic, and could be considered actual scenarios that commonly happen in the course of business.
To prepare, you could take Italian courses London or in another British city near you - with your own private tutor!
A Word About Results
Whereas most other language certification programs grade students learning Italian as a second language on a range of one hundred points, the CIC has a point ceiling of two hundred.
To obtain a grade commensurate with other exams, one simply needs to divide their CIC score by two.
Once that is done, you only need to plug your score into this table to obtain your band:
As evidenced here, a result up to nine points places you in Band 1.
Should your score fall between 85 and 100 points, you would fit into the highly desired band 6.
Where can You Sit for CIC? (and How Much Does it Cost?)
Let us address the second domanda first.
It is a short answer; really best to get it out of the way!
Depending on whether you will sit for intermediate or advanced level, your cost would be 140 to 160 euro.
This avenue of demonstrating how fluent you are in this romance language being targeted to a select audience, review courses and preparation classes are not as prevalent as with more widely known exams.
If you are studying Italian in the UK, we recommend that you contact the Italian Cultural Institute for a test schedule, and to see if any preparatory classes are available close to your home.
You could also ask you Italian teacher or private tutor where you can sit for the exam.
If you are learning Italian online, it is quite possible that your language instructor could help you prepare for your CIC.
If you are not averse to making a trip to Italy, you could simply direct yourself to the Università per Stranieri di Perugia.
As long as you are in Italy, you could maximise your learning experience by addressing:
- The Pasolini Language School: authorised to organise and conduct CIC prep classes. They have language schools located throughout Tuscany.
- Europass is located in Florence. They offer a wide range of Italian courses, from Basic Italian to Italian for Seniors. Naturally, they sponsor CIC prep courses, as well.
- La Scuole Tricolore, in Genoa, offers a more relaxed study package: two classes per week, over four, eight or twelve weeks.
- You can opt for tutoring during evening classes, and you have the choice of working with tutors, one to one.
Take an Italian Course Online
Let us suppose that you are far too busy to engage in formal language courses and you certainly don't have the time for traveling to Italy.
Yet, you are so passionate about the language of Dante!
And, for the sake of your future business plans, obtaining CIC certification is imperative.
Surely you have a few minutes, after tea, to learn a few Italian phrases or to hone your listening comprehension!
You can take courses online, either with a private tutor or through a distance learning program, such as the ones sponsored by the University of Manchester.
What about learning how to speak Italian at no cost?
It only takes a search to find the multitude of apps that provide free lessons.
Sites such as Duolingo and Quizlet can help you master Italian grammar and learn new words.
Duolingo offers over four hundred free Italian lessons online, including Italian for business.
Even if you are years into your Italian learning, most likely, some of them are targeted to you!
Or you can google "Italian classes near me" to find a tutor not far from your home!
Learn Portuguese; learn French, learn Korean, learn Chinese: learning a new language requires passion, dedication and commitment.
As you prepare for CIC, it would be helpful to focus on learning Italian words related to finance, industry, and sales, as those are subjects frequently discussed throughout the exam.
You should take special care to understand Italian culture as it relates to business, too!
The best way to learn Italian for business would be through immersion – living and working in Italy.
If you do not yet have that opportunity, you could:
- surround yourself with as much Italian audio as possible
- Italian music: opera, contemporary music; and also movies in Italian
- hold Italian conversation – preferably with native speakers
- compile a phrasebook of the most common Italian business expressions
- and practise your Italian pronunciation often!
- Pick up on a dialect or two: Italian in Naples is a bit different than the language of Rome; remember that your business dealings may take you all over the country!
All of these are excellent ways to gain as much exposure to the language as possible.
Should a sojourn to Italy be on your horizon, do not hesitate to inquire at the various language schools mentioned above for the learning situation that is right for you, both cost and time-wise.
Applying yourself diligently to your Italian language courses; preparing for your career-determining exam...
all of that hard work will seem like nothing after you've earned the right to put CIC qualified on your resume.
Buona Fortuna, Caro!
Consider taking DITALS: Didattica dell'italiano come lingua straniera. A pair of exams meant for non native speakers who intend to teach Italian as a foreign language.