[Updated!] Using PMP Exam Language Aids for the PMP Certification

PMP Exam Language Aids

The PMI PMP Certification Exam is administered in English only (the official PMP Exam Language). For those whose mother tongue is not English, including me, answering an English exam paper may require more time. We are at a disadvantaged position as the final result of the exam would need to be compared to those English native speakers. Fortunately, PMI does offer some assistances for us – the PMP Exam Language Aids. This article will describe how to make use of the language aids and what to look out for during the PMP Exam.

What is PMP Exam Language Aids?

Note: The new PMP Exam provider Pearson Vue has made changes to the use of Language Aids. From now on, if you change the Language Aids, you will ONLY be presented with the exam with the chosen language and you will need to pick the answer from the choices available in the aids language! While the English version will still be available, you will need to press the “Translate” button to view it.

Therefore it is highly advised that if you study in English, you should NOT choose any language aid now.

Language aids can be thought of as “translation” for the questions and answers. The translated questions and answers are put right under the original English questions and answers on the same page in the computer-based PMP Exam. But PMP exam takers will still need to mark the answers on the English questions.

PMI has made available the language aids for the questions and answers of the PMP Exam to candidates whose mother tongue is not English for FREE. Currently, the language aids are available in the following 13 languages:

  • Arabic
  • Hebrew
  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • Italian
  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Chinese (Traditional)
  • French
  • German
  • Turkish
  • Korean
  • Japanese
  • Russian
  • Spanish

However, for the language aids is provided for the PMP Exam questions and answers only. No translation will be provided for the exam taking tutorial before the PMP Exam and the survey right after you have submitted your PMP Exam answers. These two parts will still be in English only.

How to Apply for a Language Aid for the PMP Certification Exam?

To apply for a language aid for the PMP Exam, you will need to pay attention while completing your PMP Certification application. After you have passed the PMI pre-screening of your PMP application, you will receive an email asking you to settle the payment for the PMP Exam. Don’t just click “OK” and “Confirm” to proceed without reading the details on the page. There is a section asking you whether you will need a language aid for the exam. Select the language aids you need and proceed to payment.

If you are lucky enough not to be selected for the dreaded PMI PMP audit, you will receive an email confirmation immediately containing your exam eligibility information and your requirement for a language aid. I was not fortunately enough and therefore my PMI notification was entitled “You have successfully completed PMI’s audit process for the PMP credential”:

PMP audit pass

Do review this notification email carefully and find the line on “PMP Exam Language Aid” (it is right before your “Eligibility Expiration Date”). If you have requested a language aid, but this is not shown in the notification email from PMI, you would need to contact PMI immediately at [email protected]

My Own PMP Exam Language Aid Experience

Since my mother tongue is not English, I did apply for an language aids in Chinese (Traditional) during my PMP Certification application process. However, my PMP Certification preparation (including the online PMP training and PMP practice exams) was in English only as it was very difficult to find quality materials in Chinese (and likely for other languages) on the market.

In the real PMP Exam, I would usually read only the English questions and answer them immediately without looking at the translated parts. The only questions I made use of the PMP Language Aid were the long situational questions. I actually did not know most of the PMP PMBOK® Guide glossary in Chinese and therefore the translated answers were of no use to me. The translated questions were much much shorter than the original English one and so I could focus only on the important facts for the questions.

This strategy served me well as I could get 4 proficient in the PMP Exam. If your mother tongue is not English and you know any one of the 13 available languages for the language aid, I do encourage you to apply for a PMP Certification Exam language aid. After all, you will have nothing to lose if it is not useful as the PMP Exam language aid is FREE.

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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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19 Responses

  1. Ahmed Attieh says:

    Hey Edward,
    I have contacted PMI team asking regarding how the aid language will be shown during the exam.

    as per their feedback, the whole exam will be provided by the aid language only and there will be a translation to English button next to each question while you will still need to pick the write answer from the choices available in the aid language only.

    This is risky as i was expecting to have the exam in English and to use the aid language only in case needed.Besides, this might lead to waste some time during the exam and will create a new risk of picking the wrong answer in the aid language after choosing the right one in English.

    Would you please advise?


    • Edward Chung says:

      Thanks for the update. Oh, in this case, you will need to make use of the language you want… I was not informed of this before…

      Anyway, wish you PMP success!

  2. Anton Iarovoi says:

    Hey Edward!
    Thanks a lot for a very useful article about PMP® Certification Exam language aid. I am preparing for the exam and which will take place soon. In my eligibility letter, I have confirmation for language aid, and I think I will go with it. But since recent one idea with this aid is making me worry, it is a number of letters and text in questions…. You know that PMP® questions might be very entangled, and it brings a lot of text you need to focus on. If language aid will be added, there will double more text to look on. Please share your personal experience. Was it not disturbing for you have this language aid as something that generates double texting? Does not it hinder the focus while answering the question?

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Anton,

      The language aids are a great way to help you with the exam indeed. You can read both the original and the translated questions which may be different sometimes and you can actually guess the answers from such minor difference! And since you will only be asked to answer on the English part, you can just ignore the translated question below it by not scrolling down.

      Wish you PMP success!

  3. Christian says:

    Hi Edward, thank you very much for sharing all that information on your page! It is a very useful resource for soon-to-be PMPs. I am also not a native English speaker and I am planning to use the language aid, BUT only if it does not get in my way. I should be able to answer all questions in English, but I would like to have the translations as a “lifeline”, in case I can’t understand something and get nervous. My concern is that translation will interfere with the whole navigation etc. and it will take me longer to answer the questions, because I have chosen the language aid. Can you please shed some light on this?

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Christian,

      The language aid will only appear on the bottom part of each page, i.e. you can still read the English questions and answer them there and ignore the translations altogether. The translations are just there for reference only. I did not find the translations interfering and they certainly provided some hints for the scenario questions.

      Wish you PMP success!

  4. Vera says:

    Dear, thank you very much for this article.
    I really didn’t aware about this point, it will be very helpfull

    Also i do have a question : I’m looking for sample questions….. in french, if anybody could help me to find some, it will be greatfull.

    Thank you very much !

  5. Kaymen says:

    Hi Edward,

    Thank you very much for your experience. I am thinking using language aid too. With the translated questions displaying at the bottom, do I have to scroll down to the bottom to click ‘Next’ button to go to next question? Thanks!

    • Edward Chung says:

      Sorry that as I took the exam over 1 year ago and I was too focused on answering the questions that I did not remember whether I have to scroll all the way down the page to go to the next question. It seems that the answer is ‘YES’ as I remember I had to scroll quite a lot during the PMP exam.

      Please do let me know the exact answer if you would use language aid in your PMP exam. Thanks!

  6. Joe says:

    Hi Edward,

    What is the order the translation comes? First the English question followed by the translation or vice-versa?
    Do we spend time having to scroll down/up to answer the question with the translation?
    I only want to choose the Language Aids option if I’m absolutely sure I can answer all questions in English without wasting except for the odd lengthy question.

    • Edward Chung says:

      The English question will appear on the top with the translated question at the bottom, you will have to pick the answer in the English question. Yes, this will be a bit inconvenient as you will have to first scroll down to read the question and answers and scroll up to the English ones to actually pick the answer.

      But I highly advise you to choose the language aids option as there is no need for you to read ALL the translated questions and answers in order to answer the questions. You can just read and answer the English ones if you can understand them and only scroll down to read the translated questions if the English questions are too long and “obscure”. Plus, the translated questions are more “direct” which will allow you to more easily determine the correct answer.

      Hope this helps!

  7. Nisso says:

    Hi Edward,

    Good article. My question is do you have a longer test time due to using Language Aid and reading in two languages, i.e. an English only test is 4 hours. Do they give you more time because you are using Language Aid?

  8. Muhammad says:

    Very nice article Mr. Chung, thanks for sharing, my question is: is it shown in your certificate or registry list or anywhere that you’ve used a language aid for the exam?? makes no big difference for me, and only thought about it for long questions too, not sure if some employers will care about it or not, so, if no way for anyone rather than me and PMI to know I used languages aid, it’ll be perfect then!

    • Edward Chung says:

      I cannot find any remarks about using the language aids in my certificate or the PMP list. It seems that PMI does not consider a big issue using a language aids.

  9. Dear Edward; Thanks so much for the article. As you used Chinese as Language Aid, Did the PMI issue your certification in Chinese?, as I live in North America for me is very important to have it in English.

    • Edward Chung says:

      My certificate is in English, which I think is the official language for PMI. There is no indication of whether you have used the language aid or not in the certificate. Hope this solve your queries.

  10. Nasser says:

    Nice article helped me understand exactly what is language AID