DLS frequently asked questions blog

DLS Frequently Asked Questions

What services does DLS offer?

DLS provides foreign language and cultural training, curriculum development, translation, interpretation, linguist support, localization, and language proficiency testing to a wide range of clients from beginners to advanced linguists.

What levels of training does DLS offer?

At DLS, we offer language training to all proficiency levels including basic, intermediate, advanced, refresher, and survival language skills. Our proficiency levels mirror industry standards such as the ILR and ACTFL.

What are the “ILR Language Skill-Level Descriptions”?

The “ILR Guidelines,” are descriptions of different levels of proficiency for four different language skills—Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing. There are six Base Levels, ranging from 0 – “No functional proficiency” to 5 – “Functionally equivalent to an educated native speaker.” These guidelines are accepted by all agencies of the federal government. They are a primary language proficiency reference for US government agencies when assigning personnel to language-designated positions in US embassies and consulates overseas. Level 2 – “Limited Working Proficiency,” and Level 3 – “General Professional Proficiency,” are the most commonly required proficiencies, depending on the position being filled (US government agencies usually test only Speaking, Listening, and Reading).

How many languages does DLS teach and which ones?

We teach 85+ languages through training customized for your personal needs, including many less-commonly-taught languages.

What are class hours? Does DLS offer classes in the evening and during the weekend?

DLS is open for classes from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Monday – Friday. Classes can be either full-time or part-time.

Full-time classes can be between four and six hours per day; and most full-time programs run in the morning, although afternoons are also possible.

Part-time classes are usually in the afternoon and early evening.

Each language program must be at least 48.00 hours and class sessions must be at least 2.00 hours per day for full-time and part-time weekly schedules. Weekend classes can be accommodated based on instructor availability. Classes may also be online. We pride ourselves on flexibility and creating a schedule that will meet the needs of our students.

How does DLS ensure qualified instructors?

Instructional personnel must have at least:
(1) a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of three months of full-time equivalent ESOL or foreign language classroom teaching experience
(2) a bachelor’s degree along with a certificate in teaching ESOL or a foreign language that includes a practice teaching component.

For instructors of languages less commonly taught, the minimum qualifications may also be a bachelor’s degree and completion of a DLS comprehensive foreign language instructor-training program that includes a practicum component with instructor classroom observations and evaluations.

Instructional staff also must have ILR proficiency of at least level 3 in the language that they are teaching.

Do you teach English?

Yes, DLS teaches English with one-on-one and small group options. Class size is a maximum of six students to maximize student speaking time and provide personalized attention from the teacher. Our programs cover all language levels, from beginner to advanced, and offer specialized courses to fit your individual goals.

Is DLS accredited?

As of 2022, DLS is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET) for three years and will follow the ACCET schedule for maintaining this status. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes ACCET as a reliable authority on educational quality, evaluating and enhancing the delivery of continuing education.

Since DLS is accredited, can I get college credits?

Unfortunately, no, being an accredited institution does not mean we can administer college credits.

Where can I take classes?

Anywhere in the world! We have in-person training locations in Arlington and Herndon, Virginia, and in Elkridge, Maryland. We also accommodate in-person training at client site and have Partner Schools around the world.

Are online classes available?

Yes, DLS is able to conduct language training completely online. Seamlessly collaborate with your instructor via our interactive video conferencing platform. Utilize our online learning management system and attend virtual events for a robust training experience.

What do I need for online training?

Basic hardware and high-speed internet are requirements. For more information, please contact our registrar.

What are your in-person classrooms like?

DLS provides comfortable, well-maintained, and properly equipped classrooms in safe and secure facilities in Arlington, VA, Herndon, VA, and Elkridge MD. All DLS classrooms include computers and whiteboards, as well as free Wi-Fi access and business-hour tech support. DLS provides students with complimentary gourmet coffee and tea selections on every floor.

How do you evaluate student’s progress?

DLS offers diagnostic assessments and progress reports, feedback from class observations, an on-site supervisor for consultation, and mock practice language tests. Full-time students are assessed on the ILR scale every 8 – 12 weeks (depending on the language) and at the commencement of training.

Can you provide F1 visas?

No, DLS is not able to provide any visas including F1 visas.

Do you offer group classes?

DLS offers intensive, individualized classes in the form of one-on-one and in closed small groups (usually around 2-6 students). Closed groups are defined as being composed of colleagues who have made internal arrangements to study together in a shared class.

What is the minimum number of hours I should study per week?

We ask all students to study for a minimum of four hours per week, with a 48-hour minimum total program length. For more challenging languages we recommend a minimum of six hours per week.

What language training materials are provided?

Each DLS classroom has a computer and whiteboard. A materials budget is generally provided as part of your program. The Language Training Supervisor (LTS) together with the instructor and student determine what materials, language learning software, and methodology best fit the student’s linguistic requirements. We also have an on-site library at our Arlington, Herndon, and Elkridge locations – books can be loaned out based on need and availability. Other supplies or language-specific resources may be discussed with your LTS.

What textbooks/learning materials are used/required for class?

Based on a student’s skill level and preferred learning techniques, the LTS and instructor will provide the student with a pre-determined list of materials and supplemental resources during the orientation.  Together with the student, during the first week of class, the LTS and instructor will make any necessary changes to the standardized materials list to ensure curricular alignment with the student’s initial proficiency level and end-of-program goals. The LTS continuously updates the materials and resources to ensure linguistic and cultural relevancy. Instructors integrate authentic materials as well as the student’s general interests into daily classroom activities.

Do you provide testing at the end of language training?

Yes, DLS provides testing for students studying language with DLS or for students studying language at another institution for a fee. Additionally, we provide frequent achievement testing throughout the duration of the course to measure students’ progress.  At any time, DLS will provide unscheduled proficiency testing at the student’s request for an additional fee.

Does DLS language training also provide cultural training?

DLS believes that cultural training is an important part of language training. All DLS language training reinforces up-to-date linguistic and performative cultural norms of the target country.

The DLS curriculum incorporates core and supplemental materials that use authentic traditions, historical events, geography, literature, and other relevant topics to enhance the learning experience. Using authentic materials such as newspapers, magazines, TV and radio broadcasts, and Internet-sourced materials give students opportunities to study language that is up-to-date, topical, and specific to their needs. DLS is proud to work with students on profession-specific language using students’ and employer-provided materials that are relevant to the student’s professional needs.

We encourage all students and instructors to participate in regular online and in-person cultural events.  DLS staff, students, and instructors engage with one another while using their language and cultural skills in a broader, collaborative setting.  Events include meals, movies, role-playing, and simulations to recreate how language and culture intertwine.

How can I sign up to take a language test with DLS?

Submit your inquiry using the form here.

How can I get help with language translation and interpretation?

Get started by filling out the form here.

How can I apply to work for DLS?

We are always looking for talented instructors and administrative staff to join our team. Look for a full list of available positions and apply on the ‘Careers’ page of our website. You may also email your resume directly to our recruiters at recruiting@dlsdc.com.

Can I talk to someone before signing up?

DLS offers free phone or video consultations with our experienced Language Training Supervisors. To be contacted about a consultation, fill out the form here.

How can I see more from DLS? What else does DLS offer?

We post a variety of our Student Webinars, cultural events, and more to our YouTube channel.

We also have a podcast called Language Matters, making foreign languages accessible by discussing distinct features which may not exist in other languages. Each episode hosts experts to discuss how these unique features impact learning a particular language such as tones, counter words, the oblique form, and more! We also post bonus episodes focused on bringing virtual reality into language training. These educational podcasts provide easy-to-understand information regarding learning new languages. You can listen on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Google Play, and many other podcast platforms!

Additionally, DLS has a blog and news page where we share company announcements as well as important language training topics and tips. We’re also on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

How soon can I start?

Give us a call now at +1 (703) 243-4855 to talk to someone Monday – Friday from 9 AM – 5 PM. Alternatively, complete this form or send an email to registrar@dlsdc.com with your information and someone will get back to you within 24 hours.

How much are your classes?

Pricing differs between language and GSA Schedule Contracts, etc. As a leading language services provider, the cost of DLS services are standard for the industry and reflect the quality of instruction or service.

Are you open on Federal Holidays? What about snow days?

DLS is closed during all federal holidays and it is assumed training does not take place. On-site classes follow OPM’s weather-related closures, whereas online classes do not.  Please contact hr@dlsdc.com for more information.