European Union exam for interpreters
Thread poster: Alessandra Sticotti

Alessandra Sticotti  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:48
English to Italian
+ ...
Apr 17, 2008

hi all!

I am going to take the exams for interpreters at the EU and I was wondering whethere someone can help me.

I have been told that at the beginning I have to choose an envelope out of 5 and prepare a short speech on the suggested topic.

What are the topics? mainly EU affairs or not?

and the topic of the interpreting exams? I heard that they are not speeched yet articles on various topics not strictly related to the EU?

can anyone help me?

Thanks

Alessandra

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-04-17 21:40]


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Ilona Kangro  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 05:48
Member (2006)
Latvian to English
+ ...
My experience Apr 18, 2008

I am already an accredited EU freelance interpreter and I can share with you my experience with the exam.

I have no idea what 5 envelopes you are talking about - I did not have anything like that. I had to interpret 2 speeches: one consecutive (about 6-7 min) and one simultaneous (about 10 min) in each language combination. As I represent one of the relatively new EU languages - Latvian - I had to interpret both from/into English. So far I've managed to pass only the exam from English into Latvian, but I m working on adding a retour language (i.e. from Latvian into English).

The topics of the speeches may be EU related, but they are not EU specific so you do not have to cram in the EU jargon. For example, my simultaneous speech was about the increasing number of British pensioners moving to Spain to spend their retirement there. And the consecutive speech was sth about tourism and globalisation. From my and my colleagues' experience these speeches are not very difficult as their purpose is to test your general interpreting and language skills.

The board of examiners can also ask you some general questions about your future plans, aspirations, experience, etc. which seems to be just a warm-up. You can choose which speech to start with - consecutive or simultaneous. It is recommended to start with consecutive as it is considered easier, but I started with simultaneous because I am much better at simultaneous than consecutive interpreting. Start with the interpreting mode which you are more confident of because if you fail the first speech you might not be allowed to do the second one.

If there are any other questions, you are welcome to ask. Hope to see you among accredited EU freelance interpreters soon!

Ilona


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mmihano4
Local time: 04:48
English to Croatian
+ ...
passed the exam Apr 18, 2008

hi,
I passed the exam in 2006 and I agree with everything what Ilona wrote. We couldn't choose which mode to take first, we had to do the consecutive befor simultaneous for each language pair.
the speeches I got very not very eu specific, one was on coral reefs, other one was on palestine-israel conflict, the third one was EU -specific and it dealt with European Court of justice and the fourth one was on smokin ban.
if you get something related to EU it would be rather explanatory and not som intern eu jargon that a person not used to working for the EU doesn't understand.
it's immensely important to do the first interpretation well (in my case it was English into Croatian consecutive, which I did brilliantly although I don't generally like consecutive). I think that my simultaneous English to Croatian (which followed next) wasn't so brilliant (I had some uhhs and aahhs) but they didn't mind (they were still impressed with my former performance ha ha ha).
A good knowledge of how EU institutions look like are very useful, but even if you knew little about it you would still be able to make your way through the speech.
have you any formal education in interpreting?
I finished EMCI in graz, austria and I must say that the speeches we had at final exam of the EMCI course were more difficult than the ones I had at SCIC test a year later.
you should also bear in mind that ou should stick to the KISS rule, i.e. keep it short and simple, especially if you're having a retour. an interpreter without formal education in interpreting tried to impress the examinery by his/her english when interpreting from mother tongue into English. he/she failed this combination and was said that his/her english was perfect, but too literary, shakespearean and complicated and the interpretation was very hard to follow.

in the end I was asked if I was willing to add some other languages to my combination if I worked for the EU and I was asked a question about Doha round.
These theoretical questions in the end are not relevant, you cannot fail if you previously had done good interpretation.
hope I helped you
feel free to ask further question or send me a message
good luck and hope to see you soon in the EU


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mmihano4
Local time: 04:48
English to Croatian
+ ...
one more thing Apr 18, 2008

I just saw on your profile that you have hungarian in your combination.
are you able to interpret from hungarian one day?
they would be very pleased if you could, so they might be milder when evaluating your interpreting.
they are always on the hunt after people with exotic language combinaitons,
I was asked in the end of the exam if I knew Dutch (they saw in my CV that I learned Dutch for 2 years) and one of the examiners than started little conversation with me in Dutch to check how good it was. I guess that helped me too, since I think that my simultaneous performance that thay wasn't really flawless. I'm nowhere near from interpreting Dutch-Croatian, but they said they would be willing to help me train for this combination since there isn't anyone in Croatian booth with this language pair


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Alessandra Sticotti  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:48
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Apr 19, 2008

Hi!
thank you very much for your help.
I do have formal interpreting background. I graduated in Conference Interpreting at SSLMIT in Trieste - Italy - in March 2005.
and, according to my professors, I was kind of good at it (ahah).
Afterwards, I worked as interpreter and translator for abt. a year and since August 2006 I have been working in a foreign dept. of a Trieste-based company. Since then, I rarely did interpreting.
so prepairing for the exam has been hard - given that I din't practice for almost 1 year.


Thanks again!
Alessandra


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Ilona Kangro  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 05:48
Member (2006)
Latvian to English
+ ...
More about interpreting Apr 19, 2008

Dear Alessandra,

If you have formal training in interpreting, I believe you've got what it takes to pass this exam. I passed this exam after a 2 years' break (no interpreting at all). But I started practising a few months before the exam - alone and with colleagues. If you know sb who is also about to sit an interpreting exam, prepare speeches, read them to each other and practise at least consecutive interpreting (esp. note-taking). If you have no access to simultenuous interpreting equipment (booths, mics, etc.), try the EU audio visual service (http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/home/index_en.cfm?), where you can find various EU related AV resources. It's true that these 'speeches' are not the typical freelance interpreter exam format, but it's better than nothing. And once more - the best of luck!!!

Thank you, mmihano4, for your suggestion regarding Hungarian! Actually I've discussed adding Hungarian to my working languages with the Head of Latvian Interpreting Unit, and it would be more useful to add a retour language (Latvian into English in my case) because Hungarian - Latvian is not the combination of urgent necessity. This is why I am working on my English at the moment. I am already interpreting from English into Latvian for the Parliament on a freelance basis.

Regards,
Ilona


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