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Conference interpreting exams
Thread poster: Lada Buskie
Lada Buskie  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:54
English to Russian
+ ...
Dec 12, 2008

Dear all,

does anybody know what is the procedure of sitting an interpretation exam in EU? Where else do they hold exams for conference interpreters?


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:54
Flemish to English
+ ...
My 2 cents Dec 12, 2008

For recruitment competetitions : www.europa.eu/epso
Nationality of one of the Member States of the E.U.-required as well as at least two foreign working languages.
First hurdle: preselection tests which are the same for every applicant: E.U.-knowledge, verbal and reasoning skills and classify yourself among the xxxx best.
Rare languages (Maltese, Lithuanian, Croatian) are an advantage.
As a freelancer: whenever there are enough candidates. Some remark as above.
For the UN: see webpage about competitions of UN.
Nato: Mainly English/French
Outside these institutions and their agencies: it is a free market.
Have a look at www.aiic.net and find out where most interpreters work.


[Edited at 2008-12-12 14:03 GMT]


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Professor Marty
Spanish to English
Conference Interpreting Exams in the US Dec 12, 2008

The only venue I know that provides these is the US Dept of State in Washington, DC, and they only give you the test if they need your language pair combination. You must be a US Citizen. Go online and look into the Language Services, Interpreting Division. They give you one test and then, according to your ability they rate you Escort, Seminar or Conference Level.

Otherwise, the other de facto exam that is used to gauge the interpreting ability of the examinee is the Federal Court Interpreting Exam administered by the Administrative Office of the US Courts in Washington, DC. The exam has a two year cycle, one year they give the written exam, if you pass, then you are invited to take the oral exam the following year. Only available for Spanish and English language pair (there's also a Creole Exam and a Navajo Exam, but it's been years since they have been officially offered.) Even if you don't end up interpreting in Court, it does attest as to your abilities as far as interpreting technique is concerned.

There are other Court Interpreting Exxams at the State Level, such as the NAJIT and the well known Consortium, but the latter only demonstrates that you have a very basic, minimal ability to interpret. However, the Consortium Exam is available in many different language pair. For more infomration go to the Center for State Courts website. Again, you must be a US Citizen.

From someone who has all of the above, has served as a Rater and Scorer for several of the tests and prepares candidates for the Oral Exam.

Hope this helps!


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Lada Buskie  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:54
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Market Dec 12, 2008

Thanks for the reply. It may sound naive, but I would like to get into European market, and I am not sure how to do it. I have been a conference interpreter in CIS for the last 7 years, so I think it's time for a change. It doesnt sound like I'll qualify for EU, not a citizen.

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Mariella Bonelli  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:54
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
EU / NATO Dec 12, 2008

Dera Lada,

Here you will find all the information you need on how to become a freelance conference interpreter for the EU:

http://europa.eu.int/interpretation/index.htm

I don't know anything about your language combination, but the test is very tough. You start immediately with the simultaneous and consecutive test. EU knowledge etc. is left for the survivors.

I also know that your language combination could be very interesting for NATO. Try to get some more information starting to consult their website.


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Professor Marty
Spanish to English
Oops, I need new glasses Dec 12, 2008

Sorry, I thought you wrote 'US'... I guess I was an eager beaver first timer...

Well, anyway, I guess this is my baptism by fire!

I hope the posting helps anyone who need the US info!


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NataliaElo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:54
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
UN Exam Announcement Dec 12, 2008

Lada Buskie wrote:

Thanks for the reply. It may sound naive, but I would like to get into European market, and I am not sure how to do it. I have been a conference interpreter in CIS for the last 7 years, so I think it's time for a change. It doesnt sound like I'll qualify for EU, not a citizen.

Dear Lada,

There will be an exam in the UN for Russian interpreters in May 2009, but you almost definitely will need one more language. But who knows, I've heard, that tehy are desperate. http://www.un.org/Depts/OHRM/examin/languageexam.htm

You don't qualify to be an EU staff interpreter, but you can apply to be a freelance. If they are interested, they will invite you for accrediation test http://europa.eu/interpretation/accreditation_en.htm

If you have other languages, state them.

Good luck!

[Edited at 2008-12-12 22:24 GMT]


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Lada Buskie  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:54
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to all who answered Dec 13, 2008

Thanks for the info, it's really helpful. I realize I have to wake up my French and try my luck as a freelancer in both UN and EU.

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FarkasAndras
Local time: 06:54
English to Hungarian
+ ...
- Dec 15, 2008

Williamson wrote:

For recruitment competetitions : www.europa.eu/epso
Nationality of one of the Member States of the E.U.-required as well as at least two foreign working languages.
First hurdle: preselection tests which are the same for every applicant: E.U.-knowledge, verbal and reasoning skills and classify yourself among the xxxx best.
Rare languages (Maltese, Lithuanian, Croatian) are an advantage.
As a freelancer: whenever there are enough candidates. Some remark as above.
For the UN: see webpage about competitions of UN.
Nato: Mainly English/French
Outside these institutions and their agencies: it is a free market.
Have a look at www.aiic.net and find out where most interpreters work.


All good information, two corrections: one foreign language is enough for EU work if you want to be a full-time employee. (Obviously more is an advantage and some booths may not allow applicants with only one foreign language.) I just applied a few weeks ago and I had an option of applying with AB or ACC. I am not sure about freelancing, the rules seem flexible.

Also, I think the preselection tests have a fixed percentage you have to score in order to pass, so the result doesn't depend on how the others do. Clearly, the actual interpreting exam is different.



I think one can actually apply at the EU despite not being a citizen. IIRC they have special arrangements for important "external" languages like Russian or Chinese. If you have native level Russian and very solid English and/or French you may have a shot as a freelancer to be called upon when there is a conference with Russian participation. Obviously, full-time work at an EU institution is out of the question.


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mmihano4
Local time: 06:54
English to Croatian
+ ...
EU freelancer accreditation test Dec 16, 2008

Hello

there's going to be an EU freelance accreditation test for interpreters with Russian as a mother tongue (who are not citizens of the EU). You can apply for it and any other language that you have in your combination is an added plus. the exam is tough, with a lot of emphasis on consecutive interpretation, EU questions come in the end and are not that relevant.
apply as soon as you can since there's probably a list of Russian interpreters waiting to be called to the exam.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:54
Flemish to English
+ ...
Staff positions Dec 17, 2008

For staff-positions:

Read the epso-webpage.

With regatrd to an official in a non-linguistic field, you are right.
The preselection test is always in English, French or German.
The second language is sufficient.
However, I believe there is a requirement to learn a third language after securing a postion. Officials who know three foreign languages get a bonus.
--*-*--*-
For linguistic positions ( (translator/interpreter) a thorough knowledge of at least two foreign languages are required. Currently, there is an announcement of a competition for translator with Spanish and Portuguese as A-language.

The preselection test always comes first.
The first xxxxx best scores can pass to the next phase f.e. translating into the A-language from two/three foreign languages.
The xxx best on that part can go to the oral test....
The xxx best on the oral test are placed on a reserve list.
Lobbying begins.
So, yes, your score depends on the score of the others.
This procedure is the same for all candidates to whatever staff-position at the EU.

For freelancers, it is different. However, since I regularly take part in those preselection tests (passed some, but was not among the xxx highest), I am well aware of the procedures and start to get the knack of the those tests.
With reagard to EU and UNO-exams: A-language does not necessarily mean mother-tongue, but the language you know best (see announcement of UNO-exam).


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 06:54
English to Hungarian
+ ...
- Dec 17, 2008

Williamson wrote:

For linguistic positions ( (translator/interpreter) a thorough knowledge of at least two foreign languages are required. Currently, there is an announcement of a competition for translator with Spanish and Portuguese as A-language.


That just isn't true.
Two of my best friends just applied two weeks ago with a Hungarian A and an English B, without even conversational knowledge of any other language. The application forms made it crystal clear that they can and will be considered. I almost applied with the same combination myself but opted for an ACC (not allowed to do ABC).
I assume there may be such a requirement in other, better populated and more established booths.


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Lada Buskie  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:54
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What is the EU exam like? Dec 18, 2008

I heard the exam includes 5 min consequtive interpreting + some time in the cabin. Is it right?

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:54
Flemish to English
+ ...
A link Dec 18, 2008

I guess you mean

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2008:248A:0001:0016:EN:PDF

(last part is EN : PDF, but for some reason or the other the : before the pdf, turns into a smiley).

where one of the options is A and 1 foreign language at B-level i.e near native

Anyway, good luck with the admission tests.


[Edited at 2008-12-19 08:45 GMT]


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mmihano4
Local time: 06:54
English to Croatian
+ ...
consec+ sim Dec 19, 2008

consecutive texts are about 7 min long, but they are very logical so you shouldn't be afraid of the length. speeches for simultaneous are about 10 min

Lada Buskie wrote:

I heard the exam includes 5 min consequtive interpreting + some time in the cabin. Is it right?


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