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Salary for EU Conference Interpreter?
Thread poster: Strastran
Strastran
France
Local time: 23:01
French to English
+ ...
Oct 10, 2006

Hello

Does anyone know how much EU interpreters are paid? I am thinking of applying for this year's competition, yet the SCIC website makes no mention of salary.

I am reluctant to spend a long time filling in forms if it is too low!

Many thanks in advance.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:01
Flemish to English
+ ...
My 2 cents Oct 11, 2006

Starting Salary : About 6000 euros per month net =72000 euros per annum for 11 months work + benefits such as tax-free petrol, tax-free alcohol and cigarettes.
A living and travel allowance. The further you live from Brussels, the higher the allowance.
If you have kids, they go to the European School=a multilingual environment.
If your kids go to university: a lodging allowance and a subsidy for their study material.
A EU-license plate: used to mean that you were immune to fines from the local police, but that privilege has been abolished.
You do not pay taxes to your national state but to the EU, which in general is lower than in any member-state
For the newest member-states, they seem to make an exception that you need to know two E.U.-languages :ike Bulgarian-English, Romanian-English thoroughly, but for the old member-states the A-B-C-or A-C-C combination is still valid.
Russian is not an official language of the E.U.
You also need to prove 4 years' experience as a conference interpreter.

Cheers


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xxxulysem  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:01
English to German
+ ...
EPSO/AD/69/06 Oct 11, 2006

RTFM - if you're planning to participate in the current competition (AD5/AD7 positions for conference interpreters), the basic monthly salary for these positions is EUR 3,921.80/5,020.47. I think it's hardly too low - especially if you consider the tax advantages, benefits, extra payments etc. etc. that come with it.
You can find everything you need to know here: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/oj/2006/ca233/ca23320060928en00030017.pdf

Good luck!


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Strastran
France
Local time: 23:01
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Oct 11, 2006

Thank you both very much for your kind help.

I agree that the salary sounds very good. They are having AD5 competitions for less experienced but qualified interpreters, so I may apply for those.

Best wishes

Patrick


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xxxsumill
Local time: 22:01
English to Czech
+ ...
Plush job Oct 12, 2006



I was a qualified but less experienced interpreter who didn't pass the exam. Fingers crossed. If you have a headache on the test day or haven't had a proper sleep because you had to travel to Brussels, or if - like me - you were left waiting for over two hours until you were exhausted for your test in spite of your appointment - tough luck. No matter how qualified you are, if you are not resilient enough and immune to the examiners' tactics of distracting and unsettling the candidate, you won't pass. As I was told "You may have interpreted for the Pope - we're not interested. This is your moment, if we don't feel we can put you in the booth straightaway, that's it."

However, if it's one of your lucky days and you do pass, you can expect a life of luxury. It's sickening that we pay for it through our taxes, while having to negotiate for every penny of our own freelance fees. As I recently learned, even as an EU freelance interpreter you're paid 2/3 of the day's fees (plus of course your travel expenses and per diem) even if you're not needed. No wonder the EU budget for interpreters is so overblown.

I never wanted to try again. I know I'm as good or even better than EU's staff interpreters with all their perks. Because of those perks, these jobs are guarded by mafia-style examiners who wouldn't allow just anyone to join their team.

Good luck and let us know how you fared.


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Strastran
France
Local time: 23:01
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Oct 13, 2006

Thanks sumill, that's very useful!

I shall apply for the competition and just try to do my best and not let them distract me.


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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Removed per poster's request
Paeter
English
that's a lot Apr 16, 2009

Hey, this is my first post

I had to say that 3800 euro sounds like a lot to me. That's 45600 euro a year.

Is the cost of living higher? Or is it really that good? That's 83,491.51 AUD! I wanted to become an interpreter because it gives me a sense of satisfaction and I love languages. But I also wanted earn a decent amount for a living. In Australia you would be lucky to make $20,000 a year as an interpreter. (but there is almost no demand here) For example, here it costs about $300 a week for a good place to rent. For that you could probably afford to mortgage one.

I don't want to get there and find out that 45600 euro a year is on the lower side of the salary scale and that I'll barely make ends meet.

Can you tell me how much it costs to live in Brussels or within 60km of it?

Thank you and excuse my ignorance.

Paeter.

[Edited at 2009-04-16 09:18 GMT]


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:01
Flemish to English
+ ...
2 cents Apr 18, 2009

The current salaries of EU-officials can be found on the EPSO website.
A beginner has 4000 euro net.

Cost of living in Brussels is a bit higher than in Belgium, especially rent has risen a lot. For a nice place of three rooms, one of my acquaintances pays 640 euro per month). In Walllonia (south of Belgium), the cost of living tends to be a bit cheaper than in Flanders.
Brussels + 60 km North = Genth and almost Bruges.
Price of rent : about 500 euros per month, althoug if you look hard, you can find rooms of 380 euros. Have look at www.immoweb.be

Add to that about 1100 euros to live and you can save handsomely from a basic EU-interpreter's salary.
Competitions at the E.U. are only for E.U.nationals, don't know about being a freelancer.
Interpreter competitions are mostly for people with Eastern-European languages+ Maltese.

However, outside Eurocracy for Joe Doe means survival on a very small net-salary :

The average salary of a lower manager is about 1800-2000 euro per month net.
The average income of a translator at a goverment body about 1600= more or less the cost of living, but during the weekends most professionals (like my brother) moonlight.
People officially work 5 days a week, but in reality 6.

As an regular employee, your cash-flow equals almost 0. You work to survive.
Entrepreneurship : a strange word in Belgium. A phenomenon like Richard Branson would have been impossible in that country. Setting up shop equals awaking a tax-loving bureaucracy, which devours half of your gross income.



[Modifié le 2009-04-18 14:22 GMT]


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 23:01
English to Hungarian
+ ...
it is good Apr 18, 2009

Paeter wrote:

Hey, this is my first post

I had to say that 3800 euro sounds like a lot to me. That's 45600 euro a year.

Is the cost of living higher? Or is it really that good? That's 83,491.51 AUD! I wanted to become an interpreter because it gives me a sense of satisfaction and I love languages. But I also wanted earn a decent amount for a living. In Australia you would be lucky to make $20,000 a year as an interpreter. (but there is almost no demand here) For example, here it costs about $300 a week for a good place to rent. For that you could probably afford to mortgage one.

I don't want to get there and find out that 45600 euro a year is on the lower side of the salary scale and that I'll barely make ends meet.

Can you tell me how much it costs to live in Brussels or within 60km of it?

Thank you and excuse my ignorance.

Paeter.

[Edited at 2009-04-16 09:18 GMT]


I think it's safe to say that EU interpreters are well paid, whichever way you slice it. As far as I can tell the working conditions are good - excellent, even - and of course they get great pension and other benefits as well, and extraordinary job security. As a staff interpreter told me, you won't get fired unless you drink on the job or have scandalous office love affairs etc. It's a good job, full stop.
You also have to be damn good and perhaps a bit lucky to get in (have the right mother tongoue, mostly). As a somewhat bitter poster said above, they don't give a damn if you interpreted for the pope before, and that's how it should be. If you're good enough on the day, they hire you. If not, best of luck next time. They generally get to pick their people from among the best of the best in Europe, so the tests for freelancers and the competitions for staff positions are obviously tough, but they are fair.
BTW I'm on the EU freelancer list, just about to fly to Brussels for my first job there, so the above is from my own experience and what full-time staffers told me.

As an aside, I don't think you have much of a chance as an Australian. As far as I know, they are not too fond of non-British accents, and I believe you need to be a national of a member state to get hired, even as a freelancer.

[Edited at 2009-04-18 18:34 GMT]


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Paeter
English
Thanks for the reply Apr 19, 2009

FarkasAndras wrote:

Paeter wrote:

Hey, this is my first post

I had to say that 3800 euro sounds like a lot to me. That's 45600 euro a year.

Is the cost of living higher? Or is it really that good? That's 83,491.51 AUD! I wanted to become an interpreter because it gives me a sense of satisfaction and I love languages. But I also wanted earn a decent amount for a living. In Australia you would be lucky to make $20,000 a year as an interpreter. (but there is almost no demand here) For example, here it costs about $300 a week for a good place to rent. For that you could probably afford to mortgage one.

I don't want to get there and find out that 45600 euro a year is on the lower side of the salary scale and that I'll barely make ends meet.

Can you tell me how much it costs to live in Brussels or within 60km of it?

Thank you and excuse my ignorance.

Paeter.

[Edited at 2009-04-16 09:18 GMT]


I think it's safe to say that EU interpreters are well paid, whichever way you slice it. As far as I can tell the working conditions are good - excellent, even - and of course they get great pension and other benefits as well, and extraordinary job security. As a staff interpreter told me, you won't get fired unless you drink on the job or have scandalous office love affairs etc. It's a good job, full stop.
You also have to be damn good and perhaps a bit lucky to get in (have the right mother tongoue, mostly). As a somewhat bitter poster said above, they don't give a damn if you interpreted for the pope before, and that's how it should be. If you're good enough on the day, they hire you. If not, best of luck next time. They generally get to pick their people from among the best of the best in Europe, so the tests for freelancers and the competitions for staff positions are obviously tough, but they are fair.
BTW I'm on the EU freelancer list, just about to fly to Brussels for my first job there, so the above is from my own experience and what full-time staffers told me.

As an aside, I don't think you have much of a chance as an Australian. As far as I know, they are not too fond of non-British accents, and I believe you need to be a national of a member state to get hired, even as a freelancer.

[Edited at 2009-04-18 18:34 GMT]


I'd firstly like to assure you I can speak with a very refined British accent. In fact, my native accent here in South Australia is extremely similar to the English of England compared to that of American accents. But of course, that's completely extraneous. Putting on a nice British English accent is far from difficult. If necessary, I would do accent training to fix any small details.

But yeah, I think I would need to be a citizen of the EU. That is possible but it would take a long time. I believe you need residency for 5 years and then you can apply. I think they take what your skill set is into consideration.

I always say that I should have been born in Europe. Australia is a linguistic wasteland and I'm not fond on living on $25,000 AUD a year. If you don't know, that's extremely poor. I was interested in interpreting until I saw the average wage. Now I think I'll get into computational linguistics or computational neuroscience. ^_^


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 23:01
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Australia - EU Apr 19, 2009

Paeter wrote:

I'd firstly like to assure you I can speak with a very refined British accent. In fact, my native accent here in South Australia is extremely similar to the English of England compared to that of American accents. But of course, that's completely extraneous. Putting on a nice British English accent is far from difficult. If necessary, I would do accent training to fix any small details.

But yeah, I think I would need to be a citizen of the EU. That is possible but it would take a long time. I believe you need residency for 5 years and then you can apply. I think they take what your skill set is into consideration.

I always say that I should have been born in Europe. Australia is a linguistic wasteland and I'm not fond on living on $25,000 AUD a year. If you don't know, that's extremely poor. I was interested in interpreting until I saw the average wage. Now I think I'll get into computational linguistics or computational neuroscience. ^_^


Best of luck then! Becoming a interpreter with the EU institutions is a long shot, so I would not encourage you to come here for the sake of that alone. But if you like the idea of moving to Europe anyway, and can find interpreting work here, it sounds like a good plan. In theory, you could move to the UK, pick up a credibe British accent, do interpreter training at Westminster, get work experience, become a citizen and apply to the EU. There is one thing going for you: the English booth is in a massive crisis. Over half the interpreters will retire in the next 5-10 years, and they have no way of filling the positions, with hardly any halfway decent applicants for the job. In principle, you could waltz in right when they are already really desperate for people. Maybe you could land a freelance position even as an Australian citizen.

As an aside, an Australian teacher at our university was genuinely amazed that I speak two foreign languages. We told her this is not uncommon over here... that was when I realized that Austraila is a huge monolingual block, geographically cut off from any potential major cultural or economic partners that speak other languages... there is probably little to no incentive to learn foreign languages. Are there even compulsory language classes at school?


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QUOI  Identity Verified

Chinese to English
+ ...
not too sure Apr 19, 2009

... about the source of your figure. As far as I can tell, $60,000 AUD pa is quite common among TI practitioners and $80,000+ AUD is not unusual either.But again, a hard working plumber or electrician can earn well over $100,000 AUD pa.

Paeter wrote:
...
I always say that I should have been born in Europe. Australia is a linguistic wasteland and I'm not fond on living on $25,000 AUD a year. If you don't know, that's extremely poor. I was interested in interpreting until I saw the average wage. Now I think I'll get into computational linguistics or computational neuroscience. ^_^


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:01
Flemish to English
+ ...
IT-option Apr 20, 2009

You could always work as a freelance IT-specialist on a contract basis.
Over here (Belgium), that pays 500 euros per day, in the UK about 600.
As a member of the Commonwealth, it mustn't be to difficult for you to get in the UK and yes, after 5 years of abode in the UK, you can become a British citizen.


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Paeter
English
yes there are May 7, 2009

FarkasAndras wrote:

Paeter wrote:

I'd firstly like to assure you I can speak with a very refined British accent. In fact, my native accent here in South Australia is extremely similar to the English of England compared to that of American accents. But of course, that's completely extraneous. Putting on a nice British English accent is far from difficult. If necessary, I would do accent training to fix any small details.

But yeah, I think I would need to be a citizen of the EU. That is possible but it would take a long time. I believe you need residency for 5 years and then you can apply. I think they take what your skill set is into consideration.

I always say that I should have been born in Europe. Australia is a linguistic wasteland and I'm not fond on living on $25,000 AUD a year. If you don't know, that's extremely poor. I was interested in interpreting until I saw the average wage. Now I think I'll get into computational linguistics or computational neuroscience. ^_^


Best of luck then! Becoming a interpreter with the EU institutions is a long shot, so I would not encourage you to come here for the sake of that alone. But if you like the idea of moving to Europe anyway, and can find interpreting work here, it sounds like a good plan. In theory, you could move to the UK, pick up a credibe British accent, do interpreter training at Westminster, get work experience, become a citizen and apply to the EU. There is one thing going for you: the English booth is in a massive crisis. Over half the interpreters will retire in the next 5-10 years, and they have no way of filling the positions, with hardly any halfway decent applicants for the job. In principle, you could waltz in right when they are already really desperate for people. Maybe you could land a freelance position even as an Australian citizen.

As an aside, an Australian teacher at our university was genuinely amazed that I speak two foreign languages. We told her this is not uncommon over here... that was when I realized that Austraila is a huge monolingual block, geographically cut off from any potential major cultural or economic partners that speak other languages... there is probably little to no incentive to learn foreign languages. Are there even compulsory language classes at school?


Thank you for your kindness.

Yes, there are compulsory language classes but no one ever learns to actually speak a foreign language. The language teaching here is atrocious at best. A student can go through 12 years of French and not be able to string together a decent sentence. In 6 months, I could teach myself to speak ANY language better than 99% of the final year (year 12) students in high school who had "studied" for 5 years. I think that's the case with all language classes though. You cannot be forced to learn a language. I'm sure some people are successful at language classes but I'd say they are the rarity rather than the norm. I'd also say that if they had learned by themselves they would be at least 5 times better. Language classes are just so inefficient.

Anyway,you are right. There is absolutely no reason what so ever to learn a foreign language in Australia if you never plan to live elsewhere. People just don't care about languages here. Australia is a linguistically dead wasteland. People will try to tell you otherwise since we have a large Greek community and many Chinese people. But that is irrelevant. They make up a small percentage. Only people born into those communities speak those languages. Those languages are usually dead in 2 generations unless there is a strong cultural pull like with the Greeks. Normal everyday Australians are amazed by anyone who speaks one foreign language.

I should have been born in Europe


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