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Seeking Interpreting Career Advice from established Interpreters!
Thread poster: Nicole279
Nicole279
Local time: 12:24
English to French
+ ...
Sep 10, 2007

Dear Reader,

If you are an established interpreter, I would be very grateful for any advice and wisdom you may have to help me plan my career, as this site is one of my only sources of practical advice.

My Native language is English, my B language is French and I have a basic knowledge of Polish (I am half Polish and speak it basically, if rather ungramatically)
In 2005 I sat the DPSI for French, Law option, and got a Distinction and 3 merits, but failed the English to French translation paper due to slightly shaky grammar. I am retaking this paper in November (Arrgghh!)

My plan is to live and work in Poland to bring my Polish up to scratch, then do the Conference interpreting exam with a view to getting regular work with the EU.

I have few questions:

1) How appropriate is my language combination (English-French-Polish) for work in the EU, or would I be competing against candidates with better combinations?

2) How strong would my Polish have to become for it to qualify as a 'C' language?

3) How secure a career is conference interpreting? Is it difficult to get full-time work even after getting qualified at a recognised school?

With Many Thanks for your comments,

Nicole T.
London
-


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:24
Flemish to English
+ ...
Link-preselection test Sep 11, 2007

Have a look at http://www.proz.com/topic/82082 .
There is a link to the supply of interpreters with Polish (year 2006) at the E.U. and demand for interpreters from the E.U.-institutions.
Nowadays, for whatever permanent position at the E.U., you need to succeed in a preselection test (questions about the E.U., verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning) first of 1hour and 20 minutes.

[Edited at 2007-09-11 06:30]


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:24
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Think about it... Sep 13, 2007

Nicole279 wrote:

My plan is to live and work in Poland to bring my Polish up to scratch, then do the Conference interpreting exam with a view to getting regular work with the EU.

I have few questions:

1) How appropriate is my language combination (English-French-Polish) for work in the EU, or would I be competing against candidates with better combinations?

2) How strong would my Polish have to become for it to qualify as a 'C' language?

3) How secure a career is conference interpreting? Is it difficult to get full-time work even after getting qualified at a recognised school?

With Many Thanks for your comments,

Nicole T.
London
-


1. Your language combination is fine, the competition is not in the combination. When your Polish is up to conference interpreting level, and you have more experience, you may find it advantageous of adding another language, but that shouldn't be your priority now.

2. Very strong, because otherwise you couldn't do conference interpreting, and you are competing with native Polish interpreters.

3. You are talking about the EU. If you mean the EU as an organisation, you either pass their entry exams and they offer you a job, or not. They may keep you on their panel for when their normal capacity is exhausted, or you may apply to them again, when you feel more confident about your success with them. As Williamson suggested, you should look into their selection and employment policies.

Interpreting is as secure as you can make it, but it is only a full-time employment for those who are actually employed by some organisation.

I would have thought one of the the appeals of being an interpreter lies precisely in the nature of being freelance, in the variety of the work offered by different clients and not having to do a 9-5 job.


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Nicole279
Local time: 12:24
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your reply Sep 13, 2007

Thank you for your reply; do you have any idea how long it would take to bring my Polish up to a fully competent level, from my current level (fluent, basic, good accent, bad grammar) by full immersion in the culture and evening classes?

Best,
Nicole T


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Jonathan Sanders  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
Passive comprehension of professional subjects Sep 14, 2007

Nicole279 wrote:

Thank you for your reply; do you have any idea how long it would take to bring my Polish up to a fully competent level, from my current level (fluent, basic, good accent, bad grammar) by full immersion in the culture and evening classes?

Best,
Nicole T


Actually, it's not really a question of how well you can speak Polish. You have to be able to understand Polish in all of its registers, and be able to turn what you understand into idiomatic English. It might not be a bad idea to spend 6 months/1 year in Poland in some kind of immersion course, which allows you to take other subjects (i.e. law, economics, international diplomacy, science). Those are the subjects that would come up in conferences. Obviously, don't neglect lower registers either, because, among other things, they're fun. Also read newspapers, watch TV (www.wwitv.com has webcasts of TV stations from all over the world), and build your vocabulary and cultural and current events knowledge.

Hope that helps.


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