Advice needed for a starting interpreter
Thread poster: PaczOla
PaczOla
United Kingdom
Jan 17, 2014

I'd like to become an interpreter. At the end of this month I am going to start Community Interpreting Course Level 3 and once I complete it, I'll sign up with a few interpreting agencies to get some experience. In time I would like to develop my interpreting skills and become a real professional in this field. If everything goes smoothly and I enjoy this career I would like to get a Master degree in order to be taken seriously with more advanced assignments. I have a degree in Public Relations. Would I still have to get a Diploma in Public Service Interpreting in order to be accepted onto a Master's course? Qualified interpreters out there, could you tell me how difficult is it in this industry? What are the biggest challenges? Do you get many assignments per week? How much do you earn per month? Any other advice for a starting interpreter would be much appreciated

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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:47
Russian to English
+ ...
You don't need Master's Degree in interpreting, unless Jan 19, 2014

Of course you want to study interpreting at a graduate level and enjoy it. Tiles or degrees do no matter that much in interpreting--all that REALLY matters is whether the person can do it accurately, and at the right speed. Most interpreters have degrees in a different language-related field, or even not language-related.

If you want to practice interpreting, one of the best methods is to turn the TV on with some type of reporting, or news program, and try to interpret as the reporter is speaking, preferably taping both-- the source and your interpreting. Then check the sample for accuracy. Interpreters usually work on the accuracy first and then increase the speed. The average required speed (involving English) is about 175 words per minute.


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Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:47
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Wrong advice, imho Jan 19, 2014

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

Of course you want to study interpreting at a graduate level and enjoy it. Tiles or degrees do no matter that much in interpreting--all that REALLY matters is whether the person can do it accurately, and at the right speed. Most interpreters have degrees in a different language-related field, or even not language-related.

If you want to practice interpreting, one of the best methods is to turn the TV on with some type of reporting, or news program, and try to interpret as the reporter is speaking, preferably taping both-- the source and your interpreting. Then check the sample for accuracy. Interpreters usually work on the accuracy first and then increase the speed. The average required speed (involving English) is about 175 words per minute.


1. Only interpreters who do not have an MA in interpreting think they don't need it. Believe me, there's nothing more disheartening than being told by a teacher that your mother tongue is actually at a B level! Or being made to second-guess every word you utter. If you do not get MA level training, you won't improve your techniques and will (unknowingly/unwillingly) continue to do many mistakes on every assignment that a professional/trained/qualified interpreter would never do.

2. Whenever someone tells you to practice interpreting during news programmes, cover up your ears. The number of words per minute is simply to high for a beginner to keep up with. Practice starts with one-paragraph speeches given in class under a teacher's supervision.

3. You do not need a DPSI to be accepted into an MA course. If you already have a BA and good language skills, just apply for an interview. However, I would still highly recommend studying for a DPSI - it is highly regarded.

Any other questions, just ask

Good luck.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:47
Russian to English
+ ...
No--you don't need it in the US at all--there aren't Jan 19, 2014

Even too many programs offered, especially in pairs other than English/Spanish.

Interpreting is basically a practical skill, perfected with hour of practice(at home, not on interpreting jobs)--it doesn't really matter where you practice it--at home or at an expensive university.

I am not sure where the original asker is located. The traditional role of a university was to facilitate intellectual development, not to tech people practical skills. This is why I think an MA in interpreting might be slightly pointless.

I don't see a reason why you would need it in other countries. Yes, I see now she is really from the UK, so the reality might be slightly different there, but langauge is language and interpreting is interpreting--all over the world.

I absolutely don't agree with your point number one-- I am not sure where you got those ideas from--you might have had a sadistic teacher. Why would you be"seond guessing every word you say?" whatever that means. A beginning interpreter might not be qualified to apply to any graduate program, and for someone with some experience interpreting news should not be too hard, and it is the best way is to practice with a recording system.

[Edited at 2014-01-19 21:34 GMT]


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Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:47
Portuguese to English
+ ...
@ Lilian Jan 20, 2014

My point was that we all live in a bubble when it comes to our abilities and that bubble will be burst many times during an MA. Teachers are not sadistic, they will make you see reality - the level your skills are really at.

To the OP:

If you want to do conference and business interpreting, then yes, an MA is vital. But if all you are interested in at the moment is public service interpreting, then yes, by all means, just study for the DPSI.


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PatrickMoreschi
United States
Local time: 06:47
starting interpreter Feb 27, 2014

As business point, the first thing you should do formulates a business which states the purpose of your company. You should apply for business grants for the agency. Another thing you want to do is check with your city regarding permits & licenses for the agency because you want to make sure you start the business with everything in place legally. You should get a tax ID or employer ID number for tax purposes. Now you'll need to promote your interpretation services.

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jayes
Local time: 13:47
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I think Diana is right Mar 6, 2014

It may not be essential where you live, but I can tell that the EU institutions won't consider you unless you have a post-grad qualification in conference interpreting. There's a good reason for that.
I might be tempted to agree that some can and some can't do it, but even the ones that can do it to the required level had to work at it and be trained properly. Which definitely DOES NOT mean trying to interpret tv pieces and reports. Interviews are fine...where people are not reading pre-prepared texts.
For the time being, get practice where you can, look at the courses in Bath, Leeds, Bradford, Edinburgh etc and see whether you like the look of it.


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fhareau
Belgium
English to French
+ ...
on getting into a MACI Apr 7, 2014

http://becomeaconferenceinterpreter.blogspot.com/2014/03/on-interpreter-training-part-1.html

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