Conference Interpretating
Thread poster: CillianD
CillianD
Ireland
Dec 1, 2014

Hi lads, currently studying an undergraduate degree in languages, and am undecided as to whether to do teaching or interpreting. The university I attend does a masters in Conference Interpretation, however realistically I think it's unlikely I'd be able to pass the EU accreditation test, because it's like a 25% pass rate and you'd think a lot of that is people who have been bilingual since birth. Is there much work in the private market, or what are the other realistic options? Language combination is French and German btw

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Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:30
Portuguese to English
+ ...
You'll get a lot more help and guidance at Dec 2, 2014

http://interpreting.info/



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FarkasAndras
Local time: 10:30
English to Hungarian
+ ...
EU tests Dec 2, 2014

CillianD wrote:

Hi lads, currently studying an undergraduate degree in languages, and am undecided as to whether to do teaching or interpreting. The university I attend does a masters in Conference Interpretation, however realistically I think it's unlikely I'd be able to pass the EU accreditation test, because it's like a 25% pass rate and you'd think a lot of that is people who have been bilingual since birth. Is there much work in the private market, or what are the other realistic options? Language combination is French and German btw

Well, 25% isn't that bad. In many booths the pass rate is much lower. In Hungarian, it's probably under 10% for the last few years. To my knowledge, the English booth needs people somewhat desperately so if you're good you have a good shot. Also, with an English A you don't need a B but two (or more) Cs, so being bilingual isn't that much of a leg up compared to having a solid C.

As I see it, there are two issues to consider:
- Teaching is usually an employee job, interpreting usually means freelancing (Brussels staff positions excluded). Freelancing means an unpredictable, sometimes hectic schedule, much better hourly wage but unpredictable monthly earnings. They are very different lifestyles, so you need to think about which one is more suited to your temperament. Also, if you choose interpreting, you will probably translate as well to fill in the gaps.
- If you think about going for interpreting, ask around about the interpreting market at home in case Brussels doesn't work out.

Someone from the Brussels English booth will hopefully chime in with specific info e.g. about whether EN A + DE, FR C is a workable combination these days.


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Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:30
Serbian to English
+ ...
these are two very different professions Dec 2, 2014

most of the skills required for teaching are useless even a hindrance in conference interpreting, and vice versa.

You need to get first someone's honest and qualified opinion as to which one of the 2 really suits you.

As for the pass rate at EU accreditation test, it's ways lower than 25% - but that shouldn't discourage you if you have what it takes to be conference interpreter.


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polyglot45
English to French
+ ...
bilingualism Dec 2, 2014

I think it has been sufficiently well demonstrated that it is not because you are "bilingual" from birth that you will necessarily be a good conference interpreter.
Many interpreters started life with one language before gaining the other, albeit in some cases at a very early age.

Some of the best interpreters are NOT bilingual by birth.
If you want to go for it, don't let that detail put you off. It all depends on your particular skills & abilities. Only you can judge these from where I'm sitting.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:30
Russian to English
+ ...
25% is not that bad. In the US in some States the passing rate Dec 3, 2014

FarkasAndras wrote:

CillianD wrote:

Hi lads, currently studying an undergraduate degree in languages, and am undecided as to whether to do teaching or interpreting. The university I attend does a masters in Conference Interpretation, however realistically I think it's unlikely I'd be able to pass the EU accreditation test, because it's like a 25% pass rate and you'd think a lot of that is people who have been bilingual since birth. Is there much work in the private market, or what are the other realistic options? Language combination is French and German btw

Well, 25% isn't that bad. In many booths the pass rate is much lower. In Hungarian, it's probably under 10% for the last few years. To my knowledge, the English booth needs people somewhat desperately so if you're good you have a good shot. Also, with an English A you don't need a B but two (or more) Cs, so being bilingual isn't that much of a leg up compared to having a solid C.

As I see it, there are two issues to consider:
- Teaching is usually an employee job, interpreting usually means freelancing (Brussels staff positions excluded). Freelancing means an unpredictable, sometimes hectic schedule, much better hourly wage but unpredictable monthly earnings. They are very different lifestyles, so you need to think about which one is more suited to your temperament. Also, if you choose interpreting, you will probably translate as well to fill in the gaps.
- If you think about going for interpreting, ask around about the interpreting market at home in case Brussels doesn't work out.

Someone from the Brussels English booth will hopefully chime in with specific info e.g. about whether EN A + DE, FR C is a workable combination these days.

for court interpreters it is 7-11%. I think teaching might be more rewarding if you have the patience to explain things ten times, or more--occasionally. Booth interpreting is slightly uncomfortable--physically, and much more boring and stressful than other types of interpreting. Perhaps you should look into other types of interpreting, if you like interpreting more.


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Anke Köllmann-Gutjahr
Germany
Local time: 10:30
English to German
+ ...
Motivation is key Dec 4, 2014

Interpreting skills are something you will have to put a lot of hard and dedicated work into - not only while in university, but also afterwards and for the rest of your professional life. That takes a lot of motivation and also passion, because forcing yourself to continuously work on something you are not really sure is right for you will not get you very far. And while I understand that you want to be sure to get a job once you are done - I'm not sure if there is any field where that's the case nowadays.

If you are really convinced that interpreting is your dream job, and you are willing to work hard on your language and interpreting skills until you retire - go for it! If your real passion is something else - go for that.


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PatrickMoreschi
United States
Local time: 02:30
Interpreting skills Jan 24, 2015

Interpreting skills are very important for dedicated work. I think you have extraordinary listening abilities, particularly for simultaneous interpreting. Interpreters must also possess excellent public speaking skills and the intellectual capacity to instantly transform statements that the target audience will understand.

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