Few newbie questions
Thread poster: happymonday

United Kingdom
Local time: 11:06
Jul 29, 2015

Hello everyone.

My name is Anna and I am considering becoming an interpreter (my native language is Polish)
I was wondering if I could ask few questions here before I spend a lot of money on an expensive CIC Level 3 course.

1) Is blended learning course a good idea or should I stick to face to face courses? I was considering the below ISL course, but I want to know if someone else has done it or have any opinions on the subject:

2) Once a person has obtained the CIC qualification, can they just stick to face to face assignments or do they have to keep accepting the telephone interpreting jobs as well in order to keep the agencies happy?

3) I have a 3 days a week part-time job. If I wanted to keep the job but also sign up with an Interpreter/Translator type of agency, would I have to start my own business or could I still be based on the pension/insurrance system my part-time job provides me with?

4)Can a CIC Lvl 3 qualified interpreter also legally work as a written translator before obtaining DPSI qualification?

I appreciate that the above questions might seem silly to some of you, but I would be really grateful for any help.

[Edited at 2015-07-29 18:11 GMT]


United Kingdom
Local time: 11:06
Polish to English
+ ...
I have completed it Sep 2, 2015

Hi Anna,
I have completed that ISL course and it was great. Clear resources, helpful and professional tutors, working in your own time. Also, I had skype meetings with my assessor and I paid in interest-free instalments.

I will only share my own experience while answering your questions, and I hope someone will correct me when I am wrong.

1. If you already have some experience of interpreting, either formal or informal, go for the distance learning. You will learn the principles of the profession and do a lot of self-studying to find out what you need learn, rather than attending classes and study what everyone else is studying. That will also give you an experience of managing your own time and workload, necessary for a freelancer. Face-to -face classes are good if you have very little experience, but still, you can be in a mixed group, where people aim to interpret languages different to yours, so you cannot even practice with them fully. Online learning gives you an opportunity to contact other Polish interpreters and support each other.

2. The type of work you can choose to accept after completing this course is completely up to you and your confidence in your competencies. You can do telephone interpreting, face-to-face interpreting as well as sight translation. You can register with an agency, advertise your services, volunteer for many organisations. You may need to choose the area you like or are good at, e.g. health services and look for assignments there, gradually obtaining more experience in different services.

3. When you sign up with an agency you will need to read your contract. They might offer you a casual contract, paid per hour with NIN contributions, what is unlikely. They may also require you to work as a freelancer, what means you need to register as a self-employed and pay extra contributions and taxes on the additional income if you reach a certain amount. If it is only the occasional work, you can report your extra earnings to the tax office on the phone, and pay your tax using your PAYE at work. They will deduct your tax for the extra income from your basic wages. I have done that in the past. The best source is https://www.gov.uk/

4. As far as I know, in the UK you don't need to be a sworn translator to translate the documents for clients, so you can offer basic translation services, but you need to think how to compete with the qualified translators, who passed their DPSI or Dip Trans exam. If it is something less complicated such as letters, leaflets, websites it is worth of trying. But you also need to think about your background, so for instance if you already have a diploma in Biology, go for medical and scientific texts rather than literature or legal work. It is hard to get an assignment that would be well paid. I have asked all my friends to let me translate their certificates and diplomas and have done some charity work, just to start my word count.

As I said, this is all based on my personal experience. I didn't know about this forum before, so there was no one to answer my questions, exactly the same as yours. I did my research. Please keep me informed about your progress.


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