Interpreter training in France - where did you train?
Thread poster: Bianca Jacobsohn

Bianca Jacobsohn  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:21
French to English
+ ...
Jan 19, 2006

Dear fellow proZians,

I'm finishing my MA in translation/interpreting this year and have (and have had for many years) my heart set on training in France (or Switzerland, even)to become an interpreter. My MA does have an interpreting module, but it's limited to notetaking techniques and liaison interpreting.

I've spent the past few weeks visiting French university sites and taking notes of ones that interest me. Of course ISIT would be my first choice, but I am aware of the grilling entrance exams.

I guess what I'm asking from you is feedback / recommendations of Unis in France which offer interpreter training.

Your advice is, as always, genuinely appreciated!

Kind regards,



sarahl (X)
Local time: 15:21
English to French
+ ...
IPLV Angers Jan 19, 2006

Hi Bianca

I was trained in the US but most of my career as a conference interpreter was in France.

In my experience, people trained in IPLV in Angers were by far the best. If you're interested, I'll be glad to give you the email address of one of the profs -we worked together several times.



Bianca Jacobsohn  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:21
French to English
+ ...
Academic conversion Jan 19, 2006

Firstly, thanks Sarah - this is wonderful information.

I think part of my difficulty in finding concrete information from the websites is not knowing exactly what level I equate to academically in the French system.

I'm in my 5th year of study (3-year BA + 2 years). Also, I would only have one year in which to study in France.

Or perhaps none of this even matters?


df49f (X)
Local time: 00:21
interpreting schools in France Jan 19, 2006

Hi Bianca

If you can make it through the tough ESIT exam, then go for it.
You should know however, first that it will take 3 years to graduate, and most importantly that French/English is a very common pair, and professors (who are also freelancers) are somewhat reluctant to put out too many graduates out on the market, and particularly if they are promising and would end up being dangerous competitors!
ISIT is fine too (but more expensive because private and not part of the public university system).

And I'm sorry but with all due respect for Sarah, I must strongly disagree on the Angers IPLV, based on my own 20-year experience of sharing interpreting booths with a large number of colleagues (including several graduates as well as IPLV professors/freelancers)...
(please contact me on my personal e-mail if you wish me to explain why - I had included it here previously but decided to edit out my explanations not to hurt anyone's feelings).

There are also some very good schools in Belgium, and one in Geneva you might want to check out.

Remember also that even the best of schools cannot turn anyone into an good interpreter... aside from bilingualism/ biculturalism which is a must, either you've got the little "something" in your brain and neural nets and synapses that will enable you to do the gymnastics, or you don't! and if you do have it, plus the gift of curiosity, then it doesn't make much difference which school you attend! - after that, it's a matter of learning as you work and as you live, and I've become convinced that this is really the only real and effective way to "train" and become good at the job. Every single day in a booth is a day of training and learning and discovery and improving our skills - even after 20 years - and even then, there are still times when we get stuck and make mistakes and don't understand what the speaker is talking about!!

Bonne chance!

[Edited at 2006-01-19 22:24]


Bianca Jacobsohn  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:21
French to English
+ ...
Biculturalism Jan 19, 2006

Thanks for the insight and advice, df49f, much appreciated.

In addition to training, improving my French and knowledge of French/Swiss, etc. culture is the object of my year in a Francophone country. And hopefully I possess that "something" to be an interpreter, too.icon_eek.gif)
I'm very interested to find out about what's available and what's good in France and then take it from there - will there be a course that suits my needs?


Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:21
Flemish to English
+ ...
Schools in Belgium Jan 20, 2006

I.S.T.I.: institut supérieur de traducteurs et interprètes Brussels. (CIUTI-school)
You have to pass a test that you know French sufficiently.
I passed it, but could not register for training because French is not my mother-tongue (altough I am Belgian and have lived in the vicinity of Brussels for many years).
Institut Libre Marie Haps:
Written (translations into both directions of both foreign languages) and spoken entry tests.
Ecole d'interprètes internationaux Mons (CIUTI school).
Erasmushogeschool Brussels : not too severe, but lacks quality
Vlekho : no idea
Both schools in Antwerp are of top quality. I have known that there were only 3 people admitted and that they reprenseted the entire language range taught at that school. Out of 12, 2 passed.
The one in Genth too.
Interpreter's training : Training in concept-thinking and voice.<

[Edited at 2006-01-20 08:20]


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