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ESIT (Paris) or ETI (Geneva)?
Thread poster: scuba19
scuba19
Local time: 16:27
French to English
Jan 31, 2008

It seems like these two are the main schools at which to do a postgrad in conference interpreting - what are the differences between these courses apart from length?

What advice, if any, can you give me on the entrance exams for either of these?

Finally, if I wish to swap B and C languages just before the oral entrance exam, do you think that is possible?

Sorry to be so vague and general!


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mmihano4
Local time: 17:27
English to Croatian
+ ...
better eti Jan 31, 2008

I think eti is better since I've heard horrible things about esit,, like teachers being nasty to students, calling them names, asking them if they had brains when they made a mistake...
though I have to admit that everybody I know of who finished esit has made it into EU or UN
I don't know much about eti, but I suppose it's more human than esit
swapping b and c language is not a very good thing prior to the entrance exam. in fact, at the entrance exam the commission decides which languages are your b or c based on your performance
it often happens that student comes to the entrance exam with a b language, but does poorely and gets his b language downgraded to c. or that candidates come with a b and a c language only to perform poorly in the entrance exam and get only their supposed b language downgraded to c and their c downgraded to d level (levle not high enough to enter the programme)
if you feel that you want to swap b and c languages you probably have both languages c
in my opinion it's better to start off with two c languages, which then in the course of training can be upgraded if the teachers find that you progress well enough.
i did my postgrad in graz, austria and was very pleased with the nice treatment and dedicated teachers. I also had no problem passing the eu entrance exam after my postgrad in graz


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Stephanie Diaz
English to Spanish
Check the training principles they follow Jan 31, 2008

One thing that you can do is try to find out the principles of interpreter training that the program follows.

In general, there have been two broad approaches to interpreter training.
One approach is that interpreters are born, not made. Therefore, trainees must come in with a series of prerequistes: excellent domain of their working languages, good memory, resistance to stressing conditions, among others. I think this was a good approach to follow when interpreter training was just beginning and, among other factors, there was a huge demand for conference interpreters to train and little time. Besides, at that time there wasn't much knowledge available about the mental processes involved in language interpretation.

The other approach is just the opposite, interpreters are made, not born. This approach highlights the fact that most interpreting skills are acquired by practice (lots of, anyway) hence the program should focus on the acquisition of those skills. This approach then takes into account the potential that you might have to develop those skills and become a good interpreter.

In any case, both approaches agree in that native and near native domain of your working languages are preferred requisites before starting interpreter training.

You can check the programs' websites or write directly to the program coordinators to find out. You can also surf the web or pay a visit to the library of your nearest translation/interpreting school and check books about translator and interpreter training. They are quite interesting and you'll see that this issues have been broadly discussed.

Greetings!


[Editado a las 2008-01-31 23:32]

[Editado a las 2008-01-31 23:34]


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Alana Quintyne  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:27
French to English
+ ...
entrance exams Feb 1, 2008

The entrance exams for these two schools are very different and from the looks of it test very different sets of skills. You should check their websites to have a look at what each set of entrance exams require you to do and train accordingly. In addition, at ETI you can enter with ACC and then upgrade one of your languages to a B later with their complementary certificate in conference interpreting, whereas at ESIT, you either enter with a B or have three passive languages (ACCC).

For ETI check
http://www.unige.ch/eti/enseignements/formations/ma-interpretation/inscription/examens-admission-interpretation.pdf

For ESIT check
http://www.univ-paris3.fr/esit/brochures/brochure_inter_2007_final.pdf

Hope that helps some. Good luck!

[Edited at 2008-02-01 01:15]


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:27
Flemish to English
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The Gunnery Sergeant Hartman:approach :) Feb 1, 2008

Stephanie Díaz wrote:

One thing that you can do is try to find out the principles of interpreter training that the program follows.

In general, there have been two broad approaches to interpreter training.
One approach is that interpreters are born, not made. Therefore, trainees must come in with a series of prerequistes: excellent domain of their working languages, good memory, resistance to stressing conditions, among others. I think this was a good approach to follow when interpreter training was just beginning and, among other factors, there was a huge demand for conference interpreters to train and little time. Besides, at that time there wasn't much knowledge available about the mental processes involved in language interpretation
.
--

The other approach is just the opposite, interpreters are made, not born. This approach highlights the fact that most interpreting skills are acquired by practice (lots of, anyway) hence the program should focus on the acquisition of those skills. This approach then takes into account the potential that you might have to develop those skills and become a good interpreter.

In any case, both approaches agree in that native and near native domain of your working languages are preferred requisites before starting interpreter training.


br>
[Editado a las 2008-01-31 23:34]


Your question is the same as comparing Insead to Harvard business school.
ETI is the oldest interpreter school in the world. Is situated inside a beautifiul white building of the Université de Genève.At ETI, you only have a choice of 6 (A-)languages and even if you take say English as A-language (being non-native) you are allowed to prove yourself. If you pass, you pass, if you don't, you don't.

I took that test 4 years ago and I have one chance left. If you do not have the time to follow their advice about comparative reading to the letter, forget passing the written exams. I remember there where quite a few proverbs of which you had to know the equivalent.
That is why this year, I decided not to participate. When I participated, there were 100 candidates of which 20 passed the written test (translation without a dictionary) and 12 the oral test divided over the 6 languages of the school.ETI is also one of the "court-suppliers" of the UN and E.U. From what I have seen on "The Fluester", they give feedback to what you did wrong/right.

The second approach is the approach of the US-Marines. Did you see opening scene of the movie "Full Metal Jacket":
Break down a person to built up later. . In fact, I would love being yelled at. I know of a school where the first two months you are being yelled at every time you are not at the level the teacher expects you to and after a few months you get your first praise when you interpret in the same tone and at the same speed (sim).
--
At ESIT, they form groups as soon as their are enough students who passed the entrance exam in a given combination.

I see that you only have one language combination.

At ETI/ESIT and many other programs at least two foreign languages are required. ESIT makes an exception for A/B, but then your knowledge of that B language has to be exceptionally good.

I wonder if you can downgrade your language if you put "B" on a form.


[Edited at 2008-02-01 09:12]

[Edited at 2008-02-01 09:13]


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Jean Bisping  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:27
English to French
+ ...
Gee, all that studying! Feb 5, 2008

Sorry, cannot contain myself here - I never studied the stuff, not a day in my life, no relevant diplomas, neither graduate nor undergraduate, yet I've been working as an interpreter for the past 20 years. And I know a whole bunch of incredibly talented people who have followed any number of pathways to become interpreters. How many aiic members have a Ph.d. in mathematics or still have backgrounds in opera? I mean, you name it! There are other ways to learn these skills!

Johnnie


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:27
Flemish to English
+ ...
Self-annointed vs.trainng. Feb 5, 2008

Do they need this mathematical background to interpret a congres about say sprinkler, a works-council, a meeting about the sale of oil-fields.

Self-learning and self-annointing is a way to get there too. If it works out and the customer is satisfied,fine... but if you go flat on your face... Nothing personal (madame moderator), but I dare to bet that in the beginning of your career you went flat on your face a couple of times when you had to deal with a high speed speaker who failed to articulate. I did. And I am not ashamed of it. It was a good lesson. Besides, it is not studying but training and the harder the trainer yells at you and breaks down your efforts, the better (at least in the beginning).I call this education/training "risk containment".

Besides, you have to compete with people who have proven that they meet certain standards developped over the years or who had a workload of 40 hours per week to get their degree and were graduated by peers to become members of aiic.
To demistify interpreting: how did you learn consecutive, the means of selection "par excellence" at competitive exams at admission exams at interpreter schools, graduation exams and international institutions.


[Edited at 2008-02-05 20:56]


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Jonathan Sanders  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:27
Let's not be so dogmatic Feb 8, 2008

Both of your comments have some basis in truth.

It is true that many AIIC members did not have any formal interpreting training, failed at one of the prestigious schools that you mentioned (ESIT and ETI), or simply bumped into the profession by chance (from what I understand the EU used to run newspaper ads) and are today successful, talented and reknown conference interpreters.

That being said, now, the surest (which is far from sure) route to have as many opportunities as possible in the profession is by going to an interpreting school, preferibly one recognized by AIIC. The benefits of formal training are obvious--any high-quality formal training in any field is an advantage even for the naturally gifted and self-learned.

But nothing in this world is flawless and I think it's a mistake to take all of the "propaganda"/"smoke and mirrors" of the profession as if it were gospel truth.

You must remember that conference interpreting has just barely existed for 50 years. The profession is just tip-toeing itself and methodological approaches to training have just barely been explored. I think it behoves us to consider that the mere existence of the yelling, breaking down approach does not mean that it is the only or even the best way to learn or teach. As I get older, I find myself less and less impressed by oppresive power structures. In my opinion, obnoxious bullying often has more to do with the person doing the bullying than other way around. Or as Bill Maher, the American comedian/political commentator says, "Saying you're a patriot is like saying you have a big ****. lf you have to say it, it probably isn't true".

Also, you have to realize that interpreting is an artistic profession and as a result, very personal. What works as a learning method for one person, might not work for someone else. Some people find shadowing helpful training, I personally don't. Some people drudge better through a read-out speech if they hold their heads in their hands, other people don't. Some people do better on their EU tests if they do consecutive first as opposed to simultaneous, and other people don't. And since research is just in its infancy, credible, general claims to this regard are few and far between.

What I feel was good in my training was that I always felt respected, but that there was a good balance: errors were highlighted with a focus on the extent to which they demostrated failure in technique. Then specific suggestions were made for improving technique, and we practiced excercises in class. It was an approach that apparently worked for me (with my own personal qualities), because I eventually passed the UN Freelancer Exams. But that was my particular situation and is not necesarially applicable to everyone.

When it comes to interpreting, I tend to think that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. In a profession that's so young, and relatively nebulous, "C'est la seule façon de ne pas se raconter des histoires". Some people who have the best qualifications and experience in the world, when put in certain situations, would be unable to perform in a satsifactory fashion. We all remember that poor English interprer who was reprimanded for saying Syria had a nuclear reactor. It happens to the best. On the other hand, there are probably brilliant Somali-English interpreters who regularly perform excellent work in the local hospital or court house, but who will never be recognized as being at AIIC-level simply because there are no international conferences with Somali.

The EU believes that consecutive is a general show of interpretation competence, and makes all applicants take consecutive even if they know in some combinations it will never be necessary (English > Danish comes to mind). I understand that approach, but I also understand the UN's approach, namely that the best way to find out someone's competence in simultaneous interpreting is to listen to them simultaneously interpret. And this is probably why the "sacred consecutive" dogma is not universal even among international organizations: http://www.aiic.net/ViewPage.cfm?page_id=768 .

I'm just saying you should maybe take some of these canons of the profession as you would any other idea--with a grain of salt. Submit it to your reasoning process and your intuition. I personally found that fantasy of the perfect interpreter, etc. quite oppresive and counterproductive. In training, I would be paralyzed if I thought I had made a less than perfect word choice, but that's changed now. Other people I've met who've passed exams seem to agree with me that confidence is one of the most important weapons you can have on an oral exam. It really helped me to realize that my goal was to help A communicate with B, nothing more, nothing less--and eventually everything more or less fell into place.

And that is ultimately the proof of a good interpreter, no matter what qualifications they do or don't have and what school they've been through.

Just a thought.


Williamson wrote:

Do they need this mathematical background to interpret a congres about say sprinkler, a works-council, a meeting about the sale of oil-fields.

Self-learning and self-annointing is a way to get there too. If it works out and the customer is satisfied,fine... but if you go flat on your face... Nothing personal (madame moderator), but I dare to bet that in the beginning of your career you went flat on your face a couple of times when you had to deal with a high speed speaker who failed to articulate. I did. And I am not ashamed of it. It was a good lesson. Besides, it is not studying but training and the harder the trainer yells at you and breaks down your efforts, the better (at least in the beginning).I call this education/training "risk containment".

Besides, you have to compete with people who have proven that they meet certain standards developped over the years or who had a workload of 40 hours per week to get their degree and were graduated by peers to become members of aiic.
To demistify interpreting: how did you learn consecutive, the means of selection "par excellence" at competitive exams at admission exams at interpreter schools, graduation exams and international institutions.


[Edited at 2008-02-05 20:56]


[Edited at 2008-02-08 17:47]


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xxxErika IT  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 17:27
German to Italian
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Geneva! Feb 19, 2008

As ETI student (almost finished) I would definitely go for Geneva!!!

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xxxYamato
Bulgaria
Local time: 18:27
Russian to Spanish
+ ...
ESIT Feb 27, 2008

I think ESIT is somewhat better than ETI.

For one, they ask more of students from the start. The entrance exam are better thought out, IMHO. I mean, you have to actually interpret, in contrast with ETI exams were you just translate.

Second, I can't really speak for ETI, but at ESIT they don't train "begginer interpreters" so to speak. What they ask of you is the skill of any other seasoned interpreter.
That's why, in the final exams, the only question posed to examiners is: "Would you work with this person as your boothmate" ?

Third, the equipment is way better. It's real conference material. The booths at ETI are very nice and things, but it's not what you see in real life.

Fourth, I think that the fact that during the first year you only do consecutive is a very good idea. Helps you get the basic technique down. Granted, consecutive is less useful these days, but if you can't master the principles of consecutive, your simultaneous will be challenged

Finally, I've been told that ESIT is better by a UN Chief Interpreter and the head of the interpreting department at Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, he himself trained at ETI.

And the stories about ESIT teachers being nasty are old stories. That was the previous generation. Now they are demanding, yes, even unforgiving, but never go down to the personal level.

Edit: I should add that I'm one year away from graduating at ESIT.

[Editado a las 2008-02-27 20:23]


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Alana Quintyne  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:27
French to English
+ ...
Why ETI? Feb 27, 2008

Erika Burkia wrote:

As ETI student (almost finished) I would definitely go for Geneva!!!


Why do you say ETI is better than ESIT?

[Edited at 2008-02-27 21:45]


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xxxErika IT  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 17:27
German to Italian
+ ...
Arguments for ETI Feb 28, 2008

I know I did not have very strong arguments for Geneva Let's do it now:

1) Entrance exam: it is composed of a written part (translation) and an oral part (short consecutives without taking notes). I had never interpreted before taking the exam and I think this approach provides a level playing field for students

2) Final exam: as far as I know, at final exams students are evaluated on the "boothmate-basis". Of course you cannot expect a student being a seasoned interpreter at that point

3) Technical equipment: it is absolutely excellent. I have seen such booths only at the European Parliament. All classrooms have 5 booths at least and I can assure you it is a pleasure coming here for training

4) Consecutive: as our masters lasts 3 semesters, we have consecutive during the first semester and we start with simultaneous in the second semester

4) Face-to-face / website: apart from general classes and "par-paires-de-langues" classes, we also have a website for contacting professors, finding out information on topics, courses, feedback, etc. and for downloading speeches (very very very important)

5) Professors / assistants: assistants provide great support to students. Whenever you have a problem, you can be sure they will help you out with feedback and exercises or by simply listening to you

6) A-C-C: you have the possibilty of taking a A-C-C degree if you do not have a third C language or a B language. For example, I have German and English and could now add French

I should add that I do not know how things work in Paris. I am sure it is an excellent course as well! When I said I would definitely go for Geneva, I meant that I would choose the same path again without any regret and that I would recommend it.

[Modificato alle 2008-02-28 09:05]


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Alana Quintyne  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:27
French to English
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Students Feb 28, 2008

Thanks! It's good to hear feedback from current students and past students on the courses.

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xxxYamato
Bulgaria
Local time: 18:27
Russian to Spanish
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interesting! Feb 28, 2008

Erika Burkia wrote:

1) Entrance exam: it is composed of a written part (translation) and an oral part (short consecutives without taking notes). I had never interpreted before taking the exam and I think this approach provides a level playing field for students

2) Final exam: as far as I know, at final exams students are evaluated on the "boothmate-basis". Of course you cannot expect a student being a seasoned interpreter at that point

4) Consecutive: as our masters lasts 3 semesters, we have consecutive during the first semester and we start with simultaneous in the second semester

4) Face-to-face / website: apart from general classes and "par-paires-de-langues" classes, we also have a website for contacting professors, finding out information on topics, courses, feedback, etc. and for downloading speeches (very very very important)

5) Professors / assistants: assistants provide great support to students. Whenever you have a problem, you can be sure they will help you out with feedback and exercises or by simply listening to you

6) A-C-C: you have the possibilty of taking a A-C-C degree if you do not have a third C language or a B language. For example, I have German and English and could now add French
it.

[Modificato alle 2008-02-28 09:05]

Oh, I was mistaken on several counts, I see, namely 1,2 and 6. Sorry for that.

With all the data you added we could probably say that programs are pretty much identical.
I would still go for ESIT, anyway, because I think 4 semesters gives you more of an edge.

Allow me a question, how many weekly hours of work would you say ETI represents? Not just classes, but everything: group work, homework, etc.


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Eulalie Guillaume  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:27
English to French
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what the admission tests at ETI are like? Aug 12, 2008

Hi ERika!

My name is Eulalie. I'm French, in my final year of BA in translation in the UK. I've seen your comments about the ETI school in Geneva. I'm considering applying for the Master in interpreting. Could you tell me what the admission tests are like? Is it very high level? I know it's quite difficult. But I have few months to prepare for it and I'd like to put the odds in favour. I already have quite good experience in translation, but I guess interpreting is very different. And good at translation doesn't necessarily mean good at interpreting. So it's hard to say if I have the right skills for it.

Did you enjoy the course? Was it a lot of pressure? What're doing now?Did the course help you find your professional path? And on a more personal level, do you think it helps be more confident and deal with stressing situations?

I'm sorry to ask you so many questions. I'm just wondering if I'm up for the challenge. Please, feel free to give me any advice or exchange your feelings about the school or the degree itself.

Thank you so much in advance for your help!!

all the best!

Eulalie


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