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Leeds or Esit – Help greatly needed!
Thread poster: Seagull_Highway

Seagull_Highway
Local time: 06:27
Oct 14, 2012

Hello thereicon_smile.gif

I really need your help to make a decision.

I am a bit confused and nervous about making the wrong decision, I don't want to do something and then realise a few years later that I just lost a lot of time and money...

Okay, say you are a 22 year old. You mother tongue is French, you've been living in England for 4 years (English should be a B), in Spanish-speaking Latin America for 1 year (Spanish is a C) and you can chitchat in Portuguese. You have a degree from an English uni, and you want to become a conference interpreter.

That's me.
Now after I graduate from university, what would the best course of action be?

Spending one year abroad? (Say in Portugal or Brazil so that my Portuguese can become a C?)... Or should I be okay with French/English/Spanish (but then my English might turn out to be a C instead of a B, I don't know, and I'll have ACC which is not ideal, at least if I have Portuguese I could have ACCC)

Also I am hesitating between Leeds (Pgdip, or is the MA a lot better?) and Esit... So I've made this list:


LEEDS

Pros:
-I'll save a lot of time and get a diploma that will allow me to find work and experience very quickly
-Even though the Pgdip costs ₤4000 I'll probably end up saving money because living in Leeds 1 year is a lot cheaper than living in Paris 2 or 3 years.
-I like living in England better than living in France
-Graduating from Leeds seems 'easier' and safer than attempting to graduate from Esit which seems to be a school for already seasoned interpreters...

Cons:
-I cannot have Portuguese as part of my combination and will have to stick to ABC (French, English, Spanish)
-A Pgdip from Leeds is nowhere as 'prestigious' as a conference interpreting MA from Esit and I don't know if it will open many doors not if it'll be enough if one day I want to become and EU interpreter?


ESIT

Pros:
-Excellent degree, very good chances I'll get a great job that I'll like
-I can do ABCC or ACCC (French, English, Spanish Portuguese)


Cons:
-It's going to take ages : 1 year in Portugal after my degree + 2 or 3 years of study to graduate
-Seems extremely hard, and although I want to trust my abilities, there is this possibility that I might fail and lose 1 or 2 years of my life (alright, it's not a waste and it's great experience, but it is a loss of money and time for no proper qualification/diploma...)
-I don't particularly want to live in Paris/France
-It's very expensive to live in Paris for 2 or 3 years, don't know how I'll afford it, I'll have a huge debt.


 

Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
EU-backed masters Oct 14, 2012

I think your jitters are perfectly understandable. I would do a master that is backed by the EU. That way you get access to the EU speech database - well worth it in my opinion.

I've heard not so good things about Esit. I can take up to 4 years to graduate from there, and there are overcrowding issues. It would be much better to save up and go to ISIT or Geneva. Most French speakers train in France or Switzerland.

Leeds sounds good, but I don't know if it is EU backed.

As to combinations, this depends on your aspirations. To work on the private market in France or England you will need a retour. Your retour into English must be strong to work in England. If you want to head off to Switzerland afterwards, you will probably need German. German is a good option for the EU too, but a rarer language will bring you more chances of success.

Instead of spending that year in Portugal why don't you go to the Czech Republic or Sweden or Hungary. After a year or two you could even contemplate doing the masters in the country of your new language, it would probably be cheaper too.


 

Natalia Elo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:27
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Leeds Oct 14, 2012

I am a Leeds graduate, so I am biased.

You will have fantastic local teachers and visiting practicing interpreters from the EU in your combinations in Leeds and believe me it is not that easy to graduate from Leeds as it seems. I think it is better to have an MA rather than PgDip, because it will make you eligible for the EU accreditation test later on.

Where are you studying now? If it is not too far from Leeds, go and visit them. Write to whoever is at the moment the MACITS program director and ask if you could visit a mock conference or so.

I am also happy to tell you about the program over skype as well


 

Seagull_Highway
Local time: 06:27
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Oct 15, 2012

Thanks a lot to both of you for your answers, I really appreciate it!



Tatty:

Yes I am a bit worried about how hard Esit really is, and although it seems to be incredibly good it might indeed take me 3 years or so to graduate, which is a very long time, and to be honest I have absolutely no idea how I'd be able to afford going there... This plus the fact that you cannot have a small part-time job on the side at the same time due to the amount of work required... well it's not impossible to do I'm sure, but it makes me worried.

Unfortunately I think that learning an entirely new language such as German or Swedish or something else might be a bit unrealistic, so I think I'll have to stick to Portuguese as a second C if I need one... And I've read that doing an interpreting course in a country where your C is spoken is not really ideal (better A or B)...

Oh yes and also, on Leeds' website it says “Leeds is one of only two UK universities recommended by the international professional body AIIC (International Association of Conference Interpreters). CTS@Leeds also receives pedagogical support from the EU's Directorates General for Interpretation.”... so I'm assuming that it is indeed backed by the EU? (they even say that since 2003 half of the Leeds interpreting graduates who have taken the EU accreditation test have passed !)


NataliaElo:

Thanks a lot for message, your point of view is very interesting. And yes I live only one hour away from Leeds so I could go and visit the uni (when I get back in Europe, as I am actually in Latin America at the moment)

And I didn't know that the Pgdip was useless to take the EU accreditation test! That changes everything of course, in this light the MA sounds a lot better, even though I'm not particularly interested in translation

Also would you happen to know if it is actually possible to have an ABC combination if your A language isn't English? I am not sure, I've been reading thoroughly their website, and somehow it seems like you can have 'AB' (bidirectional) or 'ACC' , but I haven't seen 'ABC', and they're a bit vague about students whose mother tongue isn't English...


 

Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:27
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Leeds Oct 15, 2012

A few corrections:

1. You can only do CC into A or AB bidirectional. You cannot have an ABC combination in Leeds.

I know because I've been accepted, but my course was deferred as there were not enough students for Portuguese.

2. A PGDip is also accepted by the EU institutions, just as an MA. I asked a DGT representative in one of the Facebook chats.

Keep in mind that prestige is not everything. You get out of the course what you put into it.


 

Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
Elegibility for the EU accreditation test Oct 15, 2012

The EU only invites candidates of interest to it. For English booth we need 2 passive languages including either French or German to get invited for a test. However, as you can imagine with such a limited language combination, even if you pass the test you'll be lucky if you receive a call a month to go and interpret there.

If you are looking to work for the EU, you will have to learn a new language from scratch anyway, as at present they will not be interested in you. You'll probably end up learning another two languages from scratch so you can live off interpreting. The EU has language requirements and it will be able to advise you which languages it is looking for in particular at the moment.

Really, I would avoid Esit. Why spend 4 years doing a Masters (with all the expense and frustration that that would involve) when you can do it in one year.

Remember, a bi-directional combination is for the national market. Leeds may allow you to sit in on the to English consecutive lessons. You can record them and do them at home, even after the course has finished. You can also record the simultaneous classes into English. And make sure that you download the all the French consec and sim speeches from the EU's speech repository so you can train yourself at home. A little hobby for you...


 

Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
EU grant Oct 15, 2012

Dear me, I was forgetting... The EU will give you a grant worth €2,200 to study your master's if they are interested in your combination. Well worth getting...

 

Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:27
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Yes, Oct 15, 2012

Tatty wrote:

Dear me, I was forgetting... The EU will give you a grant worth €2,200 to study your master's if they are interested in your combination. Well worth getting...


and here's the link:

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/scic/cooperation-with-universities/interpretation-bursaries/index_en.htm


 

Seagull_Highway
Local time: 06:27
TOPIC STARTER
Which language? Oct 15, 2012

Thank you very much again for your help, all your answers are really helping me out and I think I understand the situation I’m in a bit better now.

Although now that I know doing ABC or ACCC at Leeds is not possible, I guess I have to go to ESIT, seeing as ACC or AB is not exactly what I’m looking for –I wouldn’t even know which one of these two possibilities is the more useful… Ah, this is so confusing...


I wasn’t aware that FR/EN/SP/PT wasn’t a useful combination, but I guess I should have known that you actually need a ´rarer´ language to get in the EU, it only makes sense.
What about the private market though? And the UN? (Especially since Portuguese might become an official UN language in the future, seeing the way Brazil is developing – I don’t understand why it isn’t yet actually), FR/EN/SP/PT could be good no?

But let’s say I do learn a new language from scratch (Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Swedish, Croatian, Icelandic, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Serbian or Turkish).

It’ll be hard, I know, as one doesn’t add ´one or two languages´ just like that, but I believe I could do it, especially if I spend one year in a country where the language is spoken; I’m young and I still have plenty of time ahead of me.

Do I just forget about Portuguese then?

I don’t feel particularly attracted to any of these languages, so which one should I pick, were I to learn one in order to make my combination more useful?

Also could I just not get in a interpreting school with FR/EN/SP (and possibly PT), get a diploma and start working to get experience, while learning a new useful language to add later on? –It´s not as if anyone takes the EU accreditation test right after they graduate anyway!


 

Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
Youth is on your side Oct 15, 2012

If you are interested in the EU, you should ask French booth what languages they are particularly looking for. Really, someone on this site should be able to tell you that.

Yes, people do pass the accreditation test shortly after graduating from their masters and start working for the EU. I found this very surprising too, but 'tis true.


 

Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:27
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I don't really understand all the confusion:) Oct 15, 2012

What is the problem with doing ACC at Leeds?

Once you graduate, you can offer your preferred combination on the private market and apply to be accredited in the ACCC combination with the EU institutions (which is what you want).

Keep in mind that an interpreting degree is not a language degree so it should in no way dictate or limit what you will be able to offer after you graduate.


 

Seagull_Highway
Local time: 06:27
TOPIC STARTER
I understand a lot better now...! Oct 15, 2012

All right, thank you!

So to sump it up, if I want to work for the EU, I will definitely need another eastern-European C language.
The prospect of working for the EU is of course attractive (secure job, etc).
But I think that I would rather live in England if I had a choice (although I'm not unwilling to move to find work of course), which means that I would have to work for the private market...

In this case is FR/EN/SP/PT still such a useless combination as it is for the EU and the UN? Do you believe that I will struggle to find enough work to make a living? (as any young adult these days, I am worried about finding work of course)


And Diana Coada, yes you are actually very right; I just didn't see it this way (somehow in my head it was a bit like 'you have to get your degree with all your languages or else it won't look good'). But yes I could indeed go to Leeds with A/B (English/French) –or would ACC (French/English/Spanish) be better in my case? – and then offer my actual combination on the private market... It does make sense, and I actually like it better, I think I am leaning toward Leeds more and more (Esit scares me I have to say, and the British education system is just so much better than the way French universities work; this plus the fact that I'd be done in one year instead or three or four...!).


 

Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:27
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I suggest Oct 16, 2012

you wait for one of those DGT Facebook talks and ask the French representatives what other language might be useful to be added in your case. Or maybe you can email someone at the French DGT directly.

Also double-check about the PGDip just in case, but as far as I know, the information I gave you is correct.

Glad I could help!icon_smile.gif


 

Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
Go for Europe! Oct 16, 2012

There's plenty of money to be made in the EU institutions interpreting. Last year I was told that Romanian was lacking in French booth, but there may be other languages of interest. You can't do the course till next year anyhow, so why not have a good go at learning Romanian this year. It has a lot of similarities with Spanish, a reliable source once told me. That way, you would get the EU grant, and would be automatically invited to an accreditation test. Then once you got in, you wouldn't have to worry too much about Romanian because almost all their delegates speak in English anyway. I think they are worried about being misunderstood.

Remember you need to stand out from the crowd.

Think of the money too. In England you'd probably be begging agencies to give you a little bit of interpreting work...even with an A/B combination.

As for Esit, why spend 3 (if you are lucky) or 4 demoralising, frustrating years in Paris? You don't even have a good grounding in Portuguese for your third C language. Why not do ACC in a year in Leeds, and then build on your basic combination.

Well, that's my advice anyway. I hope it all works out for you!


 

Seagull_Highway
Local time: 06:27
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks ! Oct 17, 2012

Thank you very much to both of you again, this has been extremely helpful and it definitely made reconsider a lot of things. It's for the best, and I'm glad I decided to post on this forum!


Tatty, I actually had a go at Romanian a while ago -I learned only a few very very basic things such as 'my name is...' 'how are you?' this sort of things; and I actually quite liked it! Its sounds beautiful. Somehow I thought that Romanian wouldn’t be the most useful language for a French A, since it is a Romance language (and thus making it a bit easier to learn for a french-speaker than say Polish or Croatian), guess I was wrong!

And Diana Coada, yes of course I will make sure that the Pgdip is enough before signing up...! I'm not that interested in translation to be honest... although I do find it interesting, and it could turn out to be useful to have an MA; but well there is a ₤2000 difference after all icon_wink.gif


So yes, thanks a lot again! As I said all this has really helped me.




Now, (you never know...) if someone who knows which C would make my combination more interesting comes across this thread, please leave me a message, I would greatly appreciate iticon_smile.gif


 
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