An advice
Thread poster: xxxkikyo
xxxkikyo
Local time: 01:24
English to Italian
+ ...
Jul 21, 2006

Hello to everybody!
I discovered proz.com only two days ago. If you have some minutes to read this message, I will tell you what's troubling me.
As I wrote in the italian section, I got my degree here in Italy in 2005. I attended the faculty of Foreign Languages and the fourth year was entirely focused on interpretation (simultaneous and consecutive interpretation).
I studied English, French and Spanish.
I would really like to become an interpreter but I know this profession requires a long period of training.
I have never been abroad and I'd like to attend an interpretation master outside Italy. I want to enhance my english language first and I'd prefer to study in the United States. So, since October 2005, I started working here in Italy with the intention of gaining enough money for leaving.
But the master’s prices, in USA, are too high for me: I'd have to work at least 3 or 4 years to put aside the necessary money. So I started thinking about European masters. The prices are generally affordable, but many of these courses require candidates at least 4 months of stay in the countries where the languages they studied are also the official languages. I understand why it’s important but this is an obstacle for those like me have restricted financial assets. Despite the money matters, if I wanted to carry on English, Spanish and French…how long would this take me?
I’m really worried and confused. Actually, I don’t know what to do. I just go on working here in Italy (as a secretary) and wonder about my future.
I would like to ask people who have gone through the same worries and experiences, to give me an advice. I’d also ask users from United States to tell me about some programs or courses they think could be suitable to me and my situation.
Thank you all in advance.


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Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 18:24
German to English
What do the jobs require? Jul 21, 2006

I am not an interpreter, but I have a degree in Interpreting and Translating and I feel sure that it would be possible for you to get interpreting jobs without further training. As you've studied it, surely all you need now is practice/experience?

What sort of jobs are you looking at? What qualifications and experience do they require? If I were you, I would try to get work as an interpreter now, if that's what you really want to do. Even if was just working as a tour guide or something, it's all valuable language practice and practical job experience. Are you doing any interpreting work in your current secretarial job?


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:24
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Hi kikyo Jul 21, 2006

and welcome to proz.com!

kikyo wrote:

Hello to everybody!
I discovered proz.com only two days ago. If you have some minutes to read this message, I will tell you what's troubling me.
As I wrote in the italian section, I got my degree here in Italy in 2005. I attended the faculty of Foreign Languages and the fourth year was entirely focused on interpretation (simultaneous and consecutive interpretation).
I studied English, French and Spanish.
I would really like to become an interpreter but I know this profession requires a long period of training.
I have never been abroad and I'd like to attend an interpretation master outside Italy. I want to enhance my english language first and I'd prefer to study in the United States.


And why the States? There seems to be something in your premises I'm missing.

An interpreter preferrably works into his/her mother language. This implies that you'd statistically be better off where your teachers -- and later on the persons doing cabin monitoring for you -- are natives in target.

While it's true that interpreters need to have travelled, or acquired an equivalent experience of accents in their source languages, they generally do this prior to interpreter training. In fact, the ideal activity for you at this stage is a long foreign language immersion holiday. No joke.

So, since October 2005, I started working here in Italy with the intention of gaining enough money for leaving.
But the master’s prices, in USA, are too high for me: I'd have to work at least 3 or 4 years to put aside the necessary money.


They're high for everybody as well. There's another factor to consider. I don't know how students do things in Italy, but serious US colleges tend to evaluate MA/MS admission candidates taking into account a certain amount of occupational experience after having graduated their BA/BS. In fact, some institutions specify a 2-year interval between the BA and the MA (that can be waived at discretion). Then, there is the fact that an MA is not part of compulsory education, tends to be targeted depending on the individual, and tends to involve research and/or further study based on input from experience. I'd go get the experience first. Particularly where language, translation or interpretation MAs are concerned, they were never meant to serve as language courses: i.e., all the acquisition that can be done outside the MA are a point in favour of the admissions candidate.

So I started thinking about European masters. The prices are generally affordable, but many of these courses require candidates at least 4 months of stay in the countries where the languages they studied are also the official languages.


This is the way the European masters resolves the experience quandary. The fact is, that an MA course requires some fuel for optimum effect, there's no spoon-feeding, and hence, it can't be done ex-nihilo on the part of the candidate.

I understand why it’s important but this is an obstacle for those like me have restricted financial assets.


You can browse through the contents of this forum (Professional Development) where we have posted many links in relation to scholarships, grants and aid all over the world. I believe we also have the past European Masters websites during the developmental phases of that programme (well, it's still developmental, anyway, and it changes from one year to another, but since the changes are all based on previous years' experience on the part of the granting institutions, it should give you an idea of what to expect).

Despite the money matters, if I wanted to carry on English, Spanish and French…how long would this take me?


Long, why should I lie to you. In fact, the best among us say they're still learning. This profession is a continuous learning experience. The trick is, to take the proper steps -- which will vary in every individual's case -- when the time for them is ripe. This is no undergrad club in which you should begin to worry if you haven't graduated after 7 years and the State kicks you out after 9. Some of us go back to school at 50, more relaxed and less tense about performing -- probably because we have already performed. Experience gives you that much of an edge.

I’m really worried and confused. Actually, I don’t know what to do. I just go on working here in Italy (as a secretary) and wonder about my future.


If I may ask a personal question, how old are you? Not that I require an answer, but it's been observed that most of us actually "started" being professional at 30-35, at a precocious estimate.

Hope it makes you feel better.


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xxxkikyo
Local time: 01:24
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the reply Jul 21, 2006

I think you're right when you say I should begin now and I was not bad in interpreting. But I practiced for one year only: I learned the techniques but I never had the possibility to deepen the language. I "studied" English but did not "lived" the language. This is the reason why I still make mistakes and sometimes it's difficult catching the meaning of what I hear. This should not happen to an interpreter. I know it is not always possible to understand every single word and I learned the techniques necessary to go on anyway and saying something in line with the topic. But I should do this as a last resource. So, the main difficulty to me is understanding some speakers (especially americans). I think an interpreter must be a professional: I cannot just go and improvise.
So I make "sight translation" and sometimes, just for fun, I translate tv broadcasts almost simultaneously. But that's all I can do.
Once, I worked in a sunglasses store near "Piazza di Spagna" in Rome just to have the opportunity to practice with tourists. Then, in March, I received a phone call for another type of job: a firm producing cartoons called me to entairtain public relations with the international partners. To tell you the truth, I've been working as an ordinary secretary since the beginning of april. But I go on, just to earn enough and have the opportunity to leave. But after 1 year of work, I have not put aside enough money (even if I do not spend much). So time goes on, I don't know what choice to make and then, I get worried.


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Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 18:24
German to English
Your best bet is to visit the UK or the US for a couple of months Jul 21, 2006

Hello again,

Bearing in mind what you have said, I think your best bet is to try to get some "real-life" language experience. Why not try to enrol in some sort of course in the UK (either a language course or something else you are interested in) for a few weeks/months or get a job (anything, even waitressing) somewhere in the UK? (I say the UK because it is very difficult for a European citizen to do this in the US). This would give you "real-life" exposure to the language, and working or studying will force you to talk and interact with people all day - this will help you learn much faster than a holiday would.

It sounds as though you are frustrated in your job and confused as to how to proceed. I think you need to spend some time in an English-speaking country to get real immersion experience and to make you feel as though you are making progress towards your goal. From what you have said, you do not seem confident in your interpreting abilities either. To be honest, though, I think that now you have learned the techniques, all you need is practical experience. Parrot has already made some excellent points - most of us are very much still learning. I have been a professional translator and proofreader for 9 years now, but still consider myself a beginner in many respects. I have definitely learned more about translation in my 3 years of freelancing than i did in 4 years of study. Sometimes you just have to jump in at the deep end!


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xxxkikyo
Local time: 01:24
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I'll reply as soon as I can Jul 21, 2006

Parrot, Hilary...I've just read your answers. Unluckily I have no time now to reply as I'd like so, I'll come back later.

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xxxkikyo
Local time: 01:24
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Here I am! Jul 24, 2006

For Parrot:

And why the States? There seems to be something in your premises I'm missing.

An interpreter preferrably works into his/her mother language. This implies that you'd statistically be better off where your teachers -- and later on the persons doing cabin monitoring for you -- are natives in target.


I chose the United States because, to me, it's more difficult understanding an american rather than a speaker from the UK.

I don't know how students do things in Italy, but serious US colleges tend to evaluate MA/MS admission candidates taking into account a certain amount of occupational experience after having graduated their BA/BS. In fact, some institutions specify a 2-year interval between the BA and the MA (that can be waived at discretion)


I didn't know that. I have never sent an application for an italian master but, according to what I know, italian universities don't apply the same rules and don't put such a condition.

Long, why should I lie to you. In fact, the best among us say they're still learning . This profession is a continuous learning experience. The trick is, to take the proper steps -- which will vary in every individual's case -- when the time for them is ripe. This is no undergrad club in which you should begin to worry if you haven't graduated after 7 years and the State kicks you out after 9. Some of us go back to school at 50, more relaxed and less tense about performing -- probably because we have already performed. Experience gives you that much of an edge.


The fact is that I'm obsessed by time. I'm afraid of making the wrong choices, I'm afraid I won't have all the necessary years to practice and to learn what I have to. I don't know why...maybe because I'm a woman. I'm realizing that only in these days. Actually, I'm an unquiet person.

If I may ask a personal question, how old are you?


At the end of November, I'll be 25.

For Hilary:


It sounds as though you are frustrated in your job and confused as to how to proceed.


Yes, it's exactly like that.

From what you have said, you do not seem confident in your interpreting abilities either.


I'm not confident because I never practiced outside the university. But I do like interpretation: doing it makes me nervous but also satisfied. It makes me happy at the end. And I was not bad...I just lack experience.

Anyway...this topic is helping me to realize how I'm scared. As I wrote before, I'm scared of making the wrong choices and loosing time.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:24
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
To kikyo Jul 28, 2006

kikyo wrote:

I chose the United States because, to me, it's more difficult understanding an american rather than a speaker from the UK.


What about language immersion in the US and then taking the course in Italy? I'm suggesting this because once confidence is acquired in source, the key concern in interpretation is actually perfection in target. If you do source language immersion at the same time as an interpretation course, particularly when you intend to work in other source languages as well, the interference may be too much to handle.

Maybe this ties in with

The fact is that I'm obsessed by time. I'm afraid of making the wrong choices, I'm afraid I won't have all the necessary years to practice and to learn what I have to. I don't know why...maybe because I'm a woman. I'm realizing that only in these days.


A British friend of mine spent three years moving all over South America acquiring Spanish and Portuguese and two years more in Spain before getting into an Interpretation MA. Even then, she found the course a beating. (I've sat as an observer in a curriculum committee and found it was designed to be a kind of beating. Once again, you don't get battered because you're "bad". Critique forms part of the system). Another (German) friend has been traipsing all over South America working as a translator before he goes back to school (MA Interpretation). He'll probably marry his South American girlfriend before he graduates -- these are the circumstances of real life that Lanna Castellanos mentions when she says:

Let me propose a life path: grandparents of different nationalities, a good school education in which you learn to read, write, spell, construe and love your own language. Then roam the world, make friends, see life. Go back to education, but to take a technical or commercial degree, not a language degree. Spend the rest of your twenties and your early thirties in the countries whose languages you speak, working in industry or commerce but not directly in languages. Never marry into your own nationality. Have your children. Then back to a postgraduate course.


I've quoted her from this discussion:

http://www.proz.com/topic/37422

But DO make an attempt to break out of your current frustration. Take on short liaison interpreting jobs with visiting tourists/conventioneers and build up your confidence. Take on written work (which will not be much different from sight translation). Take any interesting opportunity for immersion that presents itself. Above all, don't be scared. I've seen young people, at a stage of life when they were easily intimidated, leave interpretation school with such traumatic experiences that they took refuge in safe havens like insurance and accounting and simply accommodated themselves there. Don't let this be your case.


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xxxkikyo
Local time: 01:24
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A path to choose Aug 3, 2006

What about language immersion in the US and then taking the course in Italy?


Actually, I was thinking about the EF program which allows you 6/9 months stay in various locations (also in the United States) and the price is not too high.


But DO make an attempt to break out of your current frustration. Take on short liaison interpreting jobs with visiting tourists/conventioneers and build up your confidence. Take on written work (which will not be much different from sight translation). Take any interesting opportunity for immersion that presents itself. Above all, don't be scared. I've seen young people, at a stage of life when they were easily intimidated, leave interpretation school with such traumatic experiences that they took refuge in safe havens like insurance and accounting and simply accommodated themselves there. Don't let this be your case.


I'm not scared of interpretation but of an interpreter life style. I think I still have to fully accept the idea of leaving my present life behind; unluckily, I'm an anxious person and this is in conflict with the profession I chose. Yet, this is the only job I think I could do for an entire life.
Two days ago, I spoke with my boss about my dissatisfaction: he said he will discuss it with the other board's members during the next meeting.
Lately I have had the possibility of translating some scripts (the firm I work for produces cartoons) and I hope the Production Manager will assign me the translation of some episodes (as he told me).
While I wait for my savings to increase, I was also thinking about voluntary interpretation.
I know that I don't want to give up. I won't let it be my case Parrot.
I only need to understand what path to take to arrive at the final goal: being a professional interpreter.


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