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I am considering the MA in conference interpreter at ETI Geneva. My native language is French, and my other languages are German, Spanish and English. I have a MA in international relations already.

English is the foreign language in which I'm the most proficient. I have never lived for extensive periods of time in an English-speaking country, but have used the language long enough in a variety of contexts, including professionally, to feel confident about making it an active language (Bsim in ETI parlance). Having heard many an interpreter working into their audibly non-native English on television shows, I'm sure I can speak the language equally well.

What is the level of proficiency expected of students on a MA in interpreting? If anyone with insider ETI experience is lurking around, please don't be shy.

asked 24 Oct '11, 21:23

David%20M's gravatar image

David M

edited 24 Oct '11, 21:25

I think a good benchmark for your B language is as follows:

  1. you should speak your B language to a level comparable to that of an educated native-speaker of the same language.
  2. you've read the standard literature in that language and you're comfortable talking about it, about the major historical events, political and social trends in that country and anything in the newspapers and on TV.

To achieve this sort of proficiency you will usually have spent a year or more in that country.

You might like to have a look at the following on B languages as well:

permanent link

answered 24 Oct '11, 21:56

Andy's gravatar image


edited 24 Oct '11, 23:07

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

+1 for the document by Chris de Fortis on active languages. Excellent!

(25 Oct '11, 16:21) Delete ♦

Some interpreting programmes require you to demonstrate that you have lived at least one year in a country where your B language is spoken. While I do not think this is the case of the ETI, you should nevertheless check the entrance requirements before setting your mind on a specific programme.

permanent link

answered 24 Oct '11, 23:41

Sirpa's gravatar image


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question asked: 24 Oct '11, 21:23

question was seen: 4,508 times

last updated: 25 Oct '11, 16:21 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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