This site is no longer active. Looking for a conference interpreter? For news, events, contacts and any other information on conference interpreting, please visit us at


On a conference interpreter training course, students have to deal with many issues on a daily basis: broadening their general knowledge, polishing their active and passive languages, learning new skills, dealing with nerves, learning time and workload management, etc.

What did you find was your greatest concern while training to become a conference interpreter? As a trainer, I sometimes spend a lot of time focussing on skills development, but it's quite possible that the students themselves are more worried about dealing with stress or learning how to manage their time effectively. Or maybe they are all worried about the level of knowledge of their passive languages but are afraid to admit it.

Asking my students directly will not necessarily give me the answer I need, since I've often found that they do not want to reveal their "weaknesses", for whatever reason. So I've decided to ask the question here, and see what sort of response I get.

asked 25 Oct '11, 16:25

Michelle's gravatar image


edited 26 Oct '11, 00:08

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

So many... But here's a very interesting piece about some of the less obvious, but no less important, problems students face...

la majorité des étudiants d’interprétation de conférence trébuchent sur les difficultés insoupçonnées, d’ordre émotionnel et psychique...

permanent link

answered 27 Oct '11, 16:16

Andy's gravatar image


edited 03 Apr '12, 19:15

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

Thank you very much for the link, Andy, I had never read this great text by Chris :-) il s'y trouve tout craché :-).

(23 May '12, 10:17) msr

For me at least the most worrying thing was bridging the gap between training and actually getting work. It did not turn out that way but that was my biggest question mark as a student.

permanent link

answered 26 Oct '11, 15:22

Sirpa's gravatar image


I agree with Sirpa. I will be graduating in a couple of months and my biggest fear is actually getting work. I've already done some work on mic as well as dummy boothing; when it comes to the booth, preparing a conference, drawing up an invoice, etc I feel more or less in control.

This being said, I wish I had more training in negotiating and networking. Obviously, interpreting is a 'small world' and our trainers are able (and perhaps even willing!) to recommend us to people, let us know of opportunities etc - but I feel the 'business dimension' is missing from the training I received.

permanent link

answered 23 May '12, 08:35

Louise's gravatar image



...your mentioning drawing up an invoice made me think of the other end of the stick, as it were, ie drawing up an estimate... an "art form" which, to my surprise, many colleagues are woefully unfamiliar with (let alone students, although they'll probably be recruited for their first jobs as opposed to recruiting others)and one which could indeed benefit from actual classroom work, in anticipation of such day...?

(23 May '12, 10:24) msr

So many... But here's a very interesting piece about some of the less obvious, but no less important, problems students face...

la majorité des étudiants d’interprétation de conférence trébuchent sur les difficultés insoupçonnées, d’ordre émotionnel et psychique...

permanent link

answered 26 Oct '11, 20:54

Andy%20TBM's gravatar image

Andy TBM

I think one of the greatest challenges is the entry to the interpreting market, this is not necessarily related to training but I assume most students have this in mind. Apart from this a challenge, depending on the training program, is to find suitable real life practice situations, say events, semi-official conferences where students can practice their skills before they go out in the wild.

I know that anxiety and worry can be a big hurdles for many students yet skills development generally help overcome these.

Finally, time management is an important challenge because time is always limited and skills development and specialization do really take considerable amount of time therefore trying to fit everything into a conference interpreting training may be daunting.

permanent link

answered 18 May '12, 18:34

dilsayar's gravatar image


Hello Andy, Great link ( to Chris Guichot de Fortis' talk on 26 September 2011. Thanks for posting it. Do you have any further bibliographic information on where and in what context he gave the talk (a particular lecture series at an interp school?) I would like to cite it in an article I am writing, but the citation is incomplete and my own quick google search didn't turn up anything more.

Incidentally Chris gave a similar great talk at MIIS a couple of years back (though not transcribed).

Thanks! Julie Johnson Associate Professor Monterey Institute of International Studies

permanent link

answered 05 Apr '14, 12:58

Julie%20Johnson's gravatar image

Julie Johnson


Hi Julie,

As far as I know, these aren't talks, but a series of various helpful articles he sends out to each new bunch of students he meets.

I've emailed him about your question to be sure.

(05 Apr '14, 14:17) Gaspar ♦♦

Hi Julie, I don't know if these articles by Chris ( ; and the one above) were ever talks or lectures - it wouldn't surprise me if they started life as such. I only came across them when Chris volunteered them for the Interpreter Training Resources ( website. I think they are more like compilations of his acquired knowledge of the subjects concerned rather than one-off talks transcribed. The date, as far as I know is when he last edited the version on the website. So the bibliographical reference would actually be the URL above. If in doubt, contact Chris via the AIIC website. He's a very approachable kind of chap! Andy

(05 Apr '14, 15:40) Andy
Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:


question asked: 25 Oct '11, 16:25

question was seen: 14,695 times

last updated: 05 Apr '14, 15:40

powered by OSQA