First-time posters: please review the site's moderation policy

By bringing up this question here, I mean no offence for any CI tutors and graduates from regular CI training schools.

By "self-made", please allow me to define it based on my understanding. They are those who do not attend the regular conference interpreting training courses, but train oneself with guidance from academic studies/research/ and of seniors, facilitated with the vast internet resources.

"Self-made" CI is for sure a minority of conference interpreters community. As is known to everyone, it isn't an easy job for a junior interpreter to enter market, let alone the interpreters happen to be "self-made" ones, either out of choice, or forced to be.

The disadvantages of "self-made" interpreters are abvious, like, no peer recognition, less chances to be introduced to the market by tutors, no sufficient academic background to support(like Master of Interpretion & Translation, ect.). But if one is equipped with the basic capacity to perform the task, there must be one way out.

What's the possible solution? Any kind advice or such examples in real life? Thanks in advance.

asked 28 Jan '13, 19:34

Paris%20Si%20de%20Chine's gravatar image

Paris Si de ...

edited 29 Jan '13, 01:43

Nacho's gravatar image

Nacho ♦

Have there been people with no training who became successful in the field of interpreting? Yes. But I suspect it was more common in the past for a simple reason: opportunities to study have become more widespread with the proliferation of interpreter training programs around the world. This means that on the one hand, more would-be interpreters seek out training programs and fewer try the self-made route, and on the other hand there are more trained interpreters on the market, meaning tougher competition.

I would suggest that rather than thinking of an innate "basic capacity", one has to look at aptitudes. I won't try to list any here, but I would refer you to two older threads on this site (that as an assiduous participant you may have already read): Is there an x-factor when it comes to interpreting skills or aptitude? and What soft skills does an interpreter need to have?.

Next, "self-made" does not necessarily mean the complete absence of training. There are short courses, sometimes a day or two in length (e.g. an intro to consecutive, etc.) and others a week or more. They are not a substitute for a 1 or 2 year course, but they can help. In many countries translation & interpreting associations often host conventions where there will be many short workshops - another opportunity to learn. These short courses will provide an opportunity to get feedback, and one of the major problems with self-training is the lack of feedback.

Not to be forgotten is that interpreting always deals with subject matter. Thus someone trying to work her way into the field would do well to study major areas of knowledge that pervade our world.

permanent link

answered 29 Jan '13, 16:27

Luigi's gravatar image


edited 30 Jan '13, 17:01

Dear Luigi:

Sorry for a late thanks to your strong support, and I know this lateness cannot reduce any of the importance and value of your insight. With your detailed and practical explanation in way of contrast, I come to understand the value behind training, either from regular school or short courses.

Again, your answer/ way of speech appears so similar as those speakers from my point of view, and I’m glad about my discovery, which I shall learn and move closer to a better level. (Already here I try to imitate a bit.)

Yes, your mentioning of subject matter is quite helpful. Thank you. I will pay attention to. Your advice and the MOOC resources provided by Almute come together as a pair of strategy/guiding line and solution for me. Thank you again. Nice day!

Best regards


(31 Jan '13, 02:52) Paris Si de ...

Hello - Luigi is completely right. But this phenomenon also still exists in places where there are a lot of highly educated immigrants who speak the local language well, and who have "fallen into" interpreting. This tends to mainly be the US, where there are fewer interpreting schools per capita, where the local population has very little idea of what interpreting is, and where immigrants are really very well qualified in everything but the interpreting skill itself (for example, they understand the subject matter, how to get along with clients, and can move ideas from one language to another, but cannot figure out the mechanics of consecutive note taking). These self-made interpreters have worked at every level, and in many cases, very well (unless they have to interpret in consecutive mode for more than a sentence at a time).

permanent link

answered 11 Jan '16, 06:15

JuliaP's gravatar image


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: 28 Jan '13, 19:34

question was seen: 8,252 times

last updated: 11 Jan '16, 06:15 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

about | faq | terms of use | privacy policy | content policy | disclaimer | contact us

This collaborative website is sponsored and hosted by AIIC, the International Association of Conference Interpreters.