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Hi, I am looking for an education to become a conference interpreter for the UN. I speak, write and understand English, French and Swedish equally well and I live in Vienna, Austria. Does someone know where I can study to train my three languages?

asked 12 Feb '13, 16:06

Socre's gravatar image


edited 24 Feb '13, 06:17

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

I probably won’t answer your question but let me ask you, why an interpreter for the UN? Usually one studies to become a conference interpreter aiming to work, regardless for whom whether the UN, EU or another organisation. If you fail to enter the UN, what then?

I suppose your mother tongue is German. Unfortunately German is not a UN language and neither is Swedish. Therefore, you are already at a disadvantage if you only focus on the UN.

You can check the AIIC School Directory

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answered 12 Feb '13, 16:44

Marta%20Piera%20Marin's gravatar image

Marta Piera ...

edited 12 Feb '13, 16:49

Hi, I live in Vienna and expect to keep living here which is why the UN is my goal. Obviously, I cannot be sure to succeed but it is what I want. German is not my mother tongue, I speak it and have a university degree in it but I have the particularity of not having a mother tongue (my story would bore you) but I am trilingual without a preference (eng., fre., swe.).

(12 Feb '13, 16:51) Socre

Hi Socre,

what is your mother tongue?

From my own experience with a possible Swedish C, let me tell you: Swedish is offered by very few institutions and the market chances for working with Swedish are...scarce, to say the least.

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answered 13 Feb '13, 02:49

KaPe's gravatar image


Hi Karolin, thank you for your answer. I dont have a "better language". I speak, read, write English, French or Swedish as well. All three have at different and alternating times in my life been my "first language" and I have been swapping countries since childhood. So my mother tongue could be any, except maybe for English in the sense that I dont speak a more British, American or any elsewhere located kind of English. I was just wondering about the training but since I started looking I have found that educations usually offer training from one language INTO your mother tongue, it does not go both ways.

(13 Feb '13, 07:24) Socre

Hi Karolin, I am initially bilingual in French and Swedish.

(20 Feb '13, 06:58) Socre


If I am not very much mistaken, you will need to choose a "main" language. A double A is very rare and I couldn't tell you any school that offers C/B > AA training, nor one that offers Swedish into French classes (though ISIT in Paris might, if someone applies for it). I would say your best option is to study in Sweden with a French B, so that you can interpret in and out of Swedish and French; maybe add English as a C-language as well. With an AB(C) combination, your market chances will increase and you would still be able to work for the EU institutions, for instance (check video below). Maybe these links can help you a bit and

Lycka till och tveka inte att kontakta mig om du har frågor!

(20 Feb '13, 07:13) KaPe

Great answer Karolin. I completely agree and have nothing to add. TÖI is your best bet, and ISIT may be a possibility.

(21 Feb '13, 14:15) tulkur

Hej Karolin,

Thank you so much for your answer. I think it might be a safer bet to train English into French and French into English since the demand for this combo is much bigger. I don't understand what you meant by a school offering "C/B to AA", you mean secondary and tertiary language interpreted into mother tongue? Why did you write two "A":s there? =) It's great that Olle Josephson thinks that the world needs more interpreting, I just hope potential employers agree. I obviously have to think about which A language I am going to choose. Wonder which one the best is. Like I said, I don't master any of my three languages better than the other so I could probably go for English as well.

Lycka till med din utbildning och karriär så länge och tack igen! =)

(25 Feb '13, 16:19) Socre
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question asked: 12 Feb '13, 16:06

question was seen: 6,039 times

last updated: 25 Feb '13, 16:32 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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