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I am a fair interpreter in paris; i am 54 years old; is it to late to become a conference interpreter?


asked 21 Apr '13, 12:56

isabellepetiet's gravatar image


edited 02 May '13, 04:59

Delete's gravatar image

Delete ♦

The short answer is "not necessarily". But you'd be in a minority. Some people no longer have the mental agility to learn a new and demanding skill like conference interpreting once they pass 40 or 45. But this is not a strict rule.

There are also a couple of very practical points to consider - many people think an interpreter needs between 3-6 years experience after graduating to become a "good" interpreter. By that stage you will be very close to retirement age. And on some markets it takes that long to establish oneself and get regular work.

On a more optimistic note, if you can convince an interpreting school to let you take their admissions tests then you'll be judged on your ability and your life experience will put you at a considerable advantage over younger candidates. Your knowledge of your languages and your general knowledge ought to be much better just because of your age/experience as well.

Go for it!

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answered 23 Apr '13, 14:39

Andy's gravatar image


edited 06 May '13, 03:07


Je vous remercie Andy; vos paroles bienveillantes me donnent du courage et sont toutes à votre honneur; merci! ISABELLE

(01 May '13, 23:09) isabellepetiet

... according to learned opinion recently heard, probably :-(

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answered 22 Apr '13, 11:10

msr's gravatar image


Even though at 23 I am probably not the best person to give advice, I'd like to offer my humble opinion: I don't think you are too old to be a conference interpreter. You might however be at a point in your life where establishing a professional network, educating yourself in many an area and resisting to the stress of being a [rookie] interpreter appears to be too difficult or not worth the struggle.

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answered 23 Apr '13, 10:54

KaPe's gravatar image


It depends on what experience and knowledge you already have. I say give it a go, if you can pass the aptitude tests there really is no excuse they can give you that could be considered fair. As far as I know, there is no age requirement, at least officially. Good luck.

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answered 28 Apr '13, 05:55

vidboy's gravatar image



"if you can pass the aptitude tests"

It takes a bit more to become a conference interpreter though. Say 2 or 3 years of studies, one year spent applying for exams and taking them (EU, UN,...) and/or five years or more to make a living on the private market. Not sure if investing that much time and money is worth it, given the fact that on average, about 30% of students will get their diploma, and 80% of the students with a degree in CI will not (be able to...) work as interpreters.

(28 Apr '13, 07:34) Gaspar ♦♦

How come only 30% students will get their degree and out of those only 20% will be able to work as interpreters?

(22 Oct '13, 14:49) Myra45
  • Les écoles francophones sont sélectives en fin de parcours.
  • Ceux qui réussissent leurs études ne sont pas nécessairement dotés d'une combinaison demandée, et vice versa.

Cela dit, la probabilité de réussir le jury final augmenterait avec l'âge du candidat (plus de vécu et éventuellement une meilleure gestion du stress).

(22 Oct '13, 14:58) Gaspar ♦♦
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question asked: 21 Apr '13, 12:56

question was seen: 8,592 times

last updated: 23 Oct '13, 07:29 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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