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I've been accepted into a postgrad interpreting course, due to start in September.

As the course is only 9 months, what preparation should I do to make sure I'm up to speed before it starts? Is it a matter of reading as much news as possible in my working languages, specialist knowledge, interpreting exercises....

Any advice too on training time? At the moment I can devote about 3 hours per day realistically, some days more some days less.

asked 28 Apr '13, 05:36

vidboy's gravatar image


edited 30 Apr '13, 11:01

Delete's gravatar image

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I wouldn't recommend interpreting exercises without a teacher. Wait for the course and adapt to the methods of your trainers.

I would recommend improving in particular your mother tongue. As an interpreter, you need to be able to express yourself well in many different registers and have access to a broad active vocabulary covering different fields. Your trainers will first evaluate your A language.

  • Reading (not only newspapers and current affairs magazines)
  • Listening (radio)
  • Watching TV
  • Voice training (you won't have enough time for it during a 9 month course)
  • Sight translation (try to record yourself and compare your result with a good translation)
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answered 28 Apr '13, 08:05

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I would agree with everything Angela says except on Sight Translation. It's really as difficult as interpreting and there are techniques for doing it well that you will learn during the course. Don't do any before then.

(07 May '13, 03:26) Andy

I fully agree with Angela that you should not do any interpreting exercises without a teacher. Maybe the training institute, university or college that accepted you for the course has a list of recommended reading for future postgraduate students or a tutor, teacher or professor who might be able to explain the syllabus or training course to you and make suggestions on what you could do until September on the basis of what they will ask of you.

Further suggestions on what could be done to improve one's A language may be found under

What will be very helpful in any case is to train and if necessary improve your memory. This way you will be able to remember the contents of your lessons, lectures and books much better and it will make life easier for you when you need to study and memorize specialist vocabulary.

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answered 28 Apr '13, 09:05

AlmuteL's gravatar image


edited 28 Apr '13, 09:09

I suggest you to find a catchy way of exercising and improving your language skills as much as you can (including your mother tongue). Be consistent. Dedicate some time each day to your language learning even in your daily routine ( i.e. listening to some Podcast while commuting, reading a newspaper while having breakfast, etc.) Write down any unknown word (along with the context) while reading and build your own glossary. Always check the pronunciation of words using a native speaker or online talking dictionaries:

Here you can find some additional info on language enhancement:

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answered 30 Apr '13, 08:58

Federica's gravatar image


Federica is right... a little everyday is more effective than a lot once in a while. Make things part of your daily routine.

(06 May '13, 10:29) Andy

As a student, I'd recommend you get cracking on general knowledge.

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answered 28 Apr '13, 11:01

TheInterpretator's gravatar image


You also might want to read the blogs, forums, websites, studies, reports, etc. devoted to conference interpreting. Knowing how things work in real-life, what rules are sacred and why, how things might evolve, etc. will help you a lot to grasp why some teachers will insist on certain points. Or even to keep your motivation up, make sure your expectations do match current realities... and avoid sometimes bitter surprises ("what, there is no demand for my languages?") In one word, you'll be prepared.

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answered 28 Apr '13, 10:11

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question asked: 28 Apr '13, 05:36

question was seen: 4,690 times

last updated: 07 May '13, 03:26

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