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I've been debating this for the past two months: should I do an MA or just the PGDip in conference interpreting? My problem is that the MA has three/four compulsory translation modules which I have already done at BA level years ago. And at the moment I am only interested in studying interpreting. What's more, the difference in fees is substantial: £5,000 vs. £8,000.

Would you pay an extra 3k for modules you didn't want to study?

Have you ever felt discriminated against because you have a diploma and not an MA?

I've checked with EU representatives twice and on both times they confirmed that the EU makes no distinction between the two and considers both to be equal. But what about the private market?

Thank you in advance for taking the time to reply.

asked 14 Sep '13, 10:42

Diana's gravatar image


edited 27 Apr '15, 01:54

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73481533 all candour, the private market couldn't care less :-) what diplomas you've got, it does care a great deal about what kind of work you can be trusted to deliver, day in day out; diplomas do of course count when it comes to trusting an unknown quantity, which however you'll start ceasing to be as soon as you'll start working in this global village of ours.

If you ask me, the dividing line these days is between those newcomers who do have reputable training and those who don't, the academic level thereof not being paramount... unless of course one's talking teaching or research, which is unlikely to be your case just yet :-).

This being said, MAs are MAs and never disfigure a cv :-)... but they do come at a cost - and should! - both material and timewise: you're the only one capable of making a decision about whether one'll be worthwhile, all things considered, here and now.

Speaking as one who went through no initial CI formal training whatsoever - yep, we're a dying breed but we're still around :-) - but has been keeping an ear to the ground for some time now, my guess is that the extra work involved in MAs aims more at "savoir" than "savoir faire", which may not be your first priority right now, although "savoir" can never be too much :-)...

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answered 14 Sep '13, 13:14

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Les institutions européennes ne font en effet pas de distinction, du moment que le niveau requis est au rendez-vous (environ 25 à 30% des candidats réussissent le test d'accréditation inter-institutionnel, mais déjà faut-il être convoqué et avoir des langues intéressantes). Mais être accrédité ne suffit pas pour payer son loyer, il faut aussi avoir du boulot régulier. Ce qui ne sera pas forcément le cas dès le début (ces six derniers mois, l'UE m'aura rapporté en moyenne environ 400 euros par mois).

Sur le marché privé, c'est l'insertion professionnelle qui va jouer. Et dépendra moins du diplôme qu'elle ne dépendra de l'école, des enseignants qui y exercent, de la réputation de l'école, etc.

Cela dit, connaissant les probabilités de véritablement finir interprète, ou du moins pouvoir vivre uniquement de l'interprétation durant les 5 premières années après l'obtention du diplôme/certificat, peut-être vaut-il mieux avoir une formation complète qui permet aussi d'exercer comme traducteur et un diplôme de master, reconnu plus largement sur le marché du travail général. Qui peut le plus peut le moins.

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answered 14 Sep '13, 11:22

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Gaspar ♦♦

edited 14 Sep '13, 11:24

Thank you Gaspar,

As I mentioned before, the MA has three/four compulsory translation modules which I have already done at BA level years ago. I've been practising translation and public service interpreting since 2009.

That is why I don't see the value in repeating those modules.

(17 Sep '13, 08:13) Diana

Deux considérations :

  1. Le fait que l'on puisse présenter les tests à niveau bachelor (bac +3 donc) accompagné d'un certificat de formation en interprétation de conférence me semble nouveau (mars 2013 ?). Je crois qu'il y a moins de deux ans encore, il fallait au moins un niveau de maitrise (bac +4) accompagné du même certificat. Si j'ai juste là dessus et que les conditions ont bien changé, j'imagine que cette baisse est due à une tendance qui consiste à s'ouvrir en ce moment à tous les candidats prometteurs. Le changement est-il durable ? Est-ce que les critères pourront-être revus à la hausse prochainement ? Impossible à dire.

  2. Si tu as un master en poche, tu peux passer les concours d'administrateur (AD) de l'Union européenne, autres que ceux qui visent à recruter des interprètes de conférence. Par diverses passerelles, tu peux ensuite intégrer le SCIC. Ca a été le cas d'une personne qui a récemment réussi un concours de la DG TRAD mais qui a été absorbé par la DG SCIC.

En deux mots, le master te donne plus de sécurité, de par la reconnaissance dont il jouit dans le monde du travail en général. Si dans cinq ou dix ans tu veux postuler dans un domaine différent que la traduction et l'interprétation, tu verras rapidement que tout le monde demande un diplôme de master, et que la majorité des candidats en ont un.

(21 Sep '13, 04:02) Gaspar ♦♦

Hi Gaspar,

Not sure I understood what you are trying to say, my French is too basic. My BA was 4 years long and all MA degrees in the UK last for 1 year only. Can you please reply in English? :)

(22 Sep '13, 11:18) Diana

In a nutshell, regarding the second point, I tend to think that having an MA is likely to be better than a BA + a PGDip, should you decide to make a career change and try to get your diploma recognized outside the UK. Few people on the continent do know what a PGDip is, whereas you don't need to explain what a masters degree is. Plus, it gives you access to (almost all) AD competitions for the EU. I'm not sure if a PGDip would be enough for that. Once you're an AD in one General Direction, you can ask for a transfer to DG SCIC, provided they are interested in your profile.

(22 Sep '13, 11:43) Gaspar ♦♦

Thank you, Gaspar.

Here are the requirements to sit the accreditation test:

  • Hold a recognised university degree in conference interpreting or
  • Hold a recognised university degree in any subject and a postgraduate qualification in conference interpreting or
  • Hold a recognised university degree in any subject and have documented experience in consecutive and simultaneous conference interpreting (

and here are the requirements for working as staff:

There is no mention of MAs...

(22 Sep '13, 12:20) Diana

The second link concerns DG TRAD competitions, which indeed are open to anyone who has a bachelors degree. Not only is the competition very selective (this summer, there were 1700 applicants for about 40 positions for the EPSO/AD/262/13 – FR competition), but once on the reserve list, it's your personal profile that will make the difference. Thus having a masters degree can't hurt.

The DG SCIC 2013 competition required a 4 years of study degree plus a degree in conference interpreting.

General AD5 competitions usually require a masters degree. Being able to apply to those might turn out to be interesting as an alternative way of getting into the EU institutions before heading for SCIC.

(22 Sep '13, 13:13) Gaspar ♦♦

''The DG SCIC 2013 competition required a 4 years of study degree plus a degree in conference interpreting.''

Yes, it's always the same, as I showed in the link above, but it's not necessarily an MA :)

Can you please explain what AD5 is? Thank you.

(23 Sep '13, 14:15) Diana
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question asked: 14 Sep '13, 10:42

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