I'm looking for your opinion and guidance in choosing the best Masters program for my language combinations: English (A), French (B), Mandarin (between a B and a C, not sure). I've done much reading on various forums and still am having trouble coming to a conclusive answer.
Some background information: I'm a Chinese-Canadian currently living in Toronto, Canada. I grew up in the bilingual city of Montreal, Canada, speaking Mandarin at home and only French at school until the age of 18, at which point I switched to an English school. I then worked for 5 years in English in a professional marketing/consulting role. I also spent 1 year working in Beijing to solidify my Mandarin. I have some experience with conference interpreting ENG--> FR, FR --> ENG and also CHINESE --> English, and I'm now looking to further establish my credibility as a freelancer with a Masters program and eventually pursuing certification.
Spending 2 years to study for a degree is a holistic decision, so I'm also taking into consideration others factors such as: cost and standard of living, people, future career prospects and ability to find part-time job to help fund studies.
The schools that I am considering:
1) ESIT. Pro: will help polish my French, cultural hub Con: there will be adaptation required from Canadian French to French French, expensive city?
2) York's program in Canada: online program, more flexibility and right in Toronto. Con: less recognized school (I believe?), cannot improve French nor Chinese contextually.
3) Monterey: Pro: seems like solid program for my language combinations con: far, expensive, may not be allowed to work part-time?
4) Shangwai, Beiwai or Taiwan. Pro: will help with Chinese, close to family. Con: may not be able to work part-time, do not plan to stay in China to work after.
I know I'm throwing a lot in the pot but wanted to provide as much information as possible to help you help me. Thank you so much in advance!
You first have to decide if you want to do FR B or ZH B. (I, and most trainers, will tell you it's not realistic to aim at 2 B's). And perhaps also where you see yourself working (because teachers will be your first introduction to work and the market, so it's not a bad idea to study where you intend to work.)
(Once you've got an interpreting qualification with one combination you can think about adding another B. But first things first!)
If French is to be your B, then I think you're right about Paris. Yes it's an expensive city, but I think ESIT is free (at least to Europeans). There's also a big FR-EN market there. If you want to work in Toronto you might be able to combine. I think (someone correct me if I'm wrong) that York is a 2 year course and you can jump into the 2nd year if you can pass the appropriate exams. If you'd spent a year in Paris you might be able to.
If you want a Chinese B, then you will have to go to China (even with your solid ZH background and experience). But make sure there is a native English speaker interpreter teaching you at whichever school you choose.
answered 16 Nov '13, 03:14
I think you also need to get your priorities right, or in other words, a list of things from important to less so in your considerations.
Each of these can be eliminatory. If , for example, no. 1 is the most important to you, then full time programmes are ruled out. You can do the same thing with your other considerations.
In addition, you need to realize that if you have Chinese, the market is almost always bilingual, meaning your B must be strong enough to handle retour, i.e. you must have very strong Chinese. And your choice of training institutions are most likely limited to full-time programmes. I suggest you focus on one language pair. After you have those, the skills can be easily transferred to other language pairs, so long as you can get a third language up to interpreting level.
Interestingly I have been asking myself the exact same question these last few days (I'm french though), and I think I came to a conclusion for myself, I don't know if it can help you.
I have found this very interesting double master program between BCLU and ISIT, here are the informations :
Basically you can go to ISIT and do a year there and a year in China, or you can go to BCLU to study for two years with the chinese students and get into ISIT for the third year, this is what I think I am going to do. BCLU is not as well known internationally as BeiWai and ShangWai, but according to my research their french departement has a very good reputation. That and you have to be careful because it looks like those other programs, like in ShangWai for example, will only let you study either french-chinese or english-chinese, but not french-english-chinese.
You might be interested in this discussion on another forum, we start talking about the options for french-english-chinese schools around page 3.
Finally I'm waiting on some answers on ShangWai and BeiWai in this thread : http://interpreting.info/questions/2171/best-university-to-study-ci-english-and-chinese
edit : I also made this thread which you might also find interesting.