First-time posters: please review the site's moderation policy

Dear interpreters,

I am currently enrolled in a master's of conference interpreting program and will soon graduate. Before pursuing interpreting, I trained as a soprano and completed a bachelor's degree in vocal performance. Due to the intensity of the master's program, I've had to put singing on hold for the most part. Now that the end of the program is approaching, I look forward to being able to practice on a regular basis again.

When I started the master's program, a few of my instructors mentioned my background (music) being quite common. What I'm wondering is if there are any conference interpreters out there who have managed to combine a career in both areas (not as in singing at the Met, obviously, but maintaining somewhat of an active performance schedule while also making a living as an interpreter)?

Is it possible to devote some of your time to a different pursuit or do you need to be focused on interpreting 100% of your time if you choose this path? I've heard time and again that the first few years in particular are rather difficult and assignments are rare. Would practicing something other than interpreting for an hour a day detract from interpreting and cause your interpreting skills to deteriorate?

(Just for clarification: I'm not saying I absolutely want to combine both careers. I'm asking out of curiosity and to gain a better understanding of life as an interpreter might be like.)

Another related question would be: Is there any work for interpreters at opera festivals?

Feel free to answer in English, German, Spanish or Italian. Thanks in advance!

asked 11 Feb, 07:25

Angela%20C's gravatar image

Angela C
113


Would practicing something other than interpreting for an hour a day detract from interpreting and cause your interpreting skills to deteriorate?

As Robert Owen famously said, “Eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

Having a good work-life balance is just as crucial as working on your interpreting career will be. If one hour practice is something that makes you happy, go for it!

Everything and anything can be useful for your interpreting career. An activity that teaches you voice management even more so.

Is it possible to devote some of your time to a different pursuit or do you need to be focused on interpreting 100% of your time if you choose this path?

At the beginning, not being available when someone offers you a gig will be detrimental. You should find a source of income that will allow you the required flexibility to accept all offers that you receive, provided working conditions and pay are on par with what is customary on your market.

Launching two careers at the same time might be difficult to juggle. But once you're established, have regular clients and can predict when seasonal peaks are to be expected, you could very well not be a full-time interpreter and devote your energy to other sources of income. Or merely pleasure.

While I can't think of anyone who's into singing at that level, colleagues who are part-time employees in other fields or who own their own business doing something totally unrelated aren't a rare breed. Not to mention those who will indulge in a passion not for the money, but for pleasure. Rallying, flying planes, equestrianism,... being only a few that come to mind.

permanent link

answered 12 Feb, 07:30

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦
7.1k141829

This very esteemed former colleague waited till he retired from interpreting to hit us with his music ;) https://lourdesderioja.com/tag/marco-benedetti/ alt text (ps I've tried to upload the wonderful screenshot but the site won't have it.)

permanent link

answered 12 Feb, 10:36

Andy's gravatar image

Andy
7.1k212839

edited 12 Feb, 10:38

I come from a family of musicians, though I'm not musically-inclined myself, and yes, a lot of interpreters are (and I'm convinced that I inherited... something, if not "soul").

One thing I have known my entire life is this: Musicians tend to work at night. They work odd hours, and more often than not have "day jobs" they work around. But you probably already knew this part.

So you'll be fine. I don't see any problem having two talents. In fact, it's probably good for your nerves.

permanent link

answered 13 Feb, 20:12

InesdC's gravatar image

InesdC
420117

Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here

By RSS:

Answers

Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text](http://url.com/ "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:

×37
×2
×1

question asked: 11 Feb, 07:25

question was seen: 477 times

last updated: 13 Feb, 20:12

interpreting.info is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

about | faq | terms of use | privacy policy | content policy | disclaimer | contact us

This collaborative website is sponsored and hosted by AIIC, the International Association of Conference Interpreters.