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I'm a young translator and a student interpreter in Toronto, Canada. I have always dreamed of studying/working in Europe (Geneva in particular). Any advices on the steps to take to get there after graduation (if you are based in North America)?

Thanks in advance!

asked 08 Mar '18, 03:05

lylys28's gravatar image


Quelles langues ? Quels diplômes (niveau et intitulé) ?

(08 Mar '18, 04:46) Gaspar ♦♦

Français, Anglais, Espagnol (still working on Arabic). Bachelor in Translation, Master in Conference interpreting.

(08 Mar '18, 10:09) lylys28

A, B et C respectivement ? Ou A C C ?

(08 Mar '18, 11:18) Gaspar ♦♦

French and English A, Spanish C, (eventually Arabic will be a C as well)

(08 Mar '18, 14:30) lylys28

A word of warning... you say you are FR A and EN A but it looks like you are using the word "eventually" in a typically French way in English, meaning "possibly". In English "eventually Arabic..." means that you will definitely learn Arabic but that it will take a long time. Maybe that is what you meant. Also "advices" is also not countable (can't be plural) in British English. These differences may be between UK and Canadian English, in which case you need to find out what all the differences are and remove the bigger ones before you come to Europe. Alternatively it might be better to present yourself in Europe as FR A and EN B and be judged as having a very good B rather than present yourself as a double A and have people question the validity of your A.

(09 Mar '18, 03:16) Andy


Andrew Gillies est animé des meilleures intentions, son investissement personnel dans l'enseignement (notamment dans ton université) et la rédaction d'ouvrages devenus une référence dans la profession en sont la preuve. Si tu en doutais, certainement que @Andrew Clifford confirmera mon propos.

Si ses remarques, formulées au conditionnel et avec prudence (it looks like... differences may be between UK and Canadian English...), sans doute que tu peux les écarter avec la cordialité et l'élégance qui sont d'usage dans la profession. Tout comme tu peux certainement prendre de la hauteur et reconnaître la pertinence du propos plus général, quand bien même on aurait fait fausse route sur les deux exemples cités : tes clients et consommateurs voudront un français européen standard, puisque c'est celui-là qui sera compris par le plus grand nombre, y compris par les auditeurs non-natifs qui n'ont pas le loisir d'avoir une interprétation vers leur langue maternelle. Le propos vaut également, même si peut-être dans une moindre mesure, pour l'anglais.

Pour en revenir à ta question initiale, s'il y a une chose à éviter quand on veut se lancer en tant que jeune collègue, sur un marché où on n'est pas connu, c'est de donner l'impression qu'on part au quart de tour, qu'on se braque dès qu'on lit un conseil qui aurait l'audace de suggérer que l'on puisse avoir des faiblesses, et qu'on se montre incapable de faire preuve de tact et de collégialité. One chance to make a first impression, comme vous diriez.

(09 Mar '18, 09:35) Gaspar ♦♦

Merci Gaspar pour vos conseils. Comme je le disais plus bas, c'est ma 1ère publication sur ce site. Le commentaire a été publié par "Andy". Je ne vois pas comment j'étais supposée savoir qu'il s'agissait de Andrew Gillies. J'ai répondu respectueusement et exprimé ma gratitude à tous ceux qui ont répondu à ma question ou qui m'ont donné des conseils pertinents. De la même façon que vous avez mentionné qu'il ne faut pas se braquer afin de faire "bonne impression", de cette même façon, je ne voudrais pas que mes aptitudes linguistiques soient remises en question sur la base d'un simple commentaire (Car comme vous le savez, on ne sait jamais qui lira les commentaires et je suis traductrice certifiée donc les compétences à l'écrit, je prends ça sérieusement! :) Je ne pensais pas qu'une simple publication pour demander des conseils se transformerait en une "évaluation". J'ai sûrement beaucoup à apprendre encore dans ce domaine. Merci encore de vos conseils et excellente journée à vous!

(09 Mar '18, 11:02) lylys28

Clearly a comment has been deleted here so I may be missing something (but I can read between the lines) so I would just say the following...

I neither hide nor advertise my full name on this forum where I prefer to be judged on validity of any given comment and at most on the other contributions I make here rather than on any perceived authority I get from elsewhere.

Lylys28 asked for advice about making it in Europe. My comments about what a British English speaker would consider mistakes were made with that in mind. Because that sort of mistake from an EN A (who also had a FR A or B) would ruin any chance at getting recruited with some chief interpreters. It was therefore a reaction to the original question.

(09 Mar '18, 14:30) Andy

Hello, Thanks for your concern and your help. I deleted my comment not because I was told who you were but rather because in my comment, I said that you had not responded to my initial question (then I realised that you actually did provide answers to my question using the profile with the picture). In fact, I replied to you under that answer and thanked you for your help. I discovered this website yesterday, so clearly I'm not an expert... I also mentioned that the "Eventually" meant Eventually, as the message was in English and not in French; as for advices/advice it was just a typo, in a comment, on social media. It should not be taken as a proof of my proficiency or lack of it. I highly appreciate and respect your educational work and on this note, I wish you a great day/night!

(09 Mar '18, 15:39) lylys28

Hello lylys28, as a freelance interpreter in a market that mainly depends on the kindness of colleagues, you will have to learn to write, read, delete, and repeat several times BEFORE posting. Marketing happens in every contact we make, especially on social media. There are loads of examples of interpreters shooting themselves down before they ever start a career by treating people badly (or in this case snippily) where everyone can see it - it doesn't matter how important the person is. An apology rather than an explanation is all that is required.

(10 Mar '18, 14:46) JuliaP
showing 5 of 10 show 5 more comments

If you have FR A EN B then the most promising (biggest) market is Paris. If you have FR A EN C and ES C then you have an EU-type combination but you are short of one language to get much work (and that language would be German or something rare and relatively big eg. Polish) I'm not sure Arabic is worth the (considerable) effort for conference interpreting as you would need a B on the private market and the UN doesn't use Arabic C's afaik. (there are lots of threads here about that).

There's not really any easy way in. You just have to come here and start looking for work and making yourself known to people. That means going to interpreting-related events and training courses, contacting interpreters and agencies (secretariats in Paris). It can be a slow process. Once you get into the booth you have to do a good job one day and hope the person with you mentions it to others. Most novice interpreters have the advantage that they start work where they studied and their teachers know them, which gets them a few initial contracts.

permanent link

answered 08 Mar '18, 13:54

Andy's gravatar image


Thank you so much for your answer, it does help. Do you know if Arabic C would be a better market in the US for example?

(08 Mar '18, 14:33) lylys28

Hi, I'm not an expert but afaik there is no market for Arabic C anywhere... you have to have a B.

(09 Mar '18, 03:06) Andy

I agree with Andy. The UN doesn't allow the En or Fr booths to work directly from AR or Zh, those languages must be interpreted from their respective bilingual booths. I haven't heard of Arabic as a C language being used anywhere. If you want something many-layered and difficult, and also useful in a UN or NATO context, a Ru C would come in handy.

(09 Mar '18, 10:38) JuliaP

I see. Thank you so much, very helpful. It is very much appreciated.

(09 Mar '18, 10:48) lylys28

Tentant compte des remarques d'Andy :

Si tu es EN A, avec FR-ES, rien qu'en C, l'ONUG est susceptible de te tester et de te donner du travail en freelance. Mais à ce compte, tu gagnerais à passer le test de l'UNHQ, plus proche, et dont la réussite vaut aussi accréditation pour les autres sièges de l'organisation.

Si tu es FR A, avec EN B & ES C, peu ou prou la même chose, sinon que la charge de travail risque d'être moindre. Mais il semble y avoir du travail en suffisance pour les gens très bons, d'autant plus que de plus en plus, la qualité et non l'ancienneté, devrait servir de critère principal au recrutement, à Genève.

Enfin, pas à Genève, mais à supposer que tu sois vraiment double A et également à supposer que ta technique soit des plus solides, l'OTAN à Bruxelles cherche en permanence (sans trouver) et organise tous les ans des concours pour interprètes. Statut de fonctionnaire international, le salaire de débutant doit être de l'ordre de 6.000€ nets d'impôt national. L'organisation prend en charge les frais de déménagement et d'installation, parmi d'autres avantages et privilèges découlant du statut.

Le dernier concours, pas pour le siège à Bruxelles, mais Luxembourg :

2018 Basic monthly salary: EUR 6,783.81, tax free

Concours Bruxelles d'il y a un an, profils recherchés :

Aperçu du boulot (la seconde doit être l'exception à la règle, du moins pour les collègues du siège) :

permanent link

answered 09 Mar '18, 06:17

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦

edited 09 Mar '18, 06:39

C'est SUPER. Merci infiniment pour toutes ces infos. C'est ma 1ère fois de publier sur ce site et je suis vraiment reconnaissante d'avoir eu toutes les informations que je cherchais. C'est très encourageant!

Merci encore!

(09 Mar '18, 09:27) lylys28
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question asked: 08 Mar '18, 03:05

question was seen: 2,052 times

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