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Hello everyone!

Currently I am in the process of finishing my Master's degree in Conference Interpreting (ITAT Graz, Austria) with German as an A language, English as a B, and Russian as a C. This semester will likely be my last one before taking the final exam, and I am spending it in Russia in order to make my Russian a very solid C (which is going well) and in order to practice interpreting from Russian into English (challenging, but fun!).

Because my language combination is, to my knowledge, not sought after by any major institutions, and because, frankly, I don't want to interpret in the political sphere only, I have come to terms with the fact that I need to establish myself on the private market, which I want to do as soon as I come back to Austria. Unlike a lot of other interpreters, I quite enjoy interpreting into my B language, so I am pretty comfortable with retour demands. This seems to be the biggest pet peeve most have about the private market.

As far as Russian goes, there is quite a lot of demand for it in Austria, but I am not sure whether interpreters with a Russian B would not be preferred in many cases due to retour requirements. A number of my fellow students have such a combination, and most of them are either native RU speakers or bilinguals. On the other hand, Russian C into English B could come in handy, although it's demanding.

With all of this in mind, do you think it makes sense to actively try to add another C language? I am specifically interested in European Portuguese (aiming for passive Brazilian knowledge as well), which I have recently begun to learn. Other languages that I am interested in would be:

  • French (some basic knowledge),
  • another Slavic language (possibly Croatian, again some basic knowledge)
  • Romanian (from scratch)
  • or Mandarin (from scratch)

Obviously, this would be a long-term project.

Does anyone have any information about market demand for the languages I listed? I would like to stay in Austria or Southern Germany for personal reasons, but I am not opposed to occasional trips abroad.

Or would my time be better spent on making Russian into a second B, even if just for business and escort interpreting or just for consecutive? On this forum, the received opinion seems to be that having two B languages is not a realistic goal. I am not sure why, though. To me it looks like more of a function of practice than anything. Maybe I am biased because in our training program, we often have to interpret into our C languages as well or just choose to do so for practice. Maybe someone here can expand on why a second B would be unrealistic.

Thanks in advance for your answers. I know I've asked a lot of questions here ;) Answers are welcome in German, English, or Russian.

asked 08 Mar '18, 14:28

celsius's gravatar image


Given your combination I don't think adding another C language makes sense. PT C into DE is going to be a very rare request in Austria or Germany.

The reason that two B's is considered unrealistic here is because of the standard required in conference interpreting and the level of difficulty at which that standard is required. AIIC suggests "equivalent to an educated native speaker" although standards tend to be more flexible for English and much tighter for say French or Russian. Most student interpreters underestimate just how good that is.

You may also be better served in professional terms by making a very good reputation for yourself with one good B than a mediocre or poor reputation with two Bs.

Fair or not, if you introduce yourself to interpreters in Europe with an ABB combination you raise eyebrows. There are a few interpreters who do a good ABB but they are exceptions and exceptional, not the rule.

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answered 09 Mar '18, 03:25

Andy's gravatar image



Thanks for the answer. I had hoped that perhaps Portuguese would be somewhat of a growing market in the future, due to Brazil becoming more important in the world economy and whatnot, but I guess I just have the wrong A language for it to be really useful. Probably shouldn't complain; German A is a pretty sweet thing to have all in all. At the moment everyone and their dog is trying to get me to adopt another C, so thanks for the second opinion :)

Making Russian into a B would also be a long-term project for me. I know my Russian at the moment is not B material. Both my friends and my instructors are making sure I don't forget that ;)

Good point about the professional impression. I will definitely start out with an ABC combination, and only convert Russian into a B later, if ever.

(09 Mar '18, 08:09) celsius

Bin zu 100% mit Andy einverstanden.

Langfristig könnte man FR C in betracht ziehen. Wäre zwar nicht tagtäglich nützlich, aber jedenfalls schon eher als PT. Das Patentamt in München stellt m.W. Kollegen mit DE A, EN B/C & FR C ein. Kleine Struktur. Wenig Arbeit. Schwierigkeitsgrad hoch.

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answered 09 Mar '18, 04:49

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦

Hallo Gaspar,

OK, damit haben wir schon 2 :) Dann wird's mit PT wohl nichts (zumindest nicht auf professionellem Niveau).

Danke für den Tipp mit dem Patentamt, wobei das für mich natürlich noch sehr weit weg ist. Mein FR ist irgendwo bei B1 (passiv) oder A2 (aktiv), also 4-5 Jahre wird es wohl mindestens dauern, bis es auf einem akzeptablen Niveau ist. Geht es um das EPO oder das DPMA? Habe im Internet leider kein Stellenangebot gefunden (was ja aber nichts heißen muss). Oder läuft das Ganze auf Freelance-Basis?

Werde sowieso bald über eine Freundin mit FR B einen recht guten Einblick in den FR-Markt bekommen, bis dahin kann ich's mir ja noch überlegen.

(09 Mar '18, 08:28) celsius

Minor correction/clarification re. “einstellen”...The EPO only uses freelance interpreters, but yes, is on the look out for people.

(09 Mar '18, 08:57) Andy

OK, danke für den AIIC-Link (Google-Link ist leider bei mir nicht lesbar). Da ja 10 Jahre Erfahrung gefordert werden, wäre genug Zeit vorhanden, um bis dahin mein FR aufzubauen. Werde ich also auf jeden Fall im Hinterkopf behalten. Vielen Dank nochmal! Habe auch dieses Dokument hier gefunden:$File/Service_Regulations_de.pdf; die Bedingungen klingen ganz gut.

(09 Mar '18, 09:56) celsius
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question asked: 08 Mar '18, 14:28

question was seen: 2,165 times

last updated: 09 Mar '18, 09:56 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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