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I recently decided that I want to become a conference interpreter. I am a 24-year-old American with a background in international relations and I realized that my real passion lies in languages, not policy making/bureaucracy. I am fluent in French, Spanish and Arabic, recently completed a master's in France at Sciences Po in EU Politics, and I am trying to decide whether or not I should put French as a B or C language in my application to ESIT. It is the foreign language I speak the best, and I graduated with honors from one of the most difficult master's programs in France.

However, reading ESIT's site it says you should have a native-level language ability to put a language as your B language. While my French is very good and I rarely make mistakes, I would never be mistaken for a native speaker, and there are definitely many nuances that I still don't grasp.

My question is the following: If I put French as a B language on my application, will I be denied admission if they find that I don't have a B level or will they admit me on the condition that I put it as a C language? Is it perceived as negative not to have a B language in your language combination?

asked 22 Feb '14, 06:10

Aileen2007's gravatar image


edited 22 Feb '14, 11:10

Delete's gravatar image

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Thank you all for the advice! Yes, ESIT accepts Arabic as a C language. I understand that there isn't a market for Arabic C, but my eventual goal is that I will advance enough to use it as a B language. Is this possible to do? After I get my degree in interpreting, will I be able to eventually advance to a B level, assuming that I am competent to do so, or must I go by my combination choice as declared in my degree?

(22 Feb '14, 14:44) Aileen2007

Il est tout à fait possible de transformer une langue C en langue B après le diplôme ; le diplôme atteste votre combinaison linguistique au moment de son obtention, mais rien n'interdit de la faire évoluer par la suite ; les reclassements linguistiques sont d'ailleurs courants dans la profession.

(22 Feb '14, 15:02) leprof

Bonjour, Je vous conseillerais de vous présenter avec FR B, ES et AR C (sous réserve que l'ESIT accepte l'AR en langue C, alors que ce n'est, je crois, pas d'un très grand intérêt sur le marché - à vérifier). Si le jury estime que votre FR n'est pas tout à fait un B, une admission en A-C-C-C serait alors envisageable. En revanche, si l'AR n'est pas possible comme langue C, alors un FR B serait indispensable, puisqu'une combinaison A-C-C n'est pas possible à l'ESIT. Une langue B doit être parfaitement maîtrisée, mais n'est évidemment pas équivalente à une langue maternelle (A) ; une trace d'accent et quelques fautes ponctuelles sont acceptables.

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answered 22 Feb '14, 14:26

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for once I 'm going to disagree with Gaspar... if you graduated in Science Po from a French university in French then there is certainly a very good chance you have a FR B. You should check with ESIT, but most schools will simply downgrade B to C and accept you as a C if your FR isn't up to B standard. (If that new combination still complies with the schools language criteria - eg. ACCC instead of ABCC in your case).

You may also need a FR B career-wise as Arabic C may not be that useful. (The UN, for example, doesn't use Arabic as a C language - the Arabic interpreters always work into their B language.)

"Is it perceived as negative not to have a B language in your language combination?" It's really about whether or not your combination has a market or not. EN A - ES C FR C has a potential market in both the EU and UN, so a B shouldn't be prerequisite. On the other hand, EN A - FR B is a huge market.

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answered 22 Feb '14, 08:06

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edited 22 Feb '14, 08:08


I agree with Andy. If you graduated from Sc Po, rue St Guillaume, your French is probably a pretty good B. And if you study another year or 2 in ESIT, you'll be able to practice with other students and improve your French. It should not be a problem.

(25 Feb '14, 09:00) Danielle

Be honest. Mieux vaut une auto évaluation réaliste et un C solide que toute autre chose.

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answered 22 Feb '14, 07:59

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question asked: 22 Feb '14, 06:10

question was seen: 6,165 times

last updated: 25 Feb '14, 09:00 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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