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this is an entirely hypothetical question, but being a woman in my early twenties who's thinking about doing another MA degree and then working for a few years to save up for a MA CI (which would place my entry into the market in my late twenties), I can't help wondering how it'll be manageable to combine the beginning of an interpreting career with having children. I imagine it would be a bad idea to do an MA CI and then take a break (let alone two) for pregnancies and the first months (and even with a very supportive spouse, children will require a lot of time and attention far beyond these first months), but is there ever a truly "good" moment? Also, won't it be a huge financial struggle, having to both establish oneself on the professional market and afford the time off and additional expenses? In whatever order I think them through, the only result I come up with is "you'll be very tight".

I'd be very grateful for any replies or personal stories that can shed light on the difficulties / solutions relating to this question. Thank you!

asked 17 Jun, 06:57

ibex's gravatar image


edited 17 Jun, 16:05

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦

Since you are planning such a long way ahead (2 more MAs and a few years working) it would seem worth planning to avoid what can be avoided. Colleagues have had kids soon after graduation but I think most people would agree that professionally it's a bad idea to have kids during your CI course and/or immediately after graduating from a CI course. Ideally you would want to spend a few years after graduation getting established. The learning curve is steep after graduation and you don't want to forget what you've learnt. It's easier to go back to interpreting if you've had a hundred or more days' experience than if you have only course-based interpreting experience. (Getting established might be anything between 3-4 years at international institutions or longer on private markets).

So plan at least 5/6 years where CI is your priority (1 or 2 years for the course the rest for getting a foothold on the market). You could have kids before you study interpreting, but that should probably be 4 or 5 years before (for the youngest kid!)... or afterwards. That's even longer-term planning than you're already involved in!

Freelance interpreting does make it possible to spend a lot of time with your kids when they are little... but on the other hand the work is irregular, which makes child-care complicated. Once they go to school things get easier.

Whether or not you plan to work as a local or travel will also make a big difference too. Nights away from home when you have kids are a pain in all sorts of ways.

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answered 28 Jun, 12:23

Andy's gravatar image


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question asked: 17 Jun, 06:57

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last updated: 28 Jun, 12:23 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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