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Hi, I want to apologise in advance for these silly and basic questions. I am getting seriously flustered because I cannot find clear answers (or maybe I am too stressed to realise that the answers are right in front of me).

I am graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Law & French this year. My initial plans for next year have been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. I have realised recently that I would really like to do a master's degree in Conference Interpretation because of my absolute love of French and translation.

I live in Ireland and I know there is a master's here in Galway but I would like the opportunity of going abroad.

I find it difficult, however, to find a clear answer to some questions:

  1. As English is my A language, would I need to study a master's course taught through English?

  2. I am having difficulty finding such courses abroad. It is my dream to study in Belgium and this website (aiic) indicates through a search that UMons teaches an interpretation master's through English. When I look at the UMons website, however, there is no indication of an interpretation master's in English there.

  3. Any suggestions on an appropriate school would help hugely. Is there anywhere else (other than Galway) where I can study?

English is my native language. I am proficient in French. I know the basics of German and Spanish. I have an aptitude for languages and I know this is an area where I would like to work for the rest of my life. I realise I probably sound naive. I only recently discovered the work of an interpreter (which sounds silly I know). I am just finding it a difficult area to research.

Thank you!

asked 07 Apr, 17:20

Aoife%20KEM's gravatar image

Aoife KEM
2316

edited 08 Apr, 04:58


As English is my A language, would I need to study a master's course taught through English?

English should be the target language, yes. The Mons course is not adequate for English natives. English is only used there as a source language (and a bit of retour).

Any suggestions on an appropriate school would help hugely. Is there anywhere else (other than Galway) where I can study?

FTI Geneva, ESIT or ISIT Paris come to mind.

I only recently discovered the work of an interpreter (which sounds silly I know). I am just finding it a difficult area to research.

There is a lot of information out there by now, albeit it can be a bit overwhelming to crawl through all of it. A hot beverage and a couple of hours to read through starting out from here should help: https://aiic.net/careers One page leads to another, so expect to go down the rabbit hole. Digest, let it sink in, make a list of questions. Most of them will have been answered on interpreting.info already (or might serve to confirm that the information on aiic's website is still up to date), so take another couple of hours to explore the huge topics already covered here. Anything else remaining, feel free to ask! :)

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answered 08 Apr, 08:16

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦
7.6k141829

Hello,

Thank you very much for your help. I think it was obvious I was feeling overwhelmed!

It was my hope that I could do the interpretation masters abroad in Europe but now I am not sure. I would not be able to live in a very expensive place such as Geneva. Also, it would be ideal if I could do the masters within one year!

The more I research, the more I realise that Galway would probably have the perfect version of the masters for me!

I tried to see if I had any other options in Europe but it does not seem so. Also, the masters in England are more expensive than the one in Galway! I guess it would not make sense for me to move abroad if it is only going to be much more expensive!

Had you heard of any other courses or is that it really?

I really appreciate your help and I am delighted to find a path in life which will suit me so much :)

Thank you!

(13 Apr, 16:54) Aoife KEM

This is my final question, I promise! Would NUI Galway be considered as a good school to go to study the master's in CI? I see that the course is accredited by EU institutions (e.g. European Commission)

I realise, however, it is probably not as 'prestigious' as FTI Geneva or the schools in Paris.

(13 Apr, 17:21) Aoife KEM

I see that the course is accredited by EU institutions (e.g. European Commission)

Virtually every non-commercial conference interpreting course in Europe gets on that list. If your goal is to work for the EU, you should find out what percentage of NUI graduates take and pass the EU test, and how that compares to the average EU accreditation pass rate.

You should also find out who teaches there. As far as I know, at least part of the faculty is made of people who just graduated, which raises questions as to what level of quality in teaching can be attained when the trainer has no or little actual professional experience nor teaching experience.

One last thing: overall, I'd say that from the average European course, less than 10% of graduates manage to become conference interpreters, after a few years of efforts once they've obtained their diploma. So, if you do opt for these studies, think of a plan B ahead of time, in case things don't work out the way you want.

(14 Apr, 09:17) Gaspar ♦♦

Hi Aoife, the Galway course faculty includes an ACI colleague working regularly for the institutions in Brussels and there are a few other colleagues who graduated from there. I would get in touch with the course coordinator and ask any questions you have.

While the Paris schools and FTI undoubtedly do an excellent job of training CIs, the whole prestige idea is irrelevant when it comes to accreditation tests for the institutional market (EU, UN et al.) You need a Master's degree (or in-booth work experience) to qualify. It doesn't matter which school you go to as long as you graduate.

The private market (with clients like interpreting agencies acting as middlemen, trade unions, and corporations) is a different matter. A Paris/Geneva diploma will probably make it easier to get your foot in the door-- it helps that Paris and Geneva are two of the main interpreting markets in Europe in addition to Brussels, meaning contacts on the ground, as your trainers will also be your future colleagues -- but once it is in, you'll still need to "prove yourself", as you would no matter which school you went to. Word of mouth is a big deal in the (comparatively small) interpreting world. The advantage of a 2-year course is the whole extra year spent training with professionals. Even so, you will still need to spend a lot of time practising on your own.

As English As we are privileged in this field -- coming from cultures that do not prioritize language learning, what with the reign of Globishes, there are fewer of us and therefore more opportunities to get started, and get started quickly, once we are on the market. Your background in law will also be an asset here.

Some things to consider: remote interpretation is rearing its head in a big way in the profession. That may have a big impact on our day-to-day work. It might even wipe out some of the things that make the job so fun -- travel, for one.

Interpreters are mostly self-employed and that makes us more vulnerable in case of emergency situations... like, say, a global pandemic.

Meetings are increasingly held in "English", and there is little job satisfaction in sitting through meetings like that, day in and day out.

On the plus side, it can be an incredibly rewarding job with a great deal of day-to-day variety, meeting people from all walks of life and working with a lot of different colleagues.

The profession is undergoing a lot of change and at the moment it is hard to tell what it will look like in a few years' time.

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answered 14 Apr, 05:59

Louise's gravatar image

Louise
5748814

Hello Louise,

Thank you for such a comprehensive and informative answer. You have given me much to consider and you must know that all advice is going to be more than helpful to myself.

I will assume that I will be eventually taking up the master's in Galway due to the greatly added expenses of going elsewhere. You are right in how the two years would be an obvious plus in relation to learning experience etc. It was foolish of me to not even think of that!

You have provided very valuable insight here. I recognise that the profession is changing. I am really set on this though. I have never felt so sure about a career path! I really appreciate your comment and I wish you well during this time of global pandemic.

(14 Apr, 06:19) Aoife KEM

hi

You say, "English is my native language. I am proficient in French. I know the basics of German and Spanish"

Assuming that means that your German or Spanish aren't strong enough to learn to interpret from, you will have to aim to interpret into French to get an MA and to make a living afterwards. In which case 1) you don't have a language combination that would get you work at the EU and 2) you should study in a French-speaking country to improve your French (because no one's *B language is ever too good!) Alternatively if you really want to aim at the EU with FR DE and ES then you should probably spend at least 1 year in Germany and 1 year in Spain BEFORE studying conference interpreting.

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answered 16 Apr, 07:40

Andy's gravatar image

Andy
7.5k222839

edited 17 Apr, 14:43

The professional status of conference interpreters in the Republic of Ireland: An exploratory study Antony Hoyte-WestORCID

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14781700.2020.1745089

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answered 18 Apr, 10:36

msr's gravatar image

msr
4.7k6923

edited 18 Apr, 10:38

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦
7.6k141829

Hi Aoife,

I will chime in as the coordinator of the programme as maybe I can answer a few questions for you and correct an error in an earlier response also.

As Andy says, "Assuming [...] your German or Spanish aren't strong enough to learn to interpret from, you will have to aim to interpret into French to get an MA and to make a living afterwards" and you would also need to have a retour in French to train with us, if your ES and DE were not of a passive language standard (C level). I would advise spending considerable time in a french speaking country before attempting to train with a retour, to make sure you are confident and competent, thus allowing you to focus on skill-set issues rather than language dilemmas.

Though we have a number of graduates on the market who sometimes return to us for exams and workshops, our teaching faculty are all working conference interpreters. One of those graduates is Antony Hoyte West, the author of the very interesting article above. It's nice to have graduates return and share their experiences either on the private market of working as ACI or Temp Agents/Staff for the EU Institutions/UN. I'm sure they would gladly share their experience of the programme with you and you might appreciate their advice a little more than mine, or the opinion of anyone who has not been a student of NUIG. Fora, like social media, can often become platforms for people to polish their own ego, so rather than risk doing that, I would suggest you contact graduates for an honest, ego free answer! You'll find some with the hashtag #1MAC1 on most social media platforms.

I myself am the ACI referred to by Louise so hopefully I can share 13 years of that market with you. Our training panel are in fact graduates of different schools (one, proudly, is one of our own) They are all working as well as teaching and are a mix of AIIC/ITIA members, who are based in Ireland but work both here and abroad.

As an interpreter, regardless of where you train, your languages should be your top priority before you begin. They will give you a strong foundation and the good news is that kind of study is infinitely enjoyable to those suited to the profession. I wish you luck and hope to see your application one of these days.

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answered 13 May, 09:22

Susan%20Folan's gravatar image

Susan Folan
11

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question asked: 07 Apr, 17:20

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