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Thank you so much for reading.

I am 26 years old and had a bachelor's degree in Economics and a master's degree in International relations. I worked for two years before my master's degree. But I have always wanted to be an interpreter, and I realized I need professional training and resources to get into the market. So I applied for a few schools, Westminster, Newcastle, Bath, MIIS, etc. I am now making a final decision among Middlebury (MIIS), Bath, and Newcastle.

My concerns are: which one has the best reputation on the Chinese-English interpreting market, and which one provides most Chinese-English job opportunities? I have asked the career center staff in all universities, their answers are ambiguous. So I want to ask the question here since I know people here are true professionals on interpreting.

The differences I saw so far among these schools are that Bath, Newcastle provide a one-year program while MIIS provides a two-year program. And MIIS is much much more expensive. So I don't know if its output is more valuable than the other two schools, and also my age would be a problem, after two years I will be even older compared to other young graduates.

Thank you so much for your time.

asked 12 Apr, 02:57

shawna's gravatar image


and also my age would be a problem, after two years I will be even older compared to other young graduates.

If by problem you mean huge advantage, then you are definitely right! More life experience, more general knowledge, in depth knowledge in relevant fields that you have studied during your BA and MA,... will all work for you. :-)

In Bath, the course mixes translation and interpreting. Because of the course structure, too little focus, time and energy are left to be devoted to interpreting.

I'd go for MIIS, as the second year there solely deals with conference interpreting.

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answered 12 Apr, 08:58

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦

edited 12 Apr, 08:58

Thank you so much! Because I once saw it somewhere that someone said the interpreters need to enter the industry at a young age, so that discouraged me for a while. But your answer lifted me up and thank you.

So it would be the same for Bath and Newcastle, right? Since they are both one year. MIIS is a great place to learn Interpreting but I just don't know the employment details of the major Translation and Interpretation.I know they have a Translation Localization Management program that provides great job opportunities, but it doesn't have interpreting classes. And it is expensive because it takes longer, so I am still worried about not getting the results in the end that match the expenses. But I certainly got more determination now, thank you very much for your answer.

(12 Apr, 10:08) shawna

If you want a second opinion on your age... Gaspar is absolutely right. You are definitely at an advantage, not a disadvantage! Good luck.

(13 Apr, 11:53) Andy

Thank you very much!! Because "age" has always been a topic that some people would bring about, saying that a career needs to start at a young age (in China) to get a stable life. So I always was frustrated by this.

(14 Apr, 00:40) shawna

I think all beginners under the age of 30 have a few war stories on how they were mistaken for the intern, someone's kid coming to visit daddy at work or generally speaking, have had to deal with the generational gap, when working for people who indeed are their parents' age.

The pressure you describe is relatable. In the French culture, you'd also be encouraged not to loose time, not to try out things or go after stuff that interests you, but graduate ASAP. Going through university fast is equated to academic success.

Interpreting doesn't care much about how much knowledge you can learn by heart, restitute in an exam and then forget. It's more about soaking up knowledge from all fields, learn about how the world works, see the big picture and acquire experience. That takes time. Don't feel guilty about it! It's one of the best things about this job, you can enjoy learning about anything and everything, and there's a good chance it'll come handy sooner than later.

Similarly, past failures are great experiences for interpreting, because failing is part of the job, and it all boils down to how you react when that happens. Students who haven't known failure or hardship in the past are less well off in my experience.

(16 Apr, 08:18) Gaspar ♦♦

Do you plan on working in Asia, the UK, or the USA? That may make a difference.

From what I know about the Chinese market, people are very careful about guarding their turf, seniority means everything, and so do contacts. I know MIIS grads who have returned to China only to find themselves at a huge disadvantage compared to people who trained in China, since people know who they are and they have a better lay of the land. It doesn't matter that MIIS probably offers superior training.

If you plan on working outside of China though, I would definitely pick MIIS if you can afford it.

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answered 15 Apr, 08:25

InesdC's gravatar image


Could you give me some more information about your languages so I can answer more usefully ? What is your language combination? English native-speaker with acquired Chinese? The reverse ? Or bilingual ? Did you study in English-speaking countries or in China? How long have you spent in China in total ? Answers to those would change the answer to your question. To give you an idea of what I mean...

If you are an English native with acquired Chinese then you should almost certainly go and study in China, not in an English-speaking country (because from what I've read from interpreters learning Chinese it seems that 5 years in China is minimum to be able to interpret into Chinese).

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answered 13 Apr, 11:58

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edited 13 Apr, 12:00

Thank you very much Andy. Chinese is my A language and English is B. I am a Chinese native speaker and have lived in the UK for about 3 years. I found some information said that these 3 schools are one of the bests for Chinese-English interpreting, but I am not sure which one would be the one that suits my situation, that would be, which one is more career oriented. I want to have more opportunities to explore during summer or winter vacations, but I don't know which one provides more of the opportunities. (I asked the schools, they didn't give very specific answers.) So maybe I should concentrate on other aspects?

(14 Apr, 00:36) shawna

That's a great foundation. Studying in an English-speaking country is a good idea for any EN B. But as InesDC quite rightly says where you want to work in the future is also something to consider. Your teachers will be your first point of entry onto the interpreting market. Also interpreters may call them if you are any good. It's therefore useful to have studied in the city/country you want to work in later. (If you want to return to China then studying in China is a good idea. If you want to stay in the UK then Newcastle seems more logical than MIIS. MIIS on the other hand is where you should study if you see yourself working in the US.)

(16 Apr, 07:34) Andy
  • call them to ask if you are any good
(17 Apr, 14:41) Andy
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question asked: 12 Apr, 02:57

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last updated: 17 Apr, 14:42

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