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Good afternoon,

I was wondering if the right kind of Diploma in Interpreting offers a high enough level of training to sit the UN (and other international institution) Accreditation exams? (along with doing intense, independent study naturally).

And are there any high quality Diploma courses offered on the European continent? At Geneva, Paris or Brussels for example? Or elsewhere? I am currently based in London, but flexible as to whether I would study in the UK or Europe (Brexit allowing......)!

I am 33 years old, British, (English, A > French, Spanish CC) and am very interested in working with languages but unsure of how stable a career in interpreting would be in the future, with advances in technology, a rapidly changing professional world, more remote working (potentially) etc and am unsure as to whether it would be wise to invest so much money in a Masters, when I may only subsequently do interpreting for a few years (I understand that this is pure speculation and no one knows what the future holds).

I was wondering if a diploma may be a suitable way of training as an interpreter as it would be cheaper than a Masters. I understand a Masters may open more doors than a Diploma because it is a higher level of study.

I am unclear as to whether the UN specifically accepts Diplomas in Interpreting. I understand that although studies/training are important, what is of the utmost importance are your linguistic skills, impeccable knowledge of current affairs and having a talent for interpreting.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my question.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Kindest Regards,

Catherine Boycott.

asked 05 Jun, 08:23

CBoycott's gravatar image

CBoycott
11113


Geneva (FTI): 3 Semester course, one of the best in the world, virtually no tuition fees.

Paris (ESIT): 4 semesters (possibly 6), public university.

Brussels: not suitable, as not English A tailored.

They're all MA degrees. Not sure how Leeds and Bath (1 year MAs) fare regarding the pass rate of their graduates, compared to Geneva or Paris. But as a general rule, the longer the course, the better. One should add that UK courses mix translation and interpreting, leaving little time and energy to devote to the latter.

I am unclear as to whether the UN specifically accepts Diplomas in Interpreting. I understand that although studies/training are important, what is of the utmost importance are your linguistic skills, impeccable knowledge of current affairs and having a talent for interpreting.

The UN doesn't require applicants to have any degree in conference interpreting. But in that case, they must be able to prove that they have professional experience. Then again, formal interpreter training and attending a reputable course is the most realistic way to get to the expected level.

You should also bear in mind that with a rather plain vanilla language combination, and limited test slots, given the number of people with the same combination who'll want to be tested, it'd be better to have a solid track record, i.e. a degree, ideally from a top course.

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answered 05 Jun, 08:35

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Gaspar ♦♦
7.6k141829

edited 05 Jun, 12:58

The Postgraduate Diplomas issued by known interpreting schools (including in the UK) have traditionally been recognized by the UN and the EU for the purpose of admittance to accreditation and staff exams. It is, however, a matter of policy and/or discretion of the institutions and/or individuals working within to decide on any particular case.

To me, however, that is of secondary importance.

"I am 33 years old, British, (English, A > French, Spanish CC) and am very interested in working with languages but unsure of how stable a career in interpreting would be in the future, with advances in technology, a rapidly changing professional world, more remote working (potentially) etc and am unsure as to whether it would be wise to invest so much money in a Masters, when I may only subsequently do interpreting for a few years (I understand that this is pure speculation and no one knows what the future holds)."

That to me, is the most important part of your question. It reads as if your own intuition is telling you something that makes a lot of sense. Is it wise to drop thousands of pounds on a Master's Degree* just to have the possibility of gaining access to an exam which if you pass (a minority of cases) might lead to working for one institution on a temporary basis with no labor protection and possibly only for a few years? Your own common sense is telling you that might not be a great idea. So I would consider following it. There are other temp jobs that require less training and more stable jobs that require a similar amount of training, both of which can involve languages.

*Even though the university fees are cheap, the cost of living in Paris or Geneva certainly is not and there's a limit to how much you would be able to work during an intensive MA course. It also depends on what status UK residents have following Brexit in those countries which may affect access to financial aid, etc.

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answered 08 Jun, 10:10

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Jonathan
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Is it wise to drop thousands of pounds on a Master's Degree* just to have the possibility of gaining access to an exam which if you pass (a minority of cases) might lead to working for one institution on a temporary basis with no labor protection and possibly only for a few years?

Good point.

One should probably find out:

  • What the pass rate at the UN accreditation test is ;

  • what the pass rate at the UN accreditation test is for graduates of X, Y, Z universities ;

  • How many days of work a beginner could usually hope for after getting accredited, if they work as freelancers ;

  • Whether NY and Nairobi (and possibly other UN offices) still would offer newly accredited interpreters one-year contracts, and if so, at what pay grade.

  • How often LCEs were organized in the past year in one's language combination.

  • How many freelancers with one's language combination do make a living out of interpreting.

(10 Jun, 13:56) Gaspar ♦♦
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question asked: 05 Jun, 08:23

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