Hi there - I'm an English native speaker from the UK and an aspiring interpreter! My goal is one day to be an interpreter for the European institutions and I was wondering if I could get some pointers as to the best C language to add to my language portfolio. I had a meeting with the head of the English booth for the European Parliament back in the summer and I was told that ideally they look for English plus three passive languages i.e. ACCC.
Trying to save as much time as possible and build on already exisitng knowledge (as opposed to learning, say, Finnish ab initio) I think I have three main options: Dutch, Greek and French.
Dutch - relatively easy to learn after German, and already have a basic knowledge. Greek - I have a undergraduate degree in Ancient Greek, so I already have a massive head start. French - I have a rusty A level from 7 years ago.
Would anybody have any advice as to which languages would be most suited? I suppose the advantage of French and Dutch is that, if I were living in Brussels, I could practise them on a daily basis, but it would be nice to use my degree somehow too!
I would be sincerely grateful for any pointers given. Many thanks.
EN, DE, ES and FR are spoken in almost any meeting with interpretation. Having DE and FR would allow you to be programmed for all sorts of meetings.
NL is used less often in meetings and barely spoken in the street in Brussels (the population is de facto francophone, even if the city is officially bilingual).
EL is used about as often as PL. Having EL and PL would have you doing mostly Council meetings, i.e. thematic working parties discussing legislative proposals.
You could add FR now and EL a few years later, or vice-versa. Many colleagues have FR, yet there's a bigger need for that language. Very fewer colleagues have EL, yet the demand for that language is lower too. Both languages would get you work.
answered 14 May '14, 05:31
Gaspar is right: Go for French. French and German will improve your employability and Polish will give you the competitive edge. By the way: There is life for interpreters outside the EU institutions. DE and FR C might help you to get some freelance work on the private market whereas GR or NL will help you in a more limited way and practically only if you live in Greece or The Netherlands.
answered 14 May '14, 17:49
Kubb, which Polish university are you considering? At my university, all students were Polish As and all tutors but one (German) were Polish, too. From time to time, native speakers of students' B languages would come to the class to give some additional feedback on the B language performance but this is obviously nothing compared to the kind of feedback you can get if you are taught by conference interpreters who have English as their A. Gaspar is right that studying in a foreign environment could be quite counterproductive.
I don't know where you would like to work later on. If you are thinking about Poland, you definitely need a Polish B. I can imagine you could find a lot of work here, as there are very few native English conference interpreters in Poland so you would have a huge advantage. In the EU, on the other hand, from what I've heard it's very difficult to have Polish as your B. The Polish booth is very demanding as far as the quality of your Polish is concerned, and they are not used to non-native speakers so the expectations are (supposedly) higher than in the case of, let's say, English or German Bs. Plus, a retour is probably not very much needed in the English booth, with the exception of some odd consecutive assignments.
If you need any information about Polish universities or the interpreting market in Poland, feel free to ask and I will try to help you (as much as I can).