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Hello everyone!

I'm thinking of changing my profession and I've figured out that conference interpreting is something I'd really like to do. My situation is such: I have a Bachelor degree in International Business, my native language is Russian, I speak fluent English and Finnish, good French and basic Spanish. My goal is to work in an international organization (EU or UN) and that's why I'd like to take a Master's Degree in Conference Interpreting in an EU country.

I have several questions:

  1. What language combinations would be the most beneficial for me considering that my A-language is Russian? A(RU)+B(EN)/B(FI)+C(FR)? Or something else? I'm ready to improve my language skills or even to learn a new one (I was thinking Portuguese or Chinese)

  2. I know that not all universities provide the "interpreting into Russian" option, therefore, is it possible for me to take, for example, A(EN)+B(FI) or B(FR)+C(ES) language combination and later on get Russian accredited?

  3. What are the chances for a Russian speaker to get a job in such organizations as EU or UN? Is this language in demand there or is it better to aim at the private markets?

Thanks in advance for all the answers!

asked 08 Jun '14, 12:17

just_wondering's gravatar image

just_wondering
30113

edited 24 Jun '14, 03:24

Nacho's gravatar image

Nacho ♦
73381532


Hi and welcome!

I will answer your questions assuming that you have the sufficient level in the languages mentionned (English, Finnish and French) and that they can indeed be considered as B and C languages, but i'm pretty sure that by looking through previous posts, you will be able to find out whether this is the case or not.

  1. Your combination is good. Learning new languages is always a good thing but I think you should first focus on the languages you already have. Acquiring the skills to become an interpreter will take time and hard work and you probably won't have time to add new languages, especially if they are as challenging as chinese or portuguese.

  2. Once again I don't know your true level of English but as a general rule you can't simply choose your A language. Even real hard work won't make an A language out of a B language. Simply because you would have to acquire the same level as somebody who has more than 20 years of practice in that language. Moreover very few people have two A languages. I think the only school where you can study with a Russian A is in Paris but I might be wrong.

  3. I think the UN is currently looking for russian interpreters but someone from the russian booth will be able to better answer that question. However demands in languages change rapidly and you can never really predict which languages will be needed. Studying to become an interpreter solely in the aim of working for the EU or the UN is a dangerous bet because only very few interpreters end up working there (for many reasons also explained in previous posts).

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answered 08 Jun '14, 18:25

Camille%20Collard's gravatar image

Camille Collard
8639

Hi, There are lots of schools that teach into Russian in fact. Just have a look at this, AIIC's Schools Finder. Type only Russian into the middle column, and nothing in the other 2 and you'll get all the schools worldwide (that meet AIIC's criteria and) which teach into RU http://aiic.net/directories/schools/finder/

(09 Jun '14, 10:28) Andy

What language combinations would be the most beneficial for me considering that my A-language is Russian?

RU A, EN B, FR C, both for the UN and the private market. I'm mostly guessing here, but I'd assume that Finnish would probably give you a unique selling proposition, but you wouldn't have that much demand.

I know that not all universities provide the "interpreting into Russian" option, therefore, is it possible for me to take, for example, A(EN)+B(FI) or B(FR)+C(ES) language combination and later on get Russian accredited?

As Camille has said, you can't change your A language.

Interpreting schools teaching EN into RU can be found in the AIIC school directory: http://aiic.net/directories/schools/byLanguagePairs/from/1/into/136

The availability of the language pair is subject to variations, yet both schools in Paris and the one in Geneva are likely to offer it.

What are the chances for a Russian speaker to get a job in such organizations as EU or UN? Is this language in demand there or is it better to aim at the private markets?

Provided your overall level (languages, general knowledge & interpreting techniques) are on par, you could both pass EU and UN freelance accreditation tests. Yet, the EU won't give you enough work to make a living. You'd be more likely to be in demand by the UN. If you have an English retour (B language), you can work on the private market as well.

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answered 08 Jun '14, 20:20

G%C3%A1sp%C3%A1r's gravatar image

Gáspár ♦
6.4k141829

Hi there,

In my opinion, Russian A with English B and French C will be a rather good combination both for the private market and the UN system or other international organizations using Russian as working or official language for that matter (for explample, Council of Europe). Finnish B will certainly give you a competitive advantage but ONLY if you live in Finland or are considering to relocate to Finland. I guess that there is quite some trade exchange between Russia and Finland and, both countries sharing a long common border, there might be some demand for RU and FI both ways (conferences, official visits, trade delegations, community interpreting in hospital and legal settings). Other than that, I am afraid that a Finnish B will not help you much and on top of that you will not be using this language combination much outside Finland and therefore it will mean more work for you to keep it up to par. You will have to take the decission about what better suits your professional goals acording to your personal situation.

Maybe you have an affinity for Finland and its people, you may even have family from there. The fact that you do not use Finnish in your language combination for work doesn't prevent you from speaking and reading and enjoying that language however in a more relaxed way which will give you more time to hone and improve your "official" working languages.

My 2 cents. Good luck.

Conrado

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answered 15 Jun '14, 13:18

Conrado's gravatar image

Conrado
1.1k1415

Hello!

All the answers above are very good, but leave out one major question: are you aiming at being a freelancer or a staffer? If the latter, the EU is pretty much out, as I don't think that they have staff positions with Russian A.

As a follow-up to this answer, if you want to work as a staffer for the UN, then find out which schools have the most students offered staff tests and hired by the UN. If it is a Paris school then go there, a UK school then go there, or the school in St Petersburg then go there.

If you are aiming on being a freelancer, then follow the advice given in the other answers to this question, as they cover pretty much everyrhing.

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answered 19 Sep '15, 08:53

JuliaP's gravatar image

JuliaP
2.9k249

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question asked: 08 Jun '14, 12:17

question was seen: 5,006 times

last updated: 19 Sep '15, 08:53

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