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Hi everyone, My name is Kim, I am currently a student enrolled in a computing & networking program at college. Currently i am in Quebec Canada, and my language combination is Korean mother tongue, B language - English C-language french. Because of the fact that i came to Canada at a relatively early age and got myself educated here in Canada, a lot of times, i feel a lot easier Speaking English rather than Korean.

Watching videos and reading blogs, etc i also learned that I should really be good with my mother tongue (i dont know how i am going to make this happen, i have no one else to talk to in Korean other than my mom/dad and one good friend of mine) and a lot of times i find myself at loss of words and just resort to say that either in English or French.

I guess also I like the fact that at work, If i know my stuff (here i am talking about my work as a Network admin) I can sit and talk to my colleagues ( i am loving this for now) because this really is the nature of my job. If everyone is at work with no technical issues then this is me doing my job properly so... (So really throughout the day, other than doing daily/weekly backs-ups and writing documents 85% its all free time)

But at the same time in the back of my mind, i mean i came to Canada hoping to be an interpreter, i feel like i settled for something i didn't intend on doing. I mean i love talking to people and i am willing to give it a shot as my future career.

So please tell me if you can, Is my language combo a good combo, Would there be a enough demand for me to be able to live off of this. What education and how much education does this take ?

asked 01 Oct '14, 01:30

Youngkim's gravatar image


edited 01 Oct '14, 02:22

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦

Ok, Thanks for your advice, and one more question, if i can do FR and EN into KR would there be a lot of chances to work in Europe ? and what would be the best of choice of studies for my undergrad if i want to work as an interpreter upon my graduation.

Options i am currently look at are business with focus on international affairs law maybe art but probably not that a good idea uh ?

(03 Oct '14, 14:03) Youngkim

Can't tell you much about the KO interpreting market in Europe, but you can be fairly sure it is an A-B market (e.g. KO-EN or KO-FR) rather than an A-CC (KO-FR EN) market.

There are obvious advantages for a future interpreter studying "business with focus on international affairs law" etc but to be quite honest you can do any degree at all at undergrad level and still become a good interpreter. So pick something that interests you! You can't however "start work upon graduation" from your undergrad degree. You'll need to follow the undergrad degree with a 1 or 2 year course post-grad course in conference interpreting

(05 Oct '14, 06:20) Andy

Hi I think there is a healthy KO-EN market, though in Korea. But I feel better able to give you some advice about your languages...

What you describe is fairly common - you are pretty much bilingual, with different strengths and weaknesses in each language, but neither language is (currently) up to the standard of an A-language in conference interpreting. (Or maybe your EN is?) That standard is described here "If you want to interpret into and out of a foreign language then not only will your understanding of the language be comparable to that of an educated native-speaker but you also need to speak the language to a similarly high level"

  1. How to improve your Korean? Well, if your English is good it's because "you got yourself educated" in Canada. There's the answer - you should try to do the same in Korea. Your Korean is probably stuck at the level of a 17-18 year old. Go study anything in Korea for a year or two - business, law, IT whatever, but not interpreting straight away. You need educated (graduate) 25 year old's Korean.

  2. "a lot of times i find myself at loss of words and just resort to say that either in English or French" Never, ever, allow yourself to mix languages in a sentence like this. If you're serious about interpreting get serious about this. It's about the worst thing a would-be interpreter can be doing. If you can't find the Korean word look it up, ask, paraphrase, but never finish the sentence in EN or FR. You won't be able to when you are interpreting!

  3. If you're in a big city in Canada I bet there are Korean cultural institutes, societies, clubs etc. Get involved in some that involve talking to other participants. Practice. Always talking to the same people (your parents) makes you lazy and limits your vocab and style. If you like talking this shouldn't be so tough!

"What education and how much education does this take ?"

Maybe 1 year graduate studies in Korea for your Korean + 1 or 2 years interpreting studies either in an EN-speaking country or Korea.

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answered 01 Oct '14, 15:02

Andy's gravatar image


edited 01 Oct '14, 15:05

ps... just seen this... all of them could apply to you and your Korean as well

(16 Oct '14, 10:59) Andy
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question asked: 01 Oct '14, 01:30

question was seen: 6,883 times

last updated: 16 Oct '14, 10:59 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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