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Students often ask, when they are about to complete their translation studies, how can they know whether they have conditions in order to become interpreters.

asked 20 Jan '12, 13:08

Vicky%20Massa's gravatar image

Vicky Massa

edited 22 Apr '12, 18:23

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

;-) my first caveat would be that translations studies are not of necessity a stepping stone to Interpretation, let alone CI... well do I remember having to disabuse the emeritus head of a local T/I course of studies which had invited me to address a conference to mark an anniversary of said course of studies - needless to say I was not invited back :-) - after he said that Interpretation is the "natural corollary" to Translation!

My reaction to such a question would be a series of questions, assuming it's indeed CI we're talking about:

  • are your languages and cultures behind them up to it?

  • do you have fun with them? Are you curious?

  • does communication sound like a challenge that will keep you interested throughout the normal career span?

  • is your health up to the grind, in the booth, preparing and travelling?

  • are you aware that our present status and therefore recognition (social, financial, in the industry) no longer is what it once was...and will probably continue to deteriorate?

  • ...and - because this is after all about gainful employment - are your languages - hopefully including an EN retour and/or some combination in demand - and your location commercially viable?

  • would you be willing to work on either, otherwise?

  • if considering free-lancing, are you up to the challenges of no regular pay-check, no corporate health and pension plans?

  • will your personal/emotional/family life, present ot contemplated, withstand a CI's lifestyle?

Ave Caesar, morituri te salutant :-)!

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answered 20 Jan '12, 15:55

msr's gravatar image


edited 22 Apr '12, 18:12

I usually ask students how they fare when facing an examination board: if they stand tall, then they should consider getting further training, if they become flustered, it is probably safe to say that they will be better as translators.

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answered 20 Jan '12, 13:10

Vicky%20Massa's gravatar image

Vicky Massa

Be any good as an interpreter? In a sense of doing a good job? Being a self-confident cheeky bastard helps a lot, although you do have to package it in nice and polite wrapping. Mastering your technique (takes few months), and having a wide ranging general knowledge (takes tens of years) in at least two languages also helps a lot. Especially mastering your technique - that gives a solid and real base for your self confidence. IN a sense of making a good living? Previous bits are a prerequisite, to build a good reputation, but you need more. If you are lucky, you'll find a permanent post where your only worry will be about the quality of your work. If you are less lucky, you'll be a freelance in demand. If you are even less lucky, you'll have to deal with clients only interested in lowering prices!

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answered 24 Jan '12, 16:57

Amato's gravatar image


Trust your instincts. My first attempts at interpreting weren't very promising but I kept at it because somehow I knew it was my thing, I just needed some time to get it right. After a while, I got the hang of it and began to enjoy it, especially simultaneous. Luckily I had good teachers, and of course I've kept learning on the job - full-time, for nearly twenty years now :-).

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answered 24 Jan '12, 18:09

Sirpa's gravatar image


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question asked: 20 Jan '12, 13:08

question was seen: 4,359 times

last updated: 22 Apr '12, 18:12

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