First-time posters: please review the site's moderation policy

A follow-up to my C language question. Specifically, whom should I ask to evaluate my languages before I take the entrance exam?

---edit---

If my C language is at C1 or C2 level and is definitely a solid B2, is it adequate level for this profession?

Maybe this is slightly off topic...But if you are able to understand pop and rock song lyrics in your C, does it mean that you have a solid knowledge of your C? After all, there are many misheard lyrics in your A.

In the "Schools -Social Responsibility" thread a couple of posters wrote that recently - due to a releve - many schools have opened up and that their admissions standards aren't high. So, let's say I take a test at one of these schools (BTW I don't know which schools you're referring to), and I get in. However, my goal is to go to ETI or ESIT. Then, given that their admissions standards are higher, I can fail the test there. And I think that you can only take the test twice. That is why I asked whether it would be possible for others to evaluate me. BTW, I have language certificates evaluated by professionals, as well as a Spanish DELE diploma.

asked 27 Nov '14, 19:19

Myra45's gravatar image

Myra45
2519913

edited 06 Dec '14, 03:06

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦
7.3k141829

If my C language is at C1 or C2 level and is definitely a solid B2, is it adequate level for this profession?

As said before, you need a complete understanding of your passive languages. A solid B2 doesn't cut it.

What kind of personal traits do I need to be a conference interpreter?

These are some of the key skills that interpreters make use of at one time or another:

  1. a polished command of their own native language over a range of registers and domains

  2. a complete mastery of their non-native languages

http://aiic.net/page/56/advice-to-students-wishing-to-become-conference-interpreters

Your combination is very common. You'd be competing with people who before starting their interpreting studies will have spent years in the countries of their C languages (if they weren't even born and raised in a bicultural and bilingual environment). Which means that you'll be poorly ranked in a race for very little work opportunities.

(06 Dec '14, 17:27) Gaspar ♦♦

So even having your C language evaluated as C1 or C2 isn't adequate to begin interpreter training? My combo: A English, B Russian, C1 French, and maybe C2 Spanish in a couple of years. Is it a common combination?

(07 Dec '14, 11:55) Myra45
2

Perhaps Gaspar, like I did, read your other C languages question to mean you had EN A, FR B, ES C. That would be a "common combination". EN A, RU B, FR C is maybe not rare, but a different kettle of fish. It's a good, potentially very good combination (with ES) for the UN and private market (EN A & RU B).

The language classification C1/C2 includes both passive and active parts. For a C language for example you would only need to be the part of C2 that says "Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read." But not the rest, because active language skills are irrelevant for a C. For a B language however you would need C2 across the board.

(07 Dec '14, 12:08) Andy
2

"are able to understand pop and rock song lyrics in your C, does it mean that you have a solid knowledge of your C?" I don't think it's a particularly useful benchmark. Like you say, there are plenty of songs we can't follow in our own language.

(07 Dec '14, 12:10) Andy
1

I had remembered the part "I understand street conversations in my C1 (French) and my potential C2(Spanish)".

Maybe you should add a general presentation under your question, so we can get the entire picture and know where you have lived, what subjects you studied and in which language. That usually helps to get an idea of the language level you're likely to have.

(07 Dec '14, 13:10) Gaspar ♦♦

I never wrote that French is my B; it's definitely C1. I attended most of my schooling (all of high school) and university in English. As well, half of my university courses were in French. I started learning French when I was 6, and have kept up with it since: taking classes, frequently travelling to France, interacting with native speakers from many francophone countries. As a child, I attended a school in Russia for three years. I started learning Spanish when I was 16. I only spent five months in Spain. It's at B2/C1 level.

(07 Dec '14, 13:20) Myra45

"As said before, you need a complete understanding of your passive languages. A solid B2 doesn't cut it." I meant that if your C language is at C1/C2 level, and is definitely at B2 level, then is that enough since C1/C2 is considered pretty good for a foreigner? "Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read." That applies to my French, with exception of regional colloquialisms and some scientific, technical, economic and legal terms.

(07 Dec '14, 22:51) Myra45
showing 5 of 7 show 2 more comments

I think the best thing to do would be to take an admissions test and should you fail, ask specifically why. You really need an interpreter's view on your languages (including your A) and the admissions test is really the only place to get that. There is nothing stopping you from taking a test twice.

permanent link

answered 03 Dec '14, 05:25

Andy's gravatar image

Andy
7.4k222839

Is there anyone besides the admissions committee who can evaluate my A language? For example, magazine editors, professors, professional writers. I know that they're not familiar with the requirements of conference interpreting programs. Still, they should be able to evaluate my writing skills , as well as my vocabulary.

(23 Apr '15, 20:52) Myra45

Hi Myra You're writing skills are very different to your spoken language skills. Writing one has more time (and one has to achieve a higher level) for example. Speaking requires producing good language, in style and vocabulary, while thinking on your feet and under pressure. I think an admissions board would be the best. If you really want an opinion beforehand see if you can persuade a conference interpreter.

(29 Apr '15, 05:57) Andy

During the first round of exams they test your writing skills. If you succeed, they invite you to take part in the oral exams. ASIK only 15-30 people pass the writing exams. So, obviously I'd like someone to evaluate my writing skills.

(29 Apr '15, 13:00) Myra45
1

they're not familiar with the requirements of conference interpreting programs. Still, they should be able to evaluate my writing skills , as well as my vocabulary.

What's the point of measuring something if you have nothing relevant to compare it to? The people you mention could tell you that you have poor writing skills compared to them who have been 20 years on the job... fair enough and good for them, but that won't tell you much. They might as well tell you that your skills are above what they think today's generation's standard is. Well, would that necessarily mean that you'd make the admission test's first round? No. They don't know what the examiners expectations are, and those tests are 50% chance, just like any other test.

If you want to join the profession and are serious about it, spend much time improving all your languages. The sky is the limit. There's nothing such as "good enough", only "still can do better". And that is until retirement age.

(30 Apr '15, 03:43) Gaspar ♦♦

Sorry Myra, I didn't know there was a writing skills test. Sounds a bit odd to me. Are you sure it isn't a translation test, rather than a writing test? I'd be shocked if a school refused someone who could understand and translate a text but wasn't very good at punctuation in their own language. (NB dyslexia shouldn't be a bar to interpreting)

(30 Apr '15, 03:49) Andy
1

Oops. I meant translation tests.

(30 Apr '15, 08:06) Myra45
showing 5 of 6 show 1 more comments

I wouldn't necessarily try to be evaluated before taking a test.

Conference interpreters without teaching experience probably won't remember or know where the bar is set for to-be students in conference interpreting. You might end up with either negative feedback by someone too demanding, or encouraging words by someone who doesn't know much about the actual requirements but who'd appreciate your motivation.

And even if you were facing somebody who knows his/her way around student evaluation, he/she might be very subtle when expressing doubts about your abilities and thus not get the message across.

Either way, you're likely to end up hearing what you want to hear or to question the feedback you will have received. Or would you really take 2 or 3 years to polish your A and Cs? Probably not.

What interpreters can do (and already did, there are plenty of articles and blog posts about that), is explain what level you should have and leave the evaluation up to you at this stage. In a nutshell, a perfect understanding of your C languages even when it comes to complex matters and for your A:

"the mother tongue should itself be exceptionally rich and flexible, clearly surpassing the quality offered by an average, even university-educated, mother-tongue speaker."

(Chris Guichot de Fortis, A few thoughts on B languages)

Just take an entry exam and you'll see, not only how good your languages are, but whether you can deal with stress, public speaking, analysing and and making deductions under pressure, using your general knowledge, etc. to get a whole message across.

permanent link

answered 04 Dec '14, 08:48

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦
7.3k141829

edited 04 Dec '14, 09:05

Andy's right - the fact that you fail an admissions test, but show yourself professional enough to ask why so you can work on what is missing, would be seen as a good approach. The only reasons you might not be invited back the next year are either that the gaps in your abilities were considered so great that it would take more than one year to fix them, or you were to show from your attitude that you were making excuses and would never truly improve.

In the meantime, if you happen to be in a city where there are an abundance of interpreters, maybe you could meet some of them and ask informaly for an evaluation.

Or else, take a look at interpreters.free.fr. There are lots of articles on this site that talk about various aspects of interpreting and training - maybe one will be relevant to you. And if you suspect that any of your active languages need work, do read Chris Guichot de Fortis's article on B languages - it includes exercises to improve a B which could usefully apply to A languages as well.

permanent link

answered 03 Dec '14, 06:20

JuliaP's gravatar image

JuliaP
3.0k249

edited 04 Dec '14, 09:01

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦
7.3k141829

...a first approach, if you don't have foreign language diplomas, could be to sit tests for reputable language institutes (probably not private language schools...) namely those that administer recognised language certification schemes and thus find out what your certifiable levels actually are.

I take it that you want to have your languages tested before you take entrance exams so as not to "burn any bridges" :-), but it might perhaps be worthwile to do so at reputable interpreter training schools you're not likely to choose to attend, geography permitting, insofar as their requirements will very likely be tougher and broader than those applied by "mere" language institutes.

For your mother tongue, perhaps a favourite Uni professor would be willing to give you some pointers on grey areas you may care to improve... and/or a trusted CI might also be willing to do so (the latter for other languages/cultures as well)... good luck :-) !

permanent link

answered 28 Nov '14, 06:50

msr's gravatar image

msr
4.7k6923

I am not sure I understand why it would be prejudicial to directly take the entrance exam. Do the schools often prevent you from retaking the exam if you fail?

Because even if you find a way to get your language skills assessed and “approved”, it does not mean you will automatically pass the exam. So why not directly assess your global predisposition by taking the entrance exam? At least, if you fail, you would know exactly what to improve (C language, general knowledge, A language).

(01 Dec '14, 13:45) Camille Collard

I know one person who failed the written exams at ETI. When later discussing the results with one of the staff, they were only told that on one of the papers was a comment: inadequate English A. Other than that they couldn't explain what they needed to work on.

(01 Dec '14, 19:35) Myra45
1

Yes, but the A language is an interpreter's first and most important tool. If candidates can't express themselves adequately, precisely, with facility, in different registers (diplomatic, legal, scientific, emotional, etc.), then this must be resolved before anything else is tackled.

(02 Dec '14, 21:08) JuliaP

How can this be resolved if they weren't told what specifically they need to work on? I don't want the same to happen to me. That's why I'd like someone to evaluate my languages before I take the exam.

(02 Dec '14, 23:23) Myra45

In the "Schools -Social Responsibility" thread a couple of posters wrote that recently - due to a releve - many schools have opened up and that their admissions standards high. So, let's say I take a test at one of these schools (BTW I don't know which schools you're referring to), and I get it. However, my goal is to go to ETI or ESIT. Then, given that their admissions standards are higher, I can fail the test there. And I think that you can only take the test twice. That is why I asked whether it would be possible for others to evaluate me. BTW, I have language certificates evaluated by professionals, as well as a Spanish DELE diploma.

(04 Dec '14, 23:40) Myra45
2

How can this be resolved if they weren't told what specifically they need to work on? I don't want the same to happen to me. That's why I'd like someone to evaluate my languages before I take the exam.

It's quite difficult to work on your A language. If it doesn't cut it today, you'd need to make up for the hundreds of more books you should have read and the countless hours spent reading or listening to good prose or even writing/speaking yourself. You don't tell us much about your current situation, yet I expect that you couldn't just postpone for years the day when you'll finally take an entry exam.

Plus, as Camille said in the first comment, there are a dozen of other reasons that could fail you, other than your level in languages. It will partly be about who you are, how you think, how you react to stress, frustration, fear,... and you just can't change who you are.

If your C languages do fit the description of the level to attain, go for it.

(05 Dec '14, 04:54) Gaspar ♦♦

If my C language is at C1 or C2 level and is definitely a solid B2, is it adequate level for this profession?

(05 Dec '14, 20:43) Myra45

Maybe this is slightly off topic...But if you are able to understand pop and rock song lyrics in your C, does it mean that you have a solid knowledge of your C? After all, there are many misheard lyrics in your A.

(05 Dec '14, 23:04) Myra45

In the "Schools -Social Responsibility" thread a couple of posters wrote that recently - due to a releve - many schools have opened up and that their admissions standards aren't high. So, let's say I take a test at one of these schools (BTW I don't know which schools you're referring to), and I get in. However, my goal is to go to ETI or ESIT. Then, given that their admissions standards are higher, I can fail the test there. And I think that you can only take the test twice. That is why I asked whether it would be possible for others to evaluate me. BTW, I have language certificates evaluated by professionals, as well as a Spanish DELE diploma.

(05 Dec '14, 23:05) Myra45
showing 5 of 9 show 4 more comments

Don't overthink it so much. Just do it.

One possible option if you want to calm your nerves a bit is to sit admissions at a couple of different schools so it's no so scary by the time you get to the one you really want to get into. That way you also have a backup plan.

Failing at one school won't burn any bridges, so long as you accept the results gracefully and don't throw a fit (really. people do this. i've seen it a few times :/) On the contrary, they often will deliberately fail someone who is on the fence, to see if they are motivated enough to come back the next year. They respect people who do that, in my experience.

permanent link

answered 04 May '15, 13:32

InesdC's gravatar image

InesdC
440117

Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here

By RSS:

Answers

Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text](http://url.com/ "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:

×81
×17
×2
×1

question asked: 27 Nov '14, 19:19

question was seen: 8,728 times

last updated: 04 May '15, 13:32

interpreting.info is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

about | faq | terms of use | privacy policy | content policy | disclaimer | contact us

This collaborative website is sponsored and hosted by AIIC, the International Association of Conference Interpreters.