For reasons of technical obsolescence, will not be migrating with us to our new website and will be shutting down on 31 July 2020. All content will be archived in a usable format, accessible upon request, pending a decision on a possible future successor.

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

I'm English A, Italian C, and am taking Russian lessons. I'm currently looking for an undergraduate university course but in the UK it costs 9 grande which is quite dear.

I had a look at the AIIC list of courses but they were mostly (maybe all) postgraduate, so where do people usually do their first degrees? And in what subjects? I read something about "broadening your knowledge by studying something else". Also are there any good alternatives to English universities?

My second part to this question is has anyone studied in the country of one of their foreign languages? If so does the fact that you have done so show to an employer that you have a better understanding of said language?


asked 03 Dec '14, 15:36

drummmer4m's gravatar image


edited 03 Dec '14, 21:38

Delete's gravatar image

Delete ♦


You didn't ask about the languages and markets, yet you should know that Italian and Russian don't mix that well. Italian is an asset for the EU institutions, provided you know German and/or French. Russian is great for the UN, but needs to be combined with French and/or Spanish.

(04 Dec '14, 05:47) Gaspar ♦♦

Ok that is something else I would like to know, however I didn't choose these languages they just happened (cultural interests, lesson opportunities etc.).

I know that the Chinese and Russians buy a lot of things over here (Milan), and I could get into court-room interpreting with these languages - though I've heard it's not the most desirable job. I did consider Arabic but it seems there's quite a few of those translators already.

I have no hard facts however, only what I have seen and heard. If you know of a third language which could be useful between my current two, or have any futher advice please let me know!

(04 Dec '14, 08:59) drummmer4m

French would be useful both for the UN (Geneva, Vienna, NY, Nairobi) and the EU (Brussels, Strasbourg, Luxembourg). Court interpreting is a whole different story and one I don't know much about languages in demand.

(04 Dec '14, 09:16) Gaspar ♦♦

There is next to no market for Chinese and Arabic as C languages. (The UN uses only Chinese and Arabic interpreters working back into a B language for these two languages)

(04 Dec '14, 09:42) Andy

Thanks for the advice on the market, so you reckon A EN + C IT, C RU, C FR is a strong combination?

(04 Dec '14, 16:47) drummmer4m

It's not a strong combination. But it's compilation of a weak combination and an OK combination, namely EN - IT FR for the EU and EN - FR RU for the UN. If you were to get yourself to the EU the first thing they will tell you is to add another community language (but not ES which lots of people with IT and FR already have). Most likely they would want DE.

(05 Dec '14, 11:11) Andy
showing 5 of 6 show 1 more comments

Starting at the end... an "employer" will have their own test to check whether you can interpret or not. (They won't only be testing whether you can understand the language!) Having studied abroad might help you get onto an interpreting course however.

As for studying abroad it can be a great idea. (As long as you keep reading and studying in your native language at the same time.) It will certainly help you understand (and use) the language better.

Studying something other than languages can be a good idea too - broader knowledge and all that - but many interpreters did study languages and studying languages does give you the time and opportunity to really study the literature, language and culture of the countries in question.

Conference interpreting is best studied at post-grad level

permanent link

answered 04 Dec '14, 03:08

Andy's gravatar image


Hi drummmer4m,

I fully agree with Gaspar and Andy here. The relevance of your language combination is a very important issue because it'll define if you can make a decent living after you complete the postgraduate degree in conference interpreting. I understand by your comments that you live in Italy, am I right? If you plan to stay in Italy, I'll suggest you to work on your Italian and make it your B language. That'll be a good first step being an English A and living in Italy. Having said taht, I personally think that Russian won't get a long way (for you professionally, I mean) unless you learn another language: Spanish or French (United Nations) Spanish/German/French (for EU). If you don't feel up to upgrading your Italian C into a B, 3 C's (RU, IT, FR) will be perfectly OK, provided you pass both the UN and EU accreditations exams. I am not sure how much work English A's only with C-languages get on the Italian private market for conference interpreters - it might be limited of sorts, hence my advice to upgrade your Italian in order to improve your options. Good luck.


permanent link

answered 05 Dec '14, 08:20

Conrado's gravatar image


edited 05 Dec '14, 09:30

Thankyou very much for your advice! I am currently in Italy, and upping my Italian to a B is a great idea, it's definitely possible from my situation and is considerably stronger than my Russian

(05 Dec '14, 08:33) drummmer4m

If I'm not mistaken, there are UN agencies in Rome. The FAO for example. They could be looking for English As, with Russian AND French. And since you are in Italy, you could try to make your Italian a B and work on the private market. So, you could aim for English A, Italian B, French and Russian C. With your Cs, you work for the UN. With your B, for the Italian private market. Making that happen will be very challenging, but not impossible. And I guess it would give you enough work.

permanent link

answered 06 Jan '15, 13:52

GuillaumeF's gravatar image


Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

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



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "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:


question asked: 03 Dec '14, 15:36

question was seen: 5,138 times

last updated: 06 Jan '15, 13:52 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.