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Hi all,

This question is directed at English As who are accredited with the EU and who have three Cs, or those who know someone in this position.

I've heard that times are quite tough in the English booth at the EU due to a certain extent to over-recruitment, and that interpreters with just two C languages (particularly the bog-standard A-EN, C-FR, SP combination) were finding it particularly hard.

Do those (of you) with an A-CCC combination manage to get enough work from Parliament/Commission etc. to make ends meet? Assuming of course that you're seen as a relatively safe pair of hands and are getting good grades when being evaluated. Or is even A-CCC not necessarily enough?

I ask because I have an in-house job involving both translation andinterpreting, but don't intend to stay there forever, and would go freelance if I passed the accreditation exam. Obviously I could and would top up my income with private market work, but it would reassure me to know that I could rely on the bulk of my salary coming from the EU.

Thanks for any answers :) PS My Cs are Fr, De, SP

asked 14 Jan '15, 10:44

Eric's gravatar image


edited 15 Jan '15, 12:33

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Hi Eric,

The first thing to say is that in the EN booth we are relatively lucky. There's a big demand for EN interpreters and a relatively low supply compared to other booths. So traditionally you've been able to start in the EN booth with 2 C languages and add a third later. In the FR or DE booths you need 3 CCCs just to be considered.

But things are getting tougher in the EN booth as well. Lots of people start with 3 languages now and more generally you could say "4 is the new 3" when it comes to languages. Most EN booth people seem to have 4 languages. My personal experience is probably less relevant. Though I'm EN A with 3 CCCs I started quite a while ago!

If you're good enough, and if you add German, and probably if you live in Brussels you can expect to make a living. (The Commission doesn't recruit anyone who lives outside BXLs. The EP is less rigid). I wouldn't expect too much private market work in BXLs though. There are too many other interpreters there for anyone to get much.

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answered 15 Jan '15, 04:09

Andy's gravatar image


edited 15 Jan '15, 14:25

I no great expert on the BXLs market I'm afraid. But the maths are simple. There are an awful lot of interpreters in BXLs. Some of them very good and well-established; others desperate for work. The competition is very tough.

(16 Jan '15, 07:12) Andy

My Cs are Fr, De, SP

C'est un bon début qui t'assurera une invitation pour le test et en cas de réussite et qui te donne un bon argument pour bénéficier du programme dit d'intégration, qui te donne environ 100 jours de boulot pendant un an et demi.

Cela dit, ne mets pas la charrue avant les boeufs. Si les discours du test d'accréditation ne traitent pas de physique quantique ni de philosophie, ils ont une difficulté qui est leur format unique auquel il faut se préparer. En particulier pour des gens qui exercent déjà, c'est comparable à la difficulté que ressentirait un conducteur à qui on ferait repasser le permis de conduire. Il faut etre parfait, scolaire, et les raccourcis et autres habitudes tolérées sur le terrain ne sont pas admises.

Pour ce qui est du marché privé, j'abonde dans le sens d'Andy.

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answered 15 Jan '15, 04:43

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Gaspar ♦♦

edited 15 Jan '15, 04:44

Bonjour Gaspar, Merci beaucoup pour tes conseils et ta réponse.

Bien sûr, en ce qui concerne le test d’accréditation , je ne mettrai pas la charrue avant les bœufs, je ne vendrai pas la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué etc. !!! En effet, j’ai déjà passé le test et je ne l’ai pas réussi, donc je sais à quel point c’est difficile. Et je ne suis plus rompu à la consec comme j’étais à l’issu de mes études… Par contre, maintenant je suis un peu plus chevronné, plus fort en allemand, et j’ai rajouté l’espagnol. Donc je reste optimiste et j’espère réussir le test la prochaine fois, même si je sais que je pourrais très facilement tomber sur un os !

Si je peux me permettre : tu as une belle combinaison linguistique, surtout avec le hongrois – donc tu vis principalement de ton travail aux institutions ?

(16 Jan '15, 06:35) Eric

En effet, mon profil et mon domicile professionnel me destinent essentiellement aux institutions. Je travaille occasionnellement sur le marché privé.

(16 Jan '15, 07:51) Gaspar ♦♦

Hi Andy, thanks for your reply.

4 is the new 3 and then 5 will be the new 4… Where does it end, eh?

Well, I already have German in my combination, so it sounds as though I should be all right if I pass the test, and if I’m accepted into the newcomers scheme. That’s really interesting that you say there’s not much private market work, as it’s all been gobbled up by the established veterans. I already work in Brussels and have had a couple of offers without marketing myself (friends whose company needed an interpreter). Do you mean there’s no private market work A < CCC? I would imagine there might be more French <> English work?

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answered 16 Jan '15, 06:34

Eric's gravatar image


edited 16 Jan '15, 06:49

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question asked: 14 Jan '15, 10:44

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