I'm currently a sophomore student in mainland China and considering a interpreter as my future career.I understand the importance of having a C language in my language combination. But my trouble is to find a both prospective and practical one for me. Here's where I stand：
So what do you think I should choose?
*Additional question: Besides attending a school program, is there any other way for me to get my C language skill developed and certificated? Is it possible for me to start out with A ↔ B and later add C into my language combination?
Hello! To answer your last question first, of course you can start with just an A<>B combination and add a C language later. Many interpreters do, though you would end up having to replicate much of what you do in interpreting school on your own, which is hard if you don't have the discipline.
Now to your markets: if you are planning on staying in the US or UK to work, most of the work is on the private market, so A<>B, and only rarely involves a C language. I have no idea what the Chinese market is like in either of those countries, so you would have to do your market research to decide where you would get the most work, and hence where to pick a school!
If you move to the East coast, you will become more eligible for the UN, which also requires a retour into a B, but not necessarily a C. If you do add a C, then for the UN it would have to be French. Not all Chinese interpreters have a C language, so you would stand out a bit if you offered that.
There is a market for Jpn<>En in the US and the UK, though I don't know how large. However, no matter how similar it is to Chinese, you would be working from one foreign language to another, something that I don't recommend a beginner learning or starting out with.
answered 18 Feb '15, 12:43
To come back a bit to the definitions: a C language is nothing to do with language training. When you start your interpreter training, you already have to have an extremely good-to-perfect understanding of the language in question. You don't get taught the language - you get taught how to interpret from it.
Nearly all professional conference interpreters with Chinese have a Chinese A, English B or Chinese A, French B combination. C languages are quite rare. It's just the way the market is. You don't need to have a C, but you will find yourself working bidirectionally (into your B language, as well as out of it) nearly all the time. I call this a "2-way booth" but others may call it a "cabine bi-active".
The other type of interpreter profile you commonly see is someone with one A and several Cs. This is standard (and necessary) if you're working eg. at the EU institutions. So you might meet someone with (real example) Finnish A, and English, French, Spanish, Italian and Swedish Cs. This kind of profile is extremely rare for interpreters who have Chinese - I can think of only one example, and it's that of a colleague with French A and several Cs including Chinese.
A C language can be a benefit, though, and it's not true to say that there's no market for Japanese-> English, even if most of the demand is Japanese <> English. However, as a Chinese A you would not be the ideal profile for this - when you work from C into B you have to be very disciplined and aware of your limitations.
I would recommend that you first consider when and where to train as an interpreter, and if the profession is right for you. Once you get down that road, you can consider adding a C language later. It's fun!
answered 23 Feb '15, 12:45