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I've been browsing through this forum for several days now.And I noticed that MIIS (just as I previously learned) is quite reputable and frequently discussed & recommended. When I decided to apply for MA in CI MIIS was once my prior option, but then I crossed it due to the prohibitively expensive tuition & fees and resorted to U.K. universities like Bath, Newcastle, Leeds & Westminster.But I've seen the discussions in some other questions, and I learned that 1 year of training is hardly enough for CI. So I'm wavering right now. All things considered, should I choose to study in MIIS even though I may cause me an arm and a leg or should I go to bath or NCL or Leeds etc.? (I'm from a lower middle class family. And I don't think my parents' income will be sufficient even for the 1/3 of the total expense for MIIS.My only resorts are the scholarships,which are of limited help,and student loan.)

asked 18 Feb '15, 01:38

EliChang's gravatar image


edited 18 Feb '15, 12:14


Hi EliChang, maybe you could also tell us where you'd like to work later on and what your language combination is. That might be of relevance when it comes to choosing a school.

(18 Feb '15, 02:57) Gaspar ♦♦

Oops,my fault. I'm native Chinese, and B language is English. And I'm currently hesitating between FRA or JPN as my C language. Further details are explained at my other question:

(18 Feb '15, 03:02) EliChang

The inconvenient but true answer is that you need to think long-term.

This is not about a quick payoff. It's about being able to perform - and improve - as an interpreter for a professional lifetime, and enjoy it too.

And that's assuming you get all the way through. Monterey / MIISM is one of the few good places to train as a Chinese-English conference interpreter - but even the best entrance exam jury in the world can't handpick those who are going to flourish in conference interpreting. It's not a given that you're going to get all the way through the 2 years. Interpreter training is a tough process and many people fall by the wayside.

MIISM is not the only option, and living / tuition expenses may well be lower at other reputable 2-year courses. However it's currently the only one located in an English-speaking city (more of a smallish town by US standards) - except for the course at Newcastle University. If you choose to study in Asia or in another non-English-speaking environment, you're going to have to work extremely, extremely hard to have any hope of producing smart EN output in simultaneous once you graduate.

In the case of the Chinese-English pair, I would say that it's vital that you spend a full 2 years training at an interpreting course. Either that or don't do it. There's simply too much ground to cover.

If you're 23 or 24 years old, why not work for a while and save up, so that your financial situation is better and you have more life / work experience when you train as an interpreter? That significantly increases your chances of succeeding - but it's not a guarantee.

Once you're in a position to consider it, Monterey actually gives you several things at once. But a lot still depends on you.

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answered 22 Feb '15, 21:37

William%20White's gravatar image

William White

edited 22 Feb '15, 21:38


Thank you, Mr.white!Your answer really rid me of all my doubts and hesitations.Much appreciated.

(23 Feb '15, 00:55) EliChang

Hello Eli, I have just realized that, apart from Monterey, there is another interpreting program in the US that works with the ZH<>EN combination among others, at the University of Maryland. It is a new school, but the head of the program this year is a hugely well-known and experienced interpreter, so they should be going in the right direction. Check out This market would be somewhat different from the West coast market. And of course, you would have the training to work at the conference interpreting level.

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answered 25 Feb '15, 16:47

JuliaP's gravatar image


Yes I should have remembered that one myself - apart from the person who set up the programme at UMD (really part of suburban Washington, DC - and so much more urban than Monterey!), there are 2 very good interpreters I know personally who are instructors on the course. Both have English and Chinese.

(25 Feb '15, 19:53) William White

Hello again! To answer your question (and bring in what I said under your other question), you should do your market research first. If you find out that the West coast of the US will give you ample opportunity to live off interpreting, then Monterey (or the Middlebury Institute of International Studies as it's now called - so still MIIS) is the place to go. It is known as a good program - I went when they had only started the Chinese program, and it has just grown since then, so they must be doing something right!

If you find that the UK would be a better bet for work, then choose a school there. Westminster no longer exists, but they were able to train excellent interpreters in just one year, assuming the student focuses, practices every waking minute, and really takes their fate into their own hands. Bath is a good program, and the new program at Manchester University also seems to be going well. I have no knowledge of the quality of the programs in the other schools.

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answered 18 Feb '15, 12:50

JuliaP's gravatar image



I agree with almost everything you said.

Westminster does offer a translation & interpreting degree. Nevertheless, it has nothing to do with the late Westminster programme in conference interpreting, which is the reason why many people don't know about the new course. It only offers simultaneous interpreting as an optional and quite short module, unlikely to be sufficient to become a conference interpreter.

(18 Feb '15, 13:11) Gaspar ♦♦

Thank you all. U.S. metros have always been on my wishlist(consider it as a big-city fetish for a small town kid.). That's why MIIS was once my preferred option. But money was really holding me back. From your description (as well as many others) it seems is the best for prospective students to choose schools in the city they wanna live in. So does that mean MIIS is the perfect fit for me now? If I do go to MIIS, I had to use student loan to cover about 80% of the total expense(about $88,000+). I wonder if I'd be able to pay off the bill within a short period of time(say 1-3 years) instead of being worn down by the debts? Does it really worth the trouble?

(19 Feb '15, 01:28) EliChang

If you want to be a conference interpreter, then you should have a degree. If you want simply to work as an interpreter, on the private market, for businesses, community interpreting, etc., you can probably get by without, and maybe after several years, you might acquire the polish and skills you would have graduated with. But you have to do your own research: what kind of a market you will have, how much money you will make, and loan terms you can expect to have. I'm sorry not to be of more help, but it does require homework!

(19 Feb '15, 06:26) JuliaP

Thank you for your guidance, I'll look into those.

(19 Feb '15, 09:12) EliChang

I should add a comment for the private market in the US, deposition interpreting is a pretty big thing in Chinese right now, and there's a shortage of qualified interpreters in that field. It's difficult to get a deposition approved in China, so the depositions are often conducted in the US or in Hong Kong. The pay range at the top of the market is completely outrageous, and in the past I'd been offered decently-paying deposition interpreting assignments out of the blue by big language staffing firms despite at the time never having interpreted before.

In terms of the market at least, the Chinese interpreters here have been talking: in New York, entry level offers start at $35 (hospitals etc.) , decent community interpreters tell me they are getting $50-60 an hour or so, and what seem like novice/intermediate deposition interpreters say they are getting $90-$110, and with plenty of assignments to keep them booked. It seems pretty common for people to get into that without having any experience whatsoever.

(23 Feb '15, 20:13) Adrian Lee D...

Just want to see what's the update on the OP's situation. Did you get into Monterey or did you go to the Maryland route? or some other options?

I am preparing for the advanced entry for MIIS and I found that their student body is a lot different from a typical U.S. university. Apparently, there were a lot of weed outs in the 2-year program in MIIS. I have looked into the possible second-year only option in Maryland, and apparently, they do not offer that. I have already taken the first year in CI somewhere else and been in the market for a few years, so I really would not want to go through the process again at this point.

What's your thoughts on MIIS? Especially as a 2-year program prospect, do you think it's worth the return?

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answered 01 Jun '19, 12:55

JenZ's gravatar image


Hi. I’m sorry but I’ve dropped MIIS at the end for various reasons. But if my information is correct, the weed-out takes place prior to the start of the second year. In fact, the entry test you will be taking is part of that process. If you pass that, you should be safe for the second year (but still you need to take the professional exam at the end of your study). That’s all I can offer. Maybe someone who's more familiar with the situation can address your concerns better.

(01 Jun '19, 13:03) EliChang
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question asked: 18 Feb '15, 01:38

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last updated: 01 Jun '19, 13:09 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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