Hi again, ii community!
edit:My language combination: Chinese A, English B
It's almost impossible to give you an answer. I know two recent graduates, from the same year, from the same school, with the same language combination. One of them gets work on a regular basis, the other one didn't get a single contract in a year.
While without a good language combination and the right home base you're unlikely to be ever hired, there are a few more elements that will make you sink, swim or be anywhere in between these two. The list is long, but the main one's would be:
Unfortunately, many of these elements aren't taught in interpreting schools, which would focus on the conference interpreting techniques, but not much on the business aspects of what being a freelancer entails and how to get started.
If you don't rely only on your school, if you do your homework and read a thing or two on the subject of marketing / freelancing, your chances of making it into the market will be increased. You should make sure that you will become the professional any client (or colleague) would like to hire, because the package you offer looks appealing, not only your sim or consecutive technique.
And despite all you efforts, it will take some time, maybe a year or two, or even more, before you'll get hired on a regular basis. It takes some time to get you name out there, to get to know people and get known.
Being a freelancer is scary. Being a newcomer is scary. Meeting people who have been in your shoes only a few years ago is difficult. There isn't much you can change about it. You'll never have certainty, the only thing you can do is to give it the best shot you can. And remember: Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.
I usually don't post answers since I'm not a qualified CI, but in this case I am an American with some finance/law background and can speak to the student loan issue.
Eli, if you are taking out US student loans, you could also take a look at the student loan repayment regime, which you can see here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand/plans/income-driven
The system is unreasonably complicated and there are many hidden rules and regulations, but to make a long story short, there are unemployment deferments and other types of deferments available. Additionally, the federal loan repayments are pegged to your discretionary income. The capped amount is I recall 10% of discretionary income, which is less than total income, and the entire amount discharges after 25 years. There is an AIIC study online which I recall says AIIC interpreters in America in 2012 made 78,000 EUR per year (and less in Asia). There is a loan repayment calculator here you can look at: http://www.finaid.org/calculators/ibr10.phtml - my guess is that if you were to borrow $100,000 to go to school, the worst case scenario is you would simply be paying 10% of your discretionary income for loans for 20-25 years before the loan is forgiven. You also get a tax break on the student interest paid, which can bring the whole total down to something like 5-6% of your income per year if you don't have a high income ($80,000+). The whole system is byzantine and extremely complicated, and deserving of research. It's also political since most of the middle class has loans. In theory, once it discharges, you own tax on the discharged amount, but in 20 years from now that might be waived by Congress. Even if you were to come out making just $40,000 a year every year for the rest of your career, your payments would be capped and would also be tax-deductible.
answered 24 Jul '15, 09:35
Adrian Lee D...