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What would your response be if you were to go back to your former school and if they asked you: "Is there anything that, with hindsight, would have been helpful in terms of the curriculum?"

No nagging intended but my suggestion would be:

  • Business matters (my guestimate is that 90% of us end up working as freelancers requiring skills such as self-management, business negotiations and even rather pedestrian stuff like, for instance, filing systems or tax returns)
  • Teamwork/booth dynamics

asked 04 Apr '12, 22:13

Tanja's gravatar image


edited 04 Apr '12, 23:47

Delete's gravatar image

Delete ♦

More guidance on how to practise.

Since 80% of our work was, and most students work still is, done outside of class time and without teacher supervision I think teaching students to do the following would be really useful...

  • organise their practice time efficiently (group numbers, language combinations, feedback time as a proportion of practise time)
  • assess each other's performance (perhaps including evaluation tables to guide self-assessment in the early stages of the course) but also learning not to comment on everything each time. Selective feedback (the useful stuff only! Like technique related comments)
  • give feedback constructively (in hindsight we often gave very unhelpful feedback to one another, but that wasn't our fault, noone tells students how to give good feedback)
  • giving students ideas about what practice, other than actual interpreting, might be useful to solve the problems discovered during practice sessions. Isolating skills and practising them in isolation.
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answered 05 Apr '12, 02:40

Andy's gravatar image


edited 05 Apr '12, 04:02

I agree with what Andy has said. I'd also add to my wish list the following:

  • Proper voice training
  • Breathing techniques
  • Advice regarding language combinations and markets, both private and institutional.
  • The reality of the market as a beginner and the real difficulties that you may encounter
  • Marketing : how to get in touch with a potential recruiter, how to present your services, how to bill as a Conference Interpreter

I would have been very grateful as a beginner if before graduating someone had provided me with an invoice template that looked professional...

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answered 05 Apr '12, 13:15

Marta%20Piera%20Marin's gravatar image

Marta Piera ...

edited 05 Apr '12, 13:18

I agree with all the above.

And would add seemingly minor details like taking warm layered clothing to conferences, plus chocolate bars. Encouragement that it is not always so exhausting as it seems at the beginning. Input on how to launch yourself onto a particular market (and what NOT to do!) Encouragement to join aiic, which is now much more practical and helpful than in the dark ages when I joined.

Best piece of advice I ever got was to prepare the end of a speech first if you're short of time, as by the end you'll be flagging and maybe running out of time, important to leave a positive impression.

My best piece of advice is to make sure you are well-rested and relaxed when you get to a conference i.e. sometimes it is better not to do too much last-minute acronym-swotting, always better to get there much too early and do remember extra chocolate and bananas to keep yourself going.

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answered 05 Apr '12, 15:13

Helen_Berlin's gravatar image


I wish we had been taught more about how to prepare for an assignment. My teachers mostly focused on terminology and the speech at hand, and said virtually nothing about how to research a topic, build context, etc. I've noticed how the way I prepare for meetings has evolved over time, and I think the lessons learnt can be shared with students.

Of course it would have been helpful to also hear that any time spent preparing is, in effect, time spent working and should be regarded as such.

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answered 05 Apr '12, 13:15

Luigi's gravatar image


Tout à fait d'accord avec les différents points ci-dessus. Je me souviens d'ailleurs qu'un an après ma sortie de l'Ecole, l'ESIT avait fait une enquête sur l'insertion professionnelle de ses diplômés et nous avait demandé nos commentaires. Je me souviens parfaitement de mon observation (déjà!): "vous nous avez donné un excellent produit, mais vous ne nous avez pas appris à le vendre"...

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answered 09 Apr '12, 08:31

Danielle's gravatar image


Apart from all the valuable points raised before, it would be helpful to raise the students' and graduates' awareness with respect to taking interpreting seriously enough to consider it not just a nice pastime but a true carreer with which you must be able to make a living - possibly feeding a whole family with your income. Thus attention must be drawn to the fact that right from the very beginning interpreters - especially freelancers - should make provisions for older age.

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answered 05 May '12, 21:50

AlmuteL's gravatar image


edited 05 May '12, 21:51

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question asked: 04 Apr '12, 22:13

question was seen: 14,261 times

last updated: 05 May '12, 21:51 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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