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HELLO - I am an ENG/FR bidirectional Translator planning to take an MA in Conference Interpretation next year, adding Spanish "poco a poco". I am interested in getting feedback from UK and Irish University alumni as well as any thoughts, suggestions, and advice from experienced professionals as to openings on the job market, especially in UN headquarter cities. Thanks for your time and help.

asked 29 Mar '16, 10:39

teeces's gravatar image


Thank-you both for your prompt and detailed responses which are indeed very helpful!

(29 Mar '16, 17:37) teeces


Well done on doing some market research ahead of time - not something everyone thinks of doing!

As to the general question, FR<>EN is a good language combination in conference interpreting - it allows you to work both on the private market, and for some international organizations.

Your largest market with just FR<>EN would probably be Paris, which hosts UNESCO. Many of their meetings are only FR<>EN, and they also have a schedule of meetings with various combinations of languages from the UN family. I've seen on the schedule meetings in only EN-FR-ES, EN-FR-RU, EN<>RU, and many more, depending on what agreement or treaty is being discussed. Moreover, Paris also includes the OECD, the Council of Europe, and the majority of interpreting days in France, on a large private market.

In Brussels there is a smaller private market, and there are a couple of smaller organizations that use FR<>EN, and NATO (not a small organization at all!) seems to be constantly recruiting both staff and freelance interpreters.

FR<>EN is also a good language combination for other places. For example, in Washington DC you have the World Bank, the IMF, and the US Dept of State, which all require this combination. If you add Spanish, then the IADB, PAHO, and the OAS may also be open to you. There are very few interpreters in the US that have a passive language other than in NY, where the UN is, so while the market is small, these organizations do need interpreters.

The Canadian government is also looking for interpreters, and there is a large FR<>EN market there, as well as a private market in the province of Quebec, and the ICAO in Montreal.

If you are going for a FR<>EN combination, and you are not truly bilingual at a very high level, it will be difficult to get any work, as this is also a popular combination and you will have a lot of competition. Moreover, in whichever city you choose, all the organizations that I mentioned above will require an extremely high level of both EN and FR, no matter which one is your native language.

FR/EN/ES is also a useful combination, but again, one that many people have, which means you will have to stand out from the crowd if moving to a UN city to work. They are inundated with young interpreters with this combination, so you will have to be very good, not only at interpreting but also at marketing yourself. Your prior experience may come in handy there.

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answered 29 Mar '16, 11:55

JuliaP's gravatar image


edited 29 Mar '16, 13:40

Comme le dit Julia, EN<>FR est une bonne combinaison. Encore faut-il réussir à acquérir le niveau d'exigence requis pour pouvoir prétendre à sa part du gâteau.

I am interested in getting feedback from UK and Irish University alumni as well as any thoughts, suggestions

Les cours offerts au Royaume-Uni et en Irlande souffrent de plusieurs faiblesses.

  • La formation ne dure qu'un an, alors qu'elle en dure généralement deux dans les écoles réputées pour arriver à produire des diplômés qui, in fine, deviendront aussi des collègues.

  • Avec un grand nombre de formations dans ces deux pays, qui ne sont pas implantés dans des villes où vivent et travaillent de nombreux interprètes, se pose la question : qui enseigne ? Sont-ce des gens qui sont accrédités et qui ont travaillé sur les marchés auxquels prédestine (supposément) la formation offerte ? Dans la négative, à qui peut-on s'attendre en termes de qualité de l'enseignement ?

  • Les formations panachent souvent traduction et interprétation, si la promotion est grande, ça réduit d'autant plus l'attention individuelle que peut porter un enseignant sur chaque apprenant. Jack of all trades, master of none.

La cabine anglaise d'une entité internationale se faisait récemment la réflexion que parmi ses derniers accrédités, il y avait proportionnellement peu de gens qui étaient issus des écoles du Royaume-Uni et d'Irlande. Ca confirme mon expérience empirique. Sans chercher à savoir si c'est une question de meilleure sélection ou de meilleur enseignement, le fait est que les gens qui sortent d'une école parisienne avec cette combinaison sont considérablement plus solides que leurs pairs des universités britanniques et irlandaise. Et ce semblent aussi être les éléments parisiens qui sont proportionnellement sur-représentés par la suite aux divers tests d'entrée.

Le meilleures pratiques de l'enseignement ont été résumées ici:, autant de questions à se poser et à poser à l'école à laquelle on se prédestine. Et quelques autres.

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answered 29 Mar '16, 13:34

G%C3%A1sp%C3%A1r's gravatar image

Gáspár ♦

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question asked: 29 Mar '16, 10:39

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