Conference Interpreting: exceptional intercultural expertise

In the increasingly global context of contemporary politics and world economics, there is a need for multilingual communication like never before. The Conference Interpreting program at ISIT responds to this demand with its internationally recognized curriculum, its diverse student body and teaching staff.

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Students complete a full-time degree program over two academic years of two 13-week semesters each. Classes, delivered by practicing conference interpreters, are held during the day, in the evening and on Saturdays. Deliberate practice, in other words, intensive small-group training in all interpretation techniques, is a fundamental part of the program that takes place in addition to classes and homework.

In 2014, the Conference Interpreting program at ISIT joined the European Masters in Conference Interpreting (EMCI) consortium, an elite group of universities offering accredited masters degrees in conference interpreting.

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First year: building a solid foundation

Learning objectives 

  • Learn consecutive interpretation and sight translation techniques
  • Deepen your understanding of contemporary economic issues
  • Define your career vision

Second year: prepare for the job market  

Learning objectives

  • Deepen your mastery of consecutive interpretation and sight translation techniques
  • Learn simultaneous interpretation techniques
  • Deepen your understanding of legal issues
  • Become a multilingual, intercultural expert working for international organizations, government departments and global companies

Download the 2016/2017 Conference Interpreting curriculum (in French)

A multilingual foundation  

Each conference interpreter works with a unique language combination. This combination of working languages is composed of:

  • A Language = native language (or another language strictly equivalent to a native language)
  • B Language(s) = second active language(s)
  • C Language(s) = passive language(s)

Native language or A language: The language into which the interpreter works from all his or her other languages, in both simultaneous and consecutive modes. 

Active language or B language: A language other than the interpreter’s native language, of which he or she has a perfect command and into which he or she works from his or her A language.

Passive language or C language: A language of which the interpreter has a complete understanding and from which he or she works into his or her A language.

At ISIT, English and French are required in any language combination.

ISIT’s language selection also includes Arabic, Chinese, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. We accommodate all languages for which a demand exists and qualified instructors can be found.

In 2016-2017, the Conference Interpreting program offered Arabic, Chinese, Dutch,  English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovak, and Spanish.
 

Accepted language combinations

  • AA for English and French exclusively,
  • AB for English and French exclusively, provided that the candidate’s level in his/her B language is nearly equivalent to that of his or A language,
  • ABC, ABBC, ACCC or any other richer combination; in this case, English and French, still required, can be A, B or C languages.

The combinations ACC, except in rare cases, are not accepted.

Let us help you build a rewarding career

At ISIT, we are committed to helping our Master in Conference Interpreting students develop a career vision that will open doors and secure rewarding jobs.

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2016 Conference Interpreting graduates and ISIT staff members who led them during their studies.

 

First-year internships 

A work placement is a requirement for all first-year Conference Interpreting students.

Objectives: deepen your understanding of economic issues and increase your vocabulary through hands-on experience in a professional role other than interpreter.

Internship details

  • Length: 2 to 3 months
  • Period: between the end of May and the end of September
  • Placement: global companies and NGOs
  • Main roles: marketing, communications (including press relations and corporate communications), human resources, purchasing, finance, lobbying
  • Location: in France for students with French as B or C language, or abroad for French A students

Finding an internship is an integral part of an ISIT education, and one that we expect students to do themselves. However, ISIT supports them through seminars, interview simulations and workshops to help define and highlight professional skills, and keeps them informed of internships offered by corporate partners.

Second-year internship 

Second-year Conference Interpreting students complete internships: 

  • in a variety of international organizations such as European Council, the OECD, the EU, or UNESCO where they practice in dummy booth. A dummy booth is a real interpreting booth in a meeting room in which student interpreters may sit and listen to the meeting, or practice their interpreting in a realistic environment.
  • for charitable (CCFD) or humanitarian organizations (Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort), or during large student events such as GIMUN (Geneva International Model United Nations) conferences, as volunteer conference interpreters.

Since 1990, ISIT students have participated in the Winter and Summer Olympic Games as interpreters and translators.

Learn more about being a professional interpreter: Watch the United Nations’ video “Interpreters at work at UNOG

Read what ISIT graduates have to say

Apply now

Contact: Christel Reille- Student Admissions Manager

Supported by the European Parliament