Conference Interpreting: exceptional intercultural expertise
Students complete a full-time degree program over two academic years of two 13-week semesters each. Classes are taught by practicing conference interpreters and 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 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.
First year: building a solid foundation
- 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
- 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
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 also caters for all languages for which a demand exists and qualified instructors can be found.
In 2019-2020, the Conference Interpreting program offered Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Russian, 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, ABB, ABCC, ACCC or ACCCC, in which case English and French are still required but can be A, B or C languages.
ACC combinations, except in rare cases, are not accepted.
Let us help you build a rewarding career
At ISIT, we are committed to helping our Master’s in Conference Interpreting students develop a career vision that will open doors and secure rewarding jobs, a priority overseen by the school’s Careers Service.
We work with teachers, alumni, practicing conference interpreters and potential recruiters to:
- Inform students about potential paths into the world of work
- Provide an insight into the conference interpreting market (talks and meetings with working interpreters)
- Help students find internships (in companies and international organizations)
- Help students with their personal development, particularly stress management and exam preparation (sophrology workshops)
- Equip students with the information and tools they need to set up as freelance interpreters
- Encourage a considered and objective approach to work-related issues
- Provide graduates with individual guidance after they have completed their degree
A work placement is a requirement for all first-year Conference Interpreting students.
Main objectives: deepen your understanding of economic issues and increase your vocabulary through hands-on experience in a professional role other than interpreter.
- 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 Conference Interpreting students complete internships:
- dummy-boothing in a variety of international organizations such as the Council of Europe, the OECD, the EU and UNESCO). 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.
- as volunteer conference interpreters for charitable or humanitarian organizations (CCFD, Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort), or during large student events such as GIMUN (Geneva International Model United Nations) conferences.
This module aims to imbue students from all ISIT’s Master’s programs with entrepreneurial spirit and to guide and support the business creators of the future.
Supported by the European Parliament