What it takes
Linguistic ability alone is not enough to make a conference interpreter. Have you got what it takes?
Concentration, speed of thought, mental dexterity as well as a broad general knowledge are all of the essence, coupled with the ability to keep calm when it gets stressful, which it often does!
The skills of the conference interpreter
Besides an in-depth knowledge of their working languages and an innate understanding of the cultures related to them, an excellent command of their native tongue is also a must for the conference interpreter. The skill set required to become a successful interpreter does not stop at linguistic ability alone, however. It takes much more:
- The ability to listen and concentrate
- A good memory
- Mental dexterity
- Speed of thought
- A broad general knowledge
- Analytical skills
- A pleasant voice
- The ability to keep cool under pressure
- The poise required to perform before a large audience
- Respect for professional confidentiality.
A touch of the wanderlust might also be an added bonus, since interpreters spend so much of their working lives away from home.
Since an interpreter is only ever as good as their preparation, however, even with all of these boxes ticked, only rigorous study and dedicated application will allow you to really deliver!