Saturday, October 31, 2009
This is the third post on the subject here - the second can be seen here, and includes a video in French making an appeal for people to become interpreters. An article in French here came out today with some more detail on the job and the process. Some information from there:
- At the moment, the Commission and Parliament make use of 998 permanent and 2000 independent interpreters.
- The Commission has a budget of 128 million for translation, which makes up 11,000 meetings throughout the year where interpreters are present. That would probably be about 40-50 meetings or so on weekdays.
- An extra 1000 interpreters will be needed over the next 10 years, of which 200 will be for French.
- "4500 euros at the start of one's carrier" - I assume this is the monthly pay. Not bad at all - that's $6600 US or $80,000 per year. The salary then goes up to 10,000 euros for an experienced interpreter, which is $14,805 USD or $177,660 per year.
- The Commission has found a decrease in interest in other languages due to English being predominant, but nevertheless the interpreters are still needed. This is a point I often make: often when the number of people learning Language X in a country goes down, Language X then actually becomes more valuable as a tool for advancing one's career. Spanish has recently become more popular than German in the United Kingdom among students for example, but Germany and Austria and the rest haven't gone anywhere.
- With 23 official languages there are 500 possibilities for interpretation, which often results in double interpretation since Maltese-Estonian interpreters just aren't that plentiful. Slovak for example may be interpreted into French by the Slovak-French interpreter which is then turned into Maltese by the French-Maltese interpreter. The downside to this is a slight loss of accuracy, though two isn't all that bad.
- The competition to become an interpreter is still quite difficult, and only 30% pass. No information on exactly what this competition means in practice. Due to the difficulties in finding interpreters though many wonder if the salary needs to be increased. They certainly won't be considering a lowering of standards as another way to find interpreters, so the best way to find them is to simply do what they are doing now: show just how many are needed, how much money can be made, etc. Interpreting isn't a career path that many consider early on in life.