Routes into Languages – careers event at Bath

I had a very enjoyable afternoon back at Bath last week, speaking to students about linguist career opportunities. I took part in a panel discussion about careers in translation and interpreting, along with 2 UN linguists, one European Parliament interpreter and one other freelance translator – all of us alumni of Bath’s excellent MA in Translation and Interpreting.

I was inspired by the workshop for MA Russian interpreting students focusing on on-sight translation and a taster of getting into the booth to interpret, simultaneously, a UN speech (Sergei Lavrov). For almost complete beginners, the students were amazing! I hadn’t looked a speech like that for a long time, but had a warm, nostalgic feeling of recognition and of far-off memories of a time that still feels like yesterday. I loved the MA course and enjoyed the (mostly extremely humbling) challenge of learning to interpret.

The crazy thought of trying to get back into it did cross my mind, even before the UN interpreter asked if I had thought of taking the open interpreting competition to join the English booth, which is in desperate need of more interpreters from Russian. I do occasionally wonder whether I wouldn’t like to get back into it, but then I remind myself of just how tough it is, how all-consuming it would be and then I remember that I completely love the wonderful variety of work I have at the moment, with the translation, teaching and literature… and the freedom of being a freelancer. A career in an international institution has its benefits (pay & job security – for the time being, anyway), but I don’t think it’s for me.