Ina KangConference Interpreting
What did you do before ISIT?
After a preparatory class in literature, I studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon, where I got a Master’s degree in Anglophone studies and qualified as an English teacher, with a specialization in linguistics. I then taught in middle and high school, and became a freelance translator. During my studies, I was lucky enough to spend a year studying in Chicago, another year in Constance and six months in Cologne, Germany.
Why did you want to be an interpreter?
I come from a multilingual family and, since I was a child, I’ve always come across different languages and cultures. During my English language studies, I had felt the need to use my languages as a means of communication, and to develop very specific and tangible abilities. The interpreter is both essential and invisible in the communication process. The better they are, the more we’re likely to forget we’re actually listening to an interpreter! I’ve always loved this paradox of excellence and discretion. Above all, the infinite variety of topics covered, the need to learn and improve constantly, and the adrenaline of “live” work are excellent antidotes to routine and boredom!
Why did you choose ISIT?
Being an ISIT graduate is an asset on your CV.
- At ISIT, I was able to benefit from the teaching and advice of teachers who were professional interpreters and were happy to share their experience with us.
- Throughout my training, I had the opportunity to do volunteer work (NGOs, literature events, media) and dummy booth internships (EU, OECD, Council of Europe) which allowed me to dive into the labor market and put into practice what I had learned at ISIT.
- Finally, the great solidarity we had within our class was a considerable asset. Interpretation creates bonds and, at ISIT, I met extraordinary friends and working partners and received invaluable support in difficult times.
With my language combination (French A, English B, German C), I work mainly on the private and institutional market in Paris, where French and English are in high demand. Therefore, my clients vary a lot: international organizations (OECD, Council of Europe and UNESCO), the media (TV, radio), the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and private clients (companies in the energy sector, cultural events or scientific conferences).
- This job allows you to be at the heart of the news at all times. Two examples come to mind: I interpreted at COP21; I also went to visit refugee camps in Greece with a delegation after the EU-Turkey agreement.
- In order to work more with German, I am also planning on taking the accreditation tests for the European institutions.
Do you have any advice for candidates/students?
- Be professional, starting with the entry exam. Conference interpreting students are not average students; your teachers will become your future colleagues. It is very important to show maturity and seriousness as soon as you get into the school, in your work of course, but also in your relationships with others and your attitude (punctuality, etc.).
- Be curious. You could potentially interpret in all fields: politics, economics, medicine, culture, finance, sports, etc. No subject is uninteresting as long as you take the time to dig a little deeper. You should see this learning process as a personal game or challenge.
- Accept criticism… but also trust yourself. Find the sweet spot. When interpreting, you really put yourself under the microscope and reveal your personality (voice, diction, way of communicating), even though you only are serving as someone else’s voice. Therefore, you shouldn’t take criticism from teachers personally, as it only relates to one performance. And always remember and emphasize your strengths, which will allow you to move forward.
- Work hard! Interpreting is an elite sport: excellence and rigour in training and performance are essential. You need to train daily in order to build and consolidate your technique, to have a healthy lifestyle in order to be in shape and focused in the cabin. It requires a few small sacrifices, but the good news is that your classmates will have the same lifestyle as you do, and it’s a job you do because you love it, so you’ll make these small adjustments very naturally.