What do you think are the essential skills and qualities one should have to excel in this interpreting program?
To get into the program, you need to have good memory and strong language skills. You need to be curious about the world around you and committed to a lifetime of learning. But to make it through the two years, it takes focus and hard work. It’s a training process, not unlike what musicians or athletes go through. At first it seems like you’re reaching for something that’s unattainable, and that can be frustrating. Luckily you’re not alone on your journey – you have instructors to help and guide you along the way, and you have your classmates, with whom you can not only practice, but also share experiences and work through challenges. When you finally start to feel like you’re making progress, it’s an incredible feeling, and it motivates you to work even harder!
What was your favourite part of the MCI experience?
In Year 1, it was my healthcare interpreting class – there was so much new knowledge to learn, and realizing that someone could lose their health or even their life if you make a mistake really kept me on my toes!
In Year 2 I really enjoyed the fact that we got to interpret real events Glendon hosted – conferences, panel discussions, keynote speeches. One of us would serve as a team coordinator: liaising with the event organizer, putting together a work schedule, and handing out receivers to the audience, so they could hear the interpreters. The rest of us would research the subject, prepare our glossaries, and do our best on the day of the event. It’s a precious learning experience – you’re on a live mic, you have a real audience depending on you to understand what’s going on, but you know your boothmates and instructors are there to give you a boost when you need it. It’s like having a small safety net that you don’t have outside of the university setting, and it really builds up your confidence.
What’s your take on the Russian-English interpreting market in Canada?
Interpreting as a profession is going through some significant changes – most interpreters now work as freelancers, so you have to hone your business skills as well as your interpreting skills to make a living. Learning how to recognize and take advantage of opportunities becomes one of the keys to your success. What’s great about Glendon MCI is the spirit of mutual respect and collegiality – you can always count on your instructors and classmates for advice and referrals, and that greatly expands your professional horizons. In my experience, with a Russian-English language combination, you can find work in Canada in conference, legal, healthcare and community settings. But you don’t have to limit yourself geographically – remote interpreting is steadily on the rise, for example, so you can end up working with a client overseas without leaving your home!