19 March 2020

My UEA Story: Vincent

Languages and Communication Studies Alumni

Job Title: Conference interpreter
Employer: European Parliament
Location: Brussels, Belgium

Please explain how your career has developed since graduating.

After completing my two-year MA in conference interpreting in ESIT, Paris, I started to work for a variety of clients as a freelance based first in Brussels and then in Paris. Five years later, I joined the European Parliament as a staff member.


What is the most rewarding aspect of your current role?

My job is exactly what I had set out to become. That is already a rewarding achievement in itself but, more importantly, it still is a joy: I am incredibly thrilled to be able to simultaneously interpret speeches read out at full speed.


What steps did you take in finding employment (e.g. careers centre, job websites, networking events)?

Like any trained interpreter willing to work for EU institutions, I had to sit interpreting freelance tests and later open staff competitions to become a staff member.


What are the key skills you learnt at UEA?

Learning a language the way it is really spoken/written, ie not the theoretical learning I'd had before.


How have they made a difference in your career?

Languages are my livelihood. If I'm not up to speed on how they are spoken in real life as opposed to textbooks, I just can't do my job. In other words, the skill I learned hasn't just made a difference, it has been and continues to be vital.


What piece of advice do you wish you'd received before you graduated?

Start learning a new language as soon as possible. Improving your foreign languages is crucial but having a flawless and accurate mother tongue is paramount.


Do you have any tips for current students or recent graduates?

Conference interpreting is demanding but go for it if you're motivated. There is a persistent shortage of interpreters with English as their mother tongue.


If you use languages in your job, how do you use them and what do you use them for?

Consecutive and simultaneous interpreting from one language into another.


What is the professional and personal value you place on being able to speak a language other than English?

I use languages every day and I can't possibly begin to imagine not doing so. They bring balance by enabling you to hear different sides of the same story.


Can you provide a short description of an incident from your time at UEA, your year abroad or your professional life which stands out (language related or not)?

I was having a beer with a lecturer of mine in town and we bumped into another lecturer with another student. This may sound insignificant but it illustrates my time at UEA: having brilliant lecturers who turned out to be also brilliant people.

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School of Politics, Philosophy,
Language & Communication Studies