In June 2019, Master’s degree students of the Caspian Higher School of Interpreting and Translation together with students from INALCO (the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations which is a longstanding partner of our university) paid an eventful study visit to the Directorate-General for Interpretation and Directorate-General for Translation of the European Commission, as well as the Directorate-General for Logistics and Interpretation for Conferences of the European Parliament.
Each year, the EU institutions, which the Caspian School maintains close ties and develops cooperation with, provide our students with an excellent opportunity to get first-hand information on the principles of EU language experts’ work and to enhance their own skills of interpreting and translation.
The study visit started with the Directorate-General for Interpretation of the European Commission: DG SCIC experts told the students about the Directorate-General itself, the specificity of interpreters’ work in this institution and about the interpretation at the European Court of Justice. Besides, the students got an opportunity to practise interpretation in “dummy” booths at EC public meetings. The students’ dummy-booth performance was assessed by DG SCIC interpreters Michael Somers and Liam Long, who are well known to our students thanks to their participation in regular VCs with the Caspian School and interpretation master-classes, held by them at our School. The experts commended the students’ simultaneous interpretation and provided a detailed feedback and practical recommendations on improvement of their skills.
The next institution on the study visit programme was the Directorate-General for Logistics and Interpretation for Conferences of the European Parliament, where the students were shown several presentations on the principles of the European Parliament work, on some niceties of interpretation at EP meetings and on employment opportunities. Besides, the students paid a general visit to the main meeting rooms of the European Parliament and learnt about EP interpreters’ daily duties and organization of meetings at this European institution. They also came across some famous politicians there – for example, they saw Marine Le Pen, who that time was in Brussels on a working visit.
The programme also included a visit to the Directorate-General for Translation of the European Commission: there the students leant about the main translation tools used by DGT experts, about translation management and the principles of DGT work organization.
A study visit to the above EU institutions provides our students with a unique opportunity to become a part of the world of professional interpreters and translators, to gain invaluable experience and knowledge from their prospective colleagues and to take another step toward a successful T& I career.