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Interpreting in Ireland

Oscailt an Chúrsa


Since Irish became an official EU language in 2007, there are more chances than ever for Irish people to pick up highly paid work as interpreters. But first, you have to get the right qualifications - in this case a specific postgraduate qualification in Conference Interpreting is essential. Up until 2008 there was nowhere in Ireland where people could avail of such training, but that changed thankfully with the launch of our post-graduate course here at NUI Galway.

Ireland has clearly been a good source of linguists for the EU's language services thus far: there are currently 8 Irish nationals in DG Interpretation's English unit (out of a total of 70) and three interpreters from Northern Ireland. In addition, at least 20 of the freelances interpreting staff are of Irish origin. The opportunities for interpreting graduates are particularly good at present in view of the world-wide shortage of English mother-tongue conference interpreters and given the projected demand for English and Irish language interpreters the course offers exciting new career possibilities to Irish graduates.

Students can apply to obtain their qualification with just one language in addition to their mother tongue, however in the multilingual EU environment with its 23 official languages- the more languages you can offer the more opportunities available to you in terms of employment. Consequently, in order to offer our students as many options as possible, they can choose from a menu that includes French, Spanish and German in addition to Irish and English. How far you get in your career depends on how willing you are to learn more languages but it's worth remembering that once you have the learned the skills of interpreting, it's easy to add to your language profile afterwards. for that reason students can apply with a combination of any two of the five languages we offer.

In order to teach conference interpreting I myself must maintain the skills I've learned and I continue to work as a freelance interpreter. As a language student I was always on the lookout for something dynamic but had never considered interpreting. Until 2007 Irish really wasn't a viable langauge option for interpreting, however since it became an official language things have changed. Interpreting is incredibly rewarding and dynamic - you're never in the same meeting twice and if you're at all interested in international politics then you're right there with the decision makers!

Anyone interested in learning more about the career and course can contact me at

Applications can be made through, course code GYA85.

Is mise le meas,

Susan Folan,