The Masters in Conference Interpreting at the Universidad de La Laguna is an intensive course lasting one academic year (Sept – June) which is awarded 60 ECTS credits according to the European Credit Transfer System.
Language combinations vary each year according to the profiles of the students accepted on the course, however all applicants must have an excellent command of Spanish and English and a good understanding of at least one other language. Spanish booth is offered every year. To offer other booths, at least 4 applicants wanting to work into the same A language must pass our entrance exams.
The main aim of the course is to enable students to develop professional expertise within the field of conference interpreting by acquiring the core skills outlined below:
- Professional, linguistic and cultural knowledge to solve communication problems within the broader, multi-disciplinary contexts of conference interpreting.
- Communicate the speaker’s message and the knowledge and reasons on which it is based to specialist and non-specialist audiences, clearly, without ambiguities, respecting the accuracy, completeness, and confidentiality required by the interpreters’ code of practice.
- Peer review and self-assessment skills needed to continue mainly self-directed, autonomous study ensuring future professional development once the course has concluded.
|Consecutive interpreting I
|Consecutive interpreting II
|Simultaneous interpreting I
|Simultaneous interpreting II
|Interpreting techniques||Compulsory||5||Class instruction
|European institutions and Other International Organizations
|Professional contexts and interpreting resources
The masters programme includes theoretical content that deals with elements such as voice coaching, oratory, preparing meetings, terminology, the use of online tools, professional ethics, conference and congress proceedings, business practices and working conditions, to help students become familiar with the profession as a whole.
The course syllabus includes a module on the European Institutions, which teaches students how these institutions and other international organizations operate, and on Economics, which teaches students about the basic concepts that form part of a conference interpreter’s day-to-day activities.
Theoretical sessions covering the different modes of interpreting are delivered to provide students with an understanding of the theoretical models that explain the cognitive processes and techniques needed when working in different modes. This theoretical content forms the basis of the feedback offered by teaching staff regarding student performance. Furthermore, students receive theoretical seminars that cover more specific questions, such as the history of interpreting, the code of ethics for conference interpreting, etc.
The course is eminently practical in its nature and aimed at acquired the competencies needed by those working as professional conference interpreters. In other words, it is geared towards creating professionals capable of offering fluent, efficient and accurate interpretations that are faithful to the original and precise in terms of terminology and register. Given this practical focus, 80% of the classes are dedicated to interpreting practice. Students practice both consecutive technique (including exercises covering content analysis, memory, summary, and note taking) and simultaneous technique (with and without text).
The course follows a thematic calendar. Each week students practice speeches prepared by our native speakers that deal with the week’s theme. This ensures our students practice a wide range of topics, as well as distinct styles and different types of speeches during the academic year.
Classes are taught in the mornings from 09:00 – 14.00.
Most classes are taught by two teachers, the first being a native speaker who delivers speeches on the weekly topic, and the second being a trained conference interpreter who assesses students’ interpreting technique. There are no more than 10 students in each class. This teacher/student ratio guarantees personalised attention for each student and optimal use of class time. It also allows us to closely follow the progress being made by each student.
Afternoon Practical Sessions
Practical sessions are run in the afternoons
In addition to the current syllabus structure and in accordance with recommendations set down by the European Masters in Conference Interpreting (EMCI), a minimum of three weekly, practical afternoon sessions are arranged in order for the students to meet in work groups organised by the MIC. These practical sessions are periodically supervised by teaching staff and the Academic Coordinator to ensure optimal use.
Each year students are given the opportunity to participate in a week-long organised visit to the European institutions (European Parliament, European Court of Justice, European Commission). Students attend a series of talks on the European Court of Justice, the general functioning of the DG SCIC and the Speech Repository. They meet their corresponding heads of booth, and participate in real meetings, practising “dummy booth” under the observation of several DG Interpretation staff interpreters who listen to their performance and offer feedback. This offers a wonderful opportunity to explore the typical work settings of conference interpreters, witness the professionals in action, and gain useful practice in the dummy booth. Study visits are optional and are paid for by students who choose to participate.
The MIC is aware of the importance of academic cooperation and has therefore established links with the European Parliament, the DG SCIC, and other universities in order to offer our students consecutive and simultaneous interpreting practice with different speakers and experienced trainers. We collaborate closely with EMCI consortium members, schools that have applied to join the consortium, and also interpreting schools of international prestige in North America and Canada.
Each academic course students participate in a simulated conference aimed at reproducing all the conditions faced when working professionally, starting with initial contact with a client right through to invoicing. Students must then complete a Masters dissertation that analyses their professional skills and general competencies and interactions with the client before, during and after the congress.
Students sit mock exams in both consecutive and simultaneous techniques to prepare them for the final exams in June and to gauge their progress. The mock exams for consecutive interpreting take place in February, and the mock exams for simultaneous interpreting take place in April. In both sets of mock exams, students are assessed by a board of external examiners comprised of professionally accredited conference interpreters. These mocks are a true reflection of final exam conditions, however the marks obtained merely serve to orientate students regarding their progress and are not reflected in their final grades.
Final exams are held the first week of June. Once again, to ensure objectivity, an external examining board composed of accredited conference interpreters of recognised professional prestige assesses students.
The MIC follows a series of assessment criteria that is provided to students as soon as the course commences. Examiners are provided with these criteria at least two weeks before examinations begin. The level demanded in our final exams is similar to that demanded in the European institutions’ accreditation exams.
To obtain an overall pass, students must be awarded a pass in both consecutive and simultaneous techniques in at least twolanguage combinations , e.g. A student with Spanish (A) and English and French (C) must obtain a pass in the following exams: consecutive interpreting English > Spanish and consecutive interpreting French > Spanish /simultaneous interpreting English > Spanish and simultaneous interpreting English > Spanish , and they must also be awarded a pass for the rest of the subjects in the course syllubus (Interpretation techniques, Masters dissertation, Economy, European Institutions and Professional Contexts).
Note: Due to the demanding workload, which requires students to participate in the Masters both in the mornings and in the afternoons, we advise against undertaking any other academic or professional activities during the course.