Monday, 29 July 2013

What's WISE about?

Welcome to the Workshop for Interpreting Skills Exchange (WISE), the first editions of which were held in July 2013 at the Universidad Europea de Valencia (UEV) and London Metropolitan University.

The idea behind WISE took shape when a group of professional conference interpreters began looking for universities to practice simultaneous and consecutive skills over the summer. Given the overwhelming response from professionals and educational institutions, we decided to further develop this idea. This culminated in the first two editions of WISE, with EN, ES and FR booths on offer in London, and EN, ES, FR, DE and IT booths catered for in Valencia in July 2013. Retour was also a key component of the practice sessions and a number of distinguished guest speakers volunteered their time to speak at the event.

- What's the idea behind WISE?

The seminar operates on a mutually beneficial basis, relying upon the goodwill of those taking part. This means that as a participant, you will interpret the speeches of other colleagues while also receiving feedback from them. In return, you will give constructive feedback and helpful advice to others, as well as speeches in your native language or a strong active language.

- Will there be booths?

The London Metropolitan University and the Universidad Europea de Valencia provide rooms which are fully equipped with professional standard simultaneous interpreting booths to which WISE participants will have exclusive access.

- How much will it cost?

WISE is based on the goodwill of the interpreters taking part, meaning that nobody will be paid to give speeches or feedback. A small fee is charged for administrative costs.

- What about accommodation, food and travel?

Participants arrange their own stay, including accommodation, meals and travel. Any participants coming from abroad arrange their own travel to the city.

- What is an average day on the WISE practice seminar like?

Groups are put together based on the number of participants, their languages and the rooms available. Participants take turns giving speeches, feedback and interpreting in both consecutive and simultaneous.

- Will WISE help me prepare for accreditation tests at institutions like the EU and the UN?

WISE sessions broadly mimic a lesson format and style common to many MA courses. Naturally, this will mean that the content and focus of the sessions will be well-suited to preparing oneself for an institutional test. Nevertheless, given that the content of the sessions is mainly to be determined by the participants themselves, the interpreters taking part will be able to tailor the seminar to the overall needs of the group. Specific sessions on certain topics or for certain institutional tests may be organised depending on demand and on the will of the majority of participants.

- How will WISE be useful to me if I plan to work solely on the private market?

The skills developed at WISE are equally applicable to interpreting both at large institutions and on the private market, with each participant prioritising their own professional needs. For those who intend to work solely on the private market, WISE may represent a good opportunity to work on one's retour or B language, a prized asset in non-institutional settings. 

For interpreters aiming to work on an English retour, both WISE Valencia and WISE London include retour sessions where interpreters receive feedback from a number of English native interpreters, an option which could be particularly appealing.

- How will WISE help me to progress in my career?

Although WISE vaguely models its session format on what might be found on an MA course, it is not a recognised qualification in any way and has no official links with the EMCI, EU or other institutions. Sessions will be led to a large degree by WISE participants themselves, meaning that the organisers can make no explicit claims about the quality of teaching. Participants should see WISE as an opportunity to practice, not as a professional leg up or as a means of gaining a qualification. 

WISE is a practice seminar, not a training course for a specific professional purpose. 

Furthermore, certificates will not be issued since the spirit of the seminar is to practise with other interpreters on a mutually beneficial basis as opposed to laying claim to being a professional springboard.

For more information:


  1. A friend was part of WISE Valencia (three friends actually) and told me it was an amazing experience. Are you planning on a new "edition" soon?
    I would love to participate.

  2. Hola, Aida:

    Sí, queremos organizar otra edición en un futuro. Si estás interesada, puedes escribirnos a con tus datos para tener tu dirección en nuestra lista de correo y mantenerte informada. Saludos.