Professional development

What sort of professional development is available and useful for conference interpreters? What are the benefits and how can you find out more?

Continued training can help make you a better interpreter with a broader range of expertise - which can mean more work and more interesting job offers. For freelance interpreters it's also often tax-deductible, so it's win-win.

Training courses for professional conference interpreters can be divided into 4 main areas. Some of these categories overlap and of course this is not a formal classification.

But first - perhaps you're wondering what you should you look for when choosing a course, what trends in professional development are on the horizon, what AIIC has to offer to both members and non-members. 

Luigi Luccarelli sat down with Andrew Gillies and Almute Löber to explore these very questions in Chapter 2 of AIIC CONVERSATIONS.

Interpreting skills

Your consecutive might be a little rusty, or you might want to work from a little-used, new or into a soon-to-be B language. Interpreting skills courses are rarer than we'd like. Most frequently they are organised by recognised interpreting schools, AIIC itself, or international institutions (generally, but not always, only for their own staff).

Alternatively you may be self-taught or a recent graduate and want to fine-tune your consecutive & simultaneous techniques. Or a parent whose interpreting has got rusty when you took time out to look after children. Maybe you have learned an accreditation test is coming up and you may want to take a test-preparation course to check your progress with expert trainers who can give you an idea of the institutions' expectations.

There's a course for all of these and more. Keep an eye on our events calendar.

Language learning

Improving existing C or B languages

If you're looking to improve languages you already work with you're unlikely to find language classes at a high enough level. As such you'll find yourself doing either specialised knowledge-based courses (for C languages) and/or interpreting skills courses (C and B languages). For more check out and the rest of this page.

Adding a new language

Low-level language courses are relatively easy to find for any language you might want to add. If you'd like to find a language course that other interpreters recommend trying asking the question on

Knowledge-based courses

Training doesn't just have to mean interpreting and language-enhancement. For one we need to find out and deepen our knowledge of the culture of the countries our languages are spoken in. And for some languages that's a lot of countries!

Also, interpreters work in many different technical areas and finding out new stuff can be very useful, and fun. Aeronautics, international criminal law, vehicle manufacture and patents are all technical areas where interpreters get work and where interpreters could attend courses that are meant for anyone interested in that field, not just interpreters. And of course we have the advantage that we can attend those courses in several languages!

Universities, cultural institutes and the like all organise such courses.

Ancillary skills

Interpreters, particularly freelance interpreters also need a range of non-interpreting (or soft) skills - accounting, computing, time-keeping, negotiating to name but a few. We are linguists and might not be naturally good at these other skills. So, if you're not, take a course!

Information about all of the types of course above can be found at

Recommended citation format:
AIIC. "Professional development". February 20, 2014. Accessed July 7, 2020. <>.

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