Apply now for Glendon’s online Master of Conference Interpreting

Last week, I reminded readers that the clock was ticking for submitting applications to the Master’s programs in conference interpreting scheduled to start in the fall. The deadline for applications to the MIC at the University of La Laguna is today, so if you haven’t submitted your paperwork by now, you’re probably too late.

However, it’s not too late to apply to the other training program that is near and dear to my heart: the Master of Conference Interpreting (MCI) at York University (Glendon College) in Toronto. They’ll be taking applications until June 5th, so you have still some time to think about whether your future lies at Glendon.

The first thing any prospective candidate needs to know about the MCI at Glendon is that the first year is given entirely online, which means that you don’t have to move to Toronto to study. You can follow all the Year One courses from the comfort of your own home, wherever that may be in the world. So if you are interested in becoming an interpreter but are not in the position to move to pursue your studies, this may be the training course for you.

I am one of the virtual trainers teaching the current crop of MCI students, and while it might seem strange to think that you might be learning with people who live on the other side of the planet (in my case, the difference between me and my students was “only” five time zones), in practice it is actually very stimulating to work in a virtual learning environment and not half as complicated as people might think (one day I hope to write a post all about just that).

But back to practical matters. The MCI program is currently offered for the language combinations of English <> French, Spanish, Portuguese or Mandarin Chinese, and applications are also being accepted from Russian and Arabic candidates to see if these streams can be added to the program for 2013-14. The full Master of Conference Interpreting lasts two years, but students can exit the course after the first year with a Graduate Diploma in General Interpreting, which opens doors to the burgeoning healthcare and legal interpreting markets.

The annual cost of the program for Canadian citizens or permanent residents is $5,544.69 (roughly 4,200€). For international students, the fee is $12,032.46 (about 9,100€).

The nice people at Glendon have prepared some videos that tell you all about the program. This video gives you a sense of what it is like to study online at Glendon, while this video includes testimonials by current students describing the program from their perspective (the students appear at 4:09 in the video). You can also check out the presentation that Andrew Clifford, the Course Director, gave at the recent SCIC Universities conference (which includes excerpts of real online consecutive and simultaneous classes).

To learn more about application requirements for the program, you can have a look at the info page on the Admissions website, and at the online application. The next intake is September 2013, and as I said, the deadline to apply is June 5, 2013.

No palm trees here! Still, it's pretty nice, don't you agree?

No palm trees here! Still, it’s pretty nice, don’t you agree?

Follow the Glendon School of Translation on Facebook and Twitter, and check out their YouTube channel for even more videos about interpreting.

9 thoughts on “Apply now for Glendon’s online Master of Conference Interpreting

  1. This is a great endeavor and one that will be very fruitful. I am currently enrolled in two online courses at and they are fantastic. I am learning a lot.
    I wonder how long it will be or if interpreting will ever be offered through a MOOC. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is enough scale for this, but it’s great that a way has been found to offer part of the course online. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to your promised post.

    • Thanks for your comments, María. MOOCs are a great initiative and they will reach our industry sooner or later. Indeed, they already have: last year, there was a translation MOOC organized via the Open University. It ended with a big online event that was widely publicised in Spain, which is how I heard of it. I couldn’t attend, so I don’t know how it went, but it is a trend worth watching. Here’s the link:

  2. I agree with my fantastic colleague María Cristina — this sounds like a great initiative, and I would like to see interpreting taught via MOOCs at some point as well, although that is a challenging undertaking. The only concern I have about the Glendon program is the almost prohibitive cost of the program, which is in stark contrast with what beginning interpreters, even those with fancy degrees, can expect to earn — especially in light of all the rate reduction problems in the US and UK courts. I think it would be heartbreaking to spend up to $20,000 on a two-year program only to find that many courts pay $35/hour with no benefits, no paid driving time, etc. Of course, that’s not universities’ responsibility, but I wonder if institutions of higher education should keep the reality of graduates’ marketplace in mind when pricing these programs. Well, historically, they have not, otherwise a degree in social work would be really, really affordable, but it’s not. Just some food for thought here. 🙂

    • Nice to see you here, Judy! That’s a very important point you’ve raised. There are probably as many approaches to the pricing of education as there are education systems. Having seen five systems at work myself – Alberta (Canada), UK, Germany, Netherlands, Spain – my overall impression is that each is underpinned by a very different philosophy. I won’t go into the boring details of what that means in practice, but without knowing how they do things in Ontario, where Glendon is based, my suspicion is that the provincial government sets the rates for all postgraduate education, whatever the course of study, with little thought for graduates’ income prospects. Generally speaking, universities in Canada tend to have very little say in how much their programs cost.

      I just did a little digging and this quote from an Ontario college website would appear to confirm my theory:

      “Tuition fees for post-secondary, graduate certificate and bachelor’s degree programs are set in accordance with the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) fee guidelines. The tuition and fees listed here are in effect for the 2013 – 2014 academic year.” (here’s the link).

      Hope this helps!

  3. Hi! I have been follow your blog for a while, and I have been enjoy reading the articles 😀 . I applied to Glendon’s MCI for this fall and I am preparing for their Aptitude test on this Friday(also online). It is nice (and a little surprising) to know that you are one of the lecturers! Since my other language is Chinese, I don’t think I will attend your class if I get accepted. But I am still delighted by this little coincidence.

    • That is a nice coincidence! I don’t teach the Chinese students, of course, but I do follow their exchanges on the student forums (at least the bits in English). Our paths may well cross at some point…

      Good luck on your aptitude test!

  4. Dear colleagues, many thanks for your insightful comments. I have worked as a translator for many years. I got a degree in translation and interpreting 10 years ago, but after a few work experiences in interpreting, I have worked full time as a translator. Now, I’d like to brush up my interpreting technique and go back into business. Is there any online or offline refresher interpreting course you’re aware of in Europe that you would recommend? I’m looking for a short intensive approach (my languages are English and Italian). I’m based in the UK, with frequent travels to Italy. Thanks in advance.

  5. Thanks for that insightful response, Michelle, and thanks for doing some digging. I teach in the online portion of UC-San Diego Extension (certificate for Spanish/English T&I), and those classes are much more affordable, but of course you only get a certificate, not a degree. In general, I am a bit worried by graduates from say, MIIS, leaving the university with 100 K in debt and no way of paying it back because of the intense downward pressure on rates in our industry… More food for thought there. 🙂

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