About the Author

Hi there! I’m Michelle Hof, a professional conference interpreter and trainer. I work as a freelance interpreter (ACI) for the European Institutions in Brussels, Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Spain, and as as a consultant interpreter for AIB, a full-service conference interpreting company in Spain.

As a member of AIIC, the International Association of Conference Interpreters, I am active in the promotion of the profession and the defense of its professional standards and code of ethics. I am currently the Coordinator of AIIC Training and Professional Development and have volunteered in the past for AIIC’s social media channels, blog, and VEGA, the association’s support network for new interpreters.

I also contribute to the training of the next generation of conference interpreters. I currently hold the position of SCIC Key Trainer for the Master’s in Conference Interpreting at the University of La Laguna and am a close collaborator with the Master of Conference Interpreting at Glendon College, York University, Canada, where I work as a curriculum developer, trainer and field coordinator.

To find out more about me and my work, check out my profile on LinkedIn. I can be contacted directly at m.hof@aiic.net or via Twitter.

Happy reading!

20 thoughts on “About the Author

  1. Hola Michelle,
    It’s been almost 2 years I’ve been following your blog, that’s a very good job! You must be awfully busy but manage to find some free time to write new posts for us anyway, I really apreciate.
    I am a Polish student from Paris currently doing my masters in foreign languages in London and I have a question concerning the programme at the Univeristy of Laguna.
    Do you offer any combinations with Polish? My language combinations are A-Polish, B-French, English, C-Spanish, Italian and would love to do masters in Conference Interpreting in Spain. Do you happen to know whether there are any other countries where I can find Polish? (Poland except) I’ll be extremely grateful for any response.
    Good Luck !!!

  2. Hi Michelle,
    I love your work and your blog! #Jealous! I am an up-and-coming interpreter (mainly classroom) interested in eventually becoming an interpreter for a professional athlete from Spain living in the states. Do you know what steps I should take or with whom I might be able to speak about that?

    Warmest regards,

    • Hi Eric, and welcome to the blog!

      I don’t know a lot about sports interpreting, unfortunately. I have some colleagues who have been involved in the Switzerland-based FIFA/UEFA circuit, but don’t know anybody who has worked in sports interpreting in the US. You might like to ask your question on this Q&A site: http://interpreting.info/

      Good luck!

  3. Hi Michelle,

    I’m interested in becoming a professional interpreter at an international organization like the UN etc. What are the top programs for conference interpreting in North America/Europe?

    Thank you!

    • Dear Ann,

      Right now there are only three, soon to be four, postgraduate programs for conference interpreting in North America. You’ve got Monterey, U of Ottawa, Glendon College (York U) in Toronto, and the U of Maryland will be starting a new MA program in September 2013. All of these come highly recommended.

      For a full list of training programs, you can check out the Schools Finder: http://aiic.net/directories/schools/finder

      Hope this helps!

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  5. Hi Michelle!

    I just stumbled upon your blog and I’m so glad I found it. I’m 20 years old and I’m in my undergrad studying Mandarin Chinese and Global Studies. I really aspire to be an interpreter for Mandarin, but everyone has been telling me that in order to be a successful interpreter, I need to know more than two languages. Some even tell me I need to know 5 languages just to be competitive on the market and find a job. It’s made me really stressed out since I don’t know if I have the time to learn 5 languages before I get a job out of college. So, is this true? Do I have to know more than two languages or 5 to find a job in interpreting? Thanks!

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for your question. Expectations about language combinations will depend on the market you are aiming to work in. Your contacts are quite right when they say that having five working languages or more is pretty common on the European conference interpreting market (at least in the core languages such as French, German, Spanish, English etc). Most interpreters here in Europe start with a base of three or four languages and then continue learning and adding more throughout their career to maintain their competitive edge, so they don’t necessarily come out of college speaking all these languages.

      If you have a strong (near-native) knowledge of only one other language besides your mother tongue, you may be able to work on conference interpreting markets in places where that other language is spoken, or you may want to consider work in non-conference settings (healthcare, court, police, business), where such bidirectional combinations are more common.

      That said, and while I freely admit that I am not that familiar with the Mandarin-English market, my impression is that most interpreters who work with that combination are native Mandarin with strong (near-native) English. If you are a native English speaker, you may find it hard to get your Mandarin up to a standard where you can compete on an even level with these interpreters. But I may be wrong…

      To find out more, why not ask your question on the Q&A forum interpreting.info? You may someone out there with much betterknowledge of the market that interests you.

      Hope this helps,


  6. Hi Michelle,
    I’m new to your blog and so far I’m loving it!!! I was wondering if you could give me some advice. I want to become an interpreter/translator but I’m having a problem choosing a language. I’m stuck between Korean and Mandarin Chinese. I love both languages and cultures so that’s why I’m having such a hard time. I also don’t want to chose one and then 3 years from now regret not going with the other. Please help me out if you can ^_^

  7. ¡Saludos! Thank you so much for this wonderful blog! I have a question, and I know that you can give me an honest answer. Because of my background, I have two A languages (ES & EN) and will have three C languages (FR, DE, IT) when my undergrad studies are over. I’d like to do a “second full booth” with my other A language. Before I try to find an institution at graduate level that helps me retour in this way (if there is one), however, I ask: is this recommended? I feel like it would be an unbearable waste to only interpret into one of my A languages, but want to know if this is a feasible aspiration. What do you recommend? Again, thank you so much for your blog and guidance!

    • Hi Hjalmar – it’s nice to have so many active languages! However, not many schools will cater for such a broad combination. Your best bet is to get your master’s degree with a slightly reduced combination, say A + B + CCC, and then try to upgrade the B language to a second A after graduation.

      Hope this helps!

  8. Hello Michelle,

    Thank you very much for your blog!
    My name is Anna. My mother tongue is Russian. I would appreciate if you could give me a piece of advice on how to jump start a career of an Interpreter. I have a specialist degree in Translation and Interpreting specializing in translation from English into Russian and vice versa. I know almost everyone out there in the market needs experienced interpreters. Unfortunately, I do not have much of experience and would greatly appreciate if you could suggest some interpreter training programs or share your thoughts on how to develop good interpreter skills to pursue my career as an interpreter.

    • Hi Anna – why don’t you ask you question on interpreting.info? It’s a Q&A community website with plenty of professional happy to share their views. You’ll find the link on my blogroll.

      One option for breaking into the market is to obtain a postgraduate (master’s) qualification in conference interpreting. That helps you stand out from the crowd, and postgrad students usually also build a good contact network in the process.

      The AIIC Schools Finder (also on my blogroll) can help you find the master’s program that suits you.

      Hope this helps!

  9. hi, you mention unlined, top-bound, hard-backed A5 notepads are easy to come by (in 2011). I’m in the Netherlands and can’t find them! Can you advise me on a shop/website? Thanks. Judith. freelance interpreter/translator.

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