Conference Interpreting

This programme trains students in the professional skills of conference interpreting, enabling them to avail of the employment opportunities for qualified interpreting professionals. It is the only course of its kind in Ireland—a programme developed in conjunction with the institutions of the EU. Training is provided by practicing professionals in both modes of conference interpreting—consecutive and simultaneous interpreting—and employs recommended techniques: concentration exercises, interpretation from memory, sight interpreting, note-taking techniques and monitored use of the institutional speech repository. Students study the theory and practice of interpreting, and also examine professional ethics and conference preparation/ procedures, along with working practices and conditions. Students will study the institutions of the EU, and the university organises a study visit to the European Parliament and Commission. Irish, English, French, Spanish, Italian and German are offered on the programme to date.

Other languages may be considered based on student numbers.

The training provided covers both modes of conference interpreting, consecutive and simultaneous interpreting, and employs recommended techniques: concentration exercises, active listening, interpretation from memory, sight interpreting, note-taking techniques, chuchotage, liaison and monitored use of the institutional speech repository. Students study the theory and practice of interpreting, various communication skills and gain experience through voice coaching and public speaking. Students also examine professional ethics and conference preparation/procedures, along with working practices and conditions. Throughout the course, students will study the institutions of the European Union, and the University organises a study visit to the European Parliament and Commission, giving an insight into a conference interpreter’s working life.

Irish, English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German have been offered on the programme to date, with provision for other languages, where possible, based on student demand.

Special features

This is the only conference Interpreting programme in Ireland and the only interpreting course in the world offering Irish.

This qualification is essential for applying for the multitude of positions available to interpreters internationally.

The programme has two dedicated conference suites with state-of-the-art conferencing equipment that allows students to experience a real conference setting where simultaneous interpreting, relay, retour and even remote interpreting can be experienced and practiced.

Our trainers are themselves professional conference interpreters, supported in class by regular pedagogical input from the staff interpreters of the intuitions of the European Union.

Subjects taught

Module Semester ECTS

AT121 Consecutive Interpreting I 1 & 2 10
AT 122 Simultaneous Interpreting I 1 & 2 15
AT 123/7 Consecutive Interpreting II/III 1 & 2 10
AT 124/8 Simultaneous Interpreting II/III 1 & 2 15
AT129 The European Union 1 5
AT130 Research Methodologies 1 5
Voice coaching ^ 1 & 2
Psychometric Testing ^ 1
Theory and Practice of Interpreting * 1 & 2
AT126 Project / Thesis ** 1 & 2 30

^ Unique to the programme at University of Galway, these are non-examination modules designed to assist students in their future professional career.
* Included in all practical interpreting modules throughout the year
** In relation to the MA only.

Entry requirements

Students must hold a 2.2 Honours degree (or equivalent). In addition, candidates are expected to have:

An excellent command of their mother tongue;

Good communication skills;

Strong comprehension of their chosen languages;

A high degree of motivation.

Admission to the programme is subject to success in both a suitability test and an interview. Language ability will be ascertained by the programme director during an interview as per a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the EU institutions.

The entrance assessment involves:

A short interview to assess your motivation and attitude towards the course;

Translation of a short article from each of your working languages, without the use of translation tools or dictionaries (This is done electronically and does not require a presence in Galway)

A concentration exercise in your proposed language combination, i.e. you will listen to a 2-3 minutes speech in each of your C or B languages and will have to reformulate it in your A language/mother tongue. The oral reproduction of these short and structured speeches from the candidate’s C and B languages* into A* and, where appropriate, A into B, is to test applicants’ ability to listen to, understand, process and reproduce a short speech on a general topic. They must show that they have understood the message and are able to communicate it. (This is done electronically and does not require a presence in Galway)

Application dates

Closing Date
No deadline. Offers will be issued on a continuous basis, however candidates are encouraged to apply as early as possible as places are limited to 12 and demand outweighs supply.

Course code

Applications are made online via the University of Galway Postgraduate Applications System. Admission to the programme is subject to success in both a suitability test and an interview.

To access the course, you will need one of the following language profiles* Based on the official AIIC definition of same:

AA or AB (biactive/polyvalent) or ABC or ACC or ACCC

A Language(s) is “The interpreter's native language (or another language strictly equivalent to a native language), into which the interpreter works from all her or his other languages, and as a general rule, in both modes of interpretation, simultaneous and consecutive.”

B Language(s) is “A language other than the interpreter's native language, of which she or he has a perfect command and into which she or he works from one or more of her or his other languages. Some interpreters work into a 'B' language in only one of the two modes of interpretation.”

C Language(s) is a language of which the interpreter has a complete understanding and from which she or he works.”

*one of the working languages must be English or Irish.


MA: 1 calendar year (September to August); PDip: 1 academic year

The course is full-time. 80% of your classes shall be devoted to interpreting practice and students are expected to complement this by devoting time to group practice of simultaneous and consecutive interpreting and other self-directed learning (i.e. background reading; use of information sources, e.g. radio, TV, Internet; preparation of glossaries). For every hour of class time, a student can expect to complete 6 hours independent study. Enrolment on a full-time programme means a commitment to 40-50 hours of total student effort per week throughout all the weeks of each semester. Such levels of engagement and activity will make it more likely that students will acquire a high level of knowledge and understanding of their chosen subjects, feel confident in their abilities and experience less stress during assessments and be better prepared for subsequent years.

The class timetable changes weekly because the interpreting sessions are conducted by practicing/experienced conference interpreters with teaching skills, who work actively on the market.

Attendance is not optional, but an obligatory requirement. Clearly, there will be extenuating circumstances faced by students from time to time, such as illness and other personal difficulties. In such circumstances students must give notice of their absence.

Enrolment dates

Next start date September 2024

Post Course Info

Career Opportunities
Students must obtain a postgraduate qualification in Conference Interpreting to allow them to sit the Inter-Institutional EU Accreditation Tests and work as a professional conference interpreter. Students completing this course can avail of considerable employment opportunities worldwide as interpreting services are frequently required at conferences, seminars and so on. Many graduates work with EU and UN institutions. Opportunities are also available outside the large international organisations.

More details
  • Qualification letters

    MA PDip

  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ),Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Daytime,Full time,Part time

  • Apply to

    Course provider