Diplomatic English for Conference Interpreters

Dates: July to September 2020

Duration: ten weeks (two five-week blocks with a break in mid-August)

Contact hours: 40 hours (two sessions of two hours each per week)

Group size: minimum eight, maximum 14

Delivery mode: online (Zoom)

Details here.

Dust off your diplomatic English and hone your high-level interpreting skills with this two-in-one online summer CPD course for professional interpreters.

About the course

Diplomatic English for Conference Interpreters is an intensive, practical course designed by and for professional conference interpreters. In this course, you will work with two trainers in small groups of your peers to polish your technique in two related areas: English for diplomacy and high-level interpreting.

The course will run from July to September 2020 and will provide 40 hours of online instruction over ten weeks. You can choose to take the full course or only sign up for part of it (click here for the exact dates and times). 

Each week, we will meet online for two sessions lasting two hours each (one on Tuesday and one on Thursday). The first session will provide intensive English language practice, with a special focus on how English is used in international diplomacy. In the second session, you will be put through your paces in a series of hands-on activities replicating high-level interpreting contexts (both consecutive and simultaneous modes will be covered).

Topics and exercises

During the online language enhancement sessions, you will give your English speaking and presentation skills a workout as you:

– explore aspects of bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, policy-making and negotiations
– examine case studies from the world of international relations
– consider the challenges of technical contexts and international courtroom deliberations
– learn about “hashtag diplomacy” and other trends in diplomatic relations
– and more…

In the practical interpreting sessions, you will participate in hands-on activities that simulate:

– high-level bilateral encounters
– technical presentations and briefings
– policy discussions and negotiations
– debates in formal institutional settings
– and others…

You will work in small groups of no more than 14 participants. Preparation will be required for some of the sessions, so expect to spend some time on coursework outside of the online sessions.

Who is this course designed for?

You may be a recent graduate looking for ways to keep your skills fresh, a seasoned professional wanting to branch out into new fields, or perhaps a working interpreter wanting to dust off rusty skills or add active English to your combination. Whatever your motivation for joining us, we can help you meet your professional development goals.

To ensure all participants get the most out of the course, you will ideally have the following profile:

– You are a professional conference interpreter. This is usually defined as having either a degree in Conference Interpreting or equivalent professional experience (calculated as five years of experience or roughly 100 days of work). 

– You speak English at an intermediate to advanced level and may already be providing interpretation into English (English should be a B or C language in your combination). 

– You want to practice interpreting into English from one of the main UN or EU languages (French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch). If you wish to interpret from a language not mentioned here, consider signing up with a colleague who shares your languages (a discount applies if you sign up with a partner).

– You can take notes from a speech lasting up to five minutes for interpretation in consecutive mode and are familiar with the ins and outs of simultaneous interpretation.

– You are comfortable both giving and receiving peer feedback within a supportive learning environment.

– You have reliable Internet access and a headset that you can use when participating in online sessions. For some practice sessions, you may be asked to log in with two separate devices (e.g. a laptop and a smartphone).


“I attended English for Diplomacy as part of my foreign studies and it has definitely enriched my understanding of international politics. Lucy inspired us to think critically, fostering our communication skills and enabling us to autonomously recognize the subtleties of foreign relations. I recommend this course to everyone who is looking to deepen their knowledge on a variety of political themes through the lens of diplomacy.” 

Wiktoria Nowogrodzka, student of Language, Culture and Translation, 2020, University of Mainz


Sign up for the course here.

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