MA Interpretation

Applying for the MA in Conference Interpreting

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To study at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and be admitted to the Faculty of Translation and Interpreting (FTI), you must:

What are the admission conditions?

You have to:

  • Hold a university degree: a Bachelor's (BA) degree or another university degree deemed equivalent
  • Pass the FTI entrance exam

Also have a look at the general description page for this degree.


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What is the entrance exam?

The entrance exam will take place entirely online. Applicants will receive more information about the exam once their FTI application is accepted.

Information about the language combinations of conference interpreters

Every professional conference interpreter has a language combination that determines the languages from and into which s/he works. It usually consists of an A language, (sometimes) a B language, and one or more C languages. 

The A language is the interpreter's main or active language; interpreters work into this language from all their other languages.

The B language is also an active language; interpreters work into this language, but only from their A language.

The C language is a passive language; interpreters only work from, never into, their C language.

How strong do my language skills need to be? How do I choose my language combination?

You must choose two, three, or four languages based on your main or A language.

Choose your language combination based on your level of ability in each language.

Your A language is your mother tongue or an exact equivalent. Most people only have one A language. Cases of double A are rare and involve people who have grown up in a multilingual environment (e.g. speaking one language at home and another at school).

The B and B consecutive (Bconsec) languages are languages in which you have achieved a very high level of proficiency, allowing you to work into them. We make a distinction between the B language (active language for consecutive and simultaneous interpreting) and the Bconsec language (active language for consecutive interpreting only).

The C language is a language in which you have achieved a high level of proficiency and excellent comprehension.

How can I prepare for the exam?

Some advice:

  • Read one daily newspaper a day, one weekly publication a week, and one monthly publication a month in each of the languages of your combination. Choose a topic (an article) and try to establish connections: compare how the same topic is addressed in different languages.
  • Pay close attention to style and idiom. Look up new concepts in an encyclopedia; new words and technical terms, in a dictionary. Keep a record of this research and review it regularly.
  • Time yourself. Speed is a key aspect of exam situations. Make sure your speed is consistent with what is expected of you in the exam.
  • Educate yourself on a wide variety of topics. Read the news extensively, including the science and financial pages. Watch/listen to radio, television and/or internet broadcasts on current issues in all the languages of your combination.

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When and where will the entrance exam take place?

The entrance exam will take place entirely online.

  • The written exam will be held from 16 to 20 November 2020.
  • The results of the written exam will be published on 18 December 2020.
  • The oral exam will be held on 4 and 5 February 2021.
  • The results of the oral exam will be published on 26 February 2021.

Admission results are only valid for the academic year that immediately follows the exam session. Results may not be carried over to another year.

If you are unable to begin the MA in Interpreting programme during the academic year for which you are admitted, you will have to re-sit the entrance exam in its entirety.


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What happens if I fail?

If you fail the first time around, you may sit for the entrance exam again. You may not sit for the exam more than twice.

  • If you fail the written exam, you can sit the exam a second time the following year (or at a later date).
  • If you fail the oral exam: your written exam results will remain valid for one year, so you will be able to sit the oral exam again. However, if you wait more than one year, you will have to re-sit both the written and the oral exam.

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What do I have to do to apply?

  •  Registering for the FTI entrance exam

Register online for the entrance exam:

- from 14 September to 18 October 2020, which is the final deadline to apply.

a) Begin by setting up your ORISIS account (you can use this login for the whole application process).

b) With your ORISIS account, register for the entrance exam on the FTI's online platform. See the list of documents you need to scan to register for the entrance exam. Download the Language Background Form.

(If you are already enrolled at UNIGE, please use the username and password that you created when first setting up your ORISIS account; it is likely linked to your private email address. If you are unable to access your account, please create a new one using your @etu.unige.ch address)

You will receive confirmation of your registration for the entrance exam by email, along with login details for accessing the Interpreting Department platform. On the platform, you will find your exam schedule and information about exam content and procedures.


  • How to enroll at UNIGE

Fill out the University of Geneva's online enrollment application using your ORISIS login details. You must then print it out and send it to the Admissions Services

from 4 January to 28 February 2021 for applicants with nationalities that are required to have a visa for a stay of more than 90 days (irrespective of your current place of residence, unless you hold a Swiss residence permit that is valid past 30 April)

- from 4 January to 30 April 2021 for applicants who do not need a visa for a stay of more than 90 days

If you are already enrolled and studying at UNIGE, make a request to change faculties before the deadline.

If you have already been unenrolled, or will be unenrolled before the beginning of your first semester at the fTI, please request to be reenrolled before the deadline.

Being enrolled at the University means that the University has given a student permission to register in a faculty and take the courses, seminars and workshops necessary to obtain a university degree. You cannot study at the FTI without being enrolled.

The tuition fee is CHF 500 per semester of study for both Swiss and foreign students.

The FTI entrance exam is free of charge. However, there is a fee of CHF 65 for your UNIGE enrollment application.

Please note that

your admission to the FTI will only be validated once:

* you have passed the FTI's entrance exam

and

* the University has accepted your enrollment application

Applicants must therefore go through two different application processes. If you do not follow this procedure, you will not be able to study at UNIGE.


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Contact information

Student secretary:

Information, admissions and registration.

Mme Marie-Laure Cudet
Building: Uni Mail
Office: 6256
Telephone: +41 (0)22 37 98708
Fax: +41 (0)22 37 98750
email: Marie-Laure.Cudet(at)unige.ch

Office hours: Tuesday - Friday
10:00 am - 12:00 am / 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


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