Middlebury Institute graduates discuss where they are working today, how the Institute helped them get there, and what advice they’d give to current and future MIIS students.
My name is Nina Fink. I graduated in 2012 with an MA in Translation and Interpretation (French). Since then, I have spent most of my career working as a freelance interpreter on the Paris private market. My assignments have ranged from culinary courses to business pitches and governmental meetings and everything in between. I am constantly exposed to new fields, vocabulary and people, so I am always learning, which I love. In January, I left Paris for a position as a part-time staff translator at the French Embassy in Washington D.C. I also continue to work as a freelance conference interpreter for the U.S. Department of State and other clients in the U.S. and France.
Invest in the MIIS Community
The main thing that has helped me has been the MIIS community. My career has been defined by my excellent professors, Julie Johnson, Jacolyn Harmer, Christiane Abel, and Céline Detraz; talented, kind fellow graduates; and the support of the MIIS community throughout the world. From Professor Lisa Molle Troyer, who showed me the way when I decided to launch my career in Paris, to the many MIIS graduates I have had the pleasure of working with, I have been proud to be part of this community every step of the way.
Stay Curious, Be a Team Player
I would advise current students to never lose sight of what motivated you to become an interpreter in the first place: your love of different languages and cultures. If you can stay connected to that curiosity, you can build a wonderful career. Also, remember that clients and colleagues hire on the basis of both hard and soft skills. Being a team player and a true professional is just as important as perfecting your language and interpreting skills. In a largely freelance profession, your network is everything. Lastly, I have learned the importance of paying it forward. I try to serve as a resource for interpreters who are starting out because I owe a great debt to the colleagues who gave me a chance along the way.
“The DC market deals with such a rich variety of topics that knowing how to prepare for technical meetings, be it on security or finance or human rights, is absolutely essential.” Miguel Garcia MACI ’14 describes what it takes to succeed as a professional interpreter.