CONFERENCE INTERPRETING IN ITALY: IS THERE STILL A CHANCE FOR ITALIAN NATIVE SPEAKERS?
Conference Interpreter and Lecturer on-contract
ABSTRACT. This paper reports a small-scale survey conducted in the first half of 2012 and in early 2014 in connection with conference interpreters’ working conditions in Italy. The paper takes stock of the situation in Italy, highlighting that, because of the declining prestige of the profession as well as the harsh economic crisis affecting all working fields in the Bel Paese, many conference interpreters are facing hard times and are already looking beyond their profession. Above all interpreters between 25 and 40 are the most hit by the crisis. They report either the impossibility to enter the labour market as interpreters or a decreasing number of working days per year. Although many professionals guarantee high-quality performances and have done the job for many years now, the small case-study reports that no matter how skilled or experienced interpreters are, as both categories are concerned about the number of working days and conditions, the difficult relationship Italian customers – often due to their insolvency – and, last but not least, about their profession in the long-term. Fresh investments in IT, more stringent policies within Interpreters’ Schools (as of the number of CI graduates) and better coordination with the EU as big employer for linguists are seen as some of the most desirable solutions.
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