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The interpreter's minefield: adding a language and where to start

In March 2015, I moved to the Portuguese capital, Lisbon. I was seeking a new professional challenge and a change of scenery, yet my primary objective was to learn the language, with a view to adding Portuguese to my working combination as a conference interpreter.

My current language combination

After 18 months of Portuguese study, I now feel the need to discuss a process which is often referenced by colleagues albeit rarely explored in greater depth. I shall endeavour to blog about my experience on a consistent basis.

What I hope to achieve

- Provoke debate and discussion on the most effective ways and means to add a new language to one's working combination;

- Describe my experience in attempting to add my first new language since working as an interpreter;

- Recommend tools, methods and resources;

- Suggest strategies that have worked for me and - arguably more importantly - those that haven't.

- Post regularly with updates in order to chart my progress and make me more accountable.


I do not claim any expertise on this subject. This is my first attempt at adding a language and the process is ongoing. While I feel putting a timeframe on it is useful in maintaining motivation, the period it takes differs from one interpreter to the next based on lifestyle, language combination, time, resources etc. I hope that by sharing experiences, we can begin to pinpoint certain tenets of the process.

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