Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Two Decades of Interpreting and Translating


Deirdre Durrance (MACI '86) has interpreted around the world for presidents and heads of state.

August 20, 2012

Interpreting for presidents and heads of state. Working at the White House, Congress and the World Bank. Traveling around the world. For the past 20 years, Deirdre Durrance has had some amazing experiences.

"Looking back, I can say that I have had an extraordinary career," said Durrance. "Being an interpreter was the best choice for me."

Durrance graduated from the Monterey Institute in 1986 with an MA in Conference Interpretation. She says that MIIS started her on the path to a successful career.

"It taught me the basics of conference interpreting and gave me a solid grounding," said Durrance.

On top of interpreting and translating at the highest level as a freelancer, Durrance has also worked as a staff member for a UN agency, been the executive editor of the Korea Monitor, and taught classes at a number of postgraduate level universities.  All those experiences have given Durrance a wealth of valuable advice for aspiring interpreters and translators.

"Be resilient, persevering and patient," she said. "One needs to have a thick skin to be able to deal successfully with the stress of working on a wide variety of topics in different conferences, settings and with different colleagues."

Durrance is now passing on that advice and more as the Director of Studies for Postgraduate Interpreting and Translation at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom.  She says she loves this job, maybe even more than interpreting itself.

"I truly enjoy training and helping budding interpreters," she said. "It is important that newly minted interpreters abide by the rules of the profession, respect market conditions, know their limitations and make a genuine effort to get along with their colleagues in order to get ahead and earn themselves a favourable reputation."

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