John Swales is retiring from the profession after 42 years as a European Commission interpreter.
After reading French and German at Cambridge University he completed the Commission’s in-house interpreter training course and began his long and varied interpreting career in January 1981. He developed a strong interest in teaching and training and later combined interpreting with management responsibilities, as head of the English unit from 2013 to 2021. In that capacity he was very active in raising awareness of the profession in the British Isles and finding and nurturing new talent. This interview explores the far-reaching changes that have taken place during John’s career and the current challenges faced by the profession.7