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Thinking About Becoming an Interpreter...
Thread poster: vibrantjade
vibrantjade
English to Spanish
Jan 18, 2008

Hello,
I am currently considering making a career change to become an interpretor (English/Spanish). I love interacting with people, and also love speaking Spanish. Before taking the plunge however, it would be helpful for me to know what people in this field think of it. Is interpreting enjoyable? Is interpreting in medical/legal situations emotionally taxing? What are the pro's and con's? Do you have any advice for a would-be new interpreter?



[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-01-18 23:33]


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xxxpalilula
United States
Local time: 04:49
German to English
+ ...
Being Interpreter Is Hard Work, Devotion, And Satisfaction Jan 19, 2008

I have been full-time interpreter after I graduated from a foreign language school abroad. I wanted to do a perfect job, and since most of my translations were technical, I decided to study engineering. I graduated with an MS in mechanical engineering, and had to work as engineer because education was state-supported and it was an obligation to work in the major after the university. However, my heart was with languages. Now I live in USA, and am looking how to return to my interpreter & translation job that I used to love. And I loved it for a reason: I was a prefered interpreter and it soudned like music to my ears when I used to hear: "We want Petra to interpret (or translate)." Another reason I loved my job was the opportunity to interact with people (some of them very interesting). I started to do translations as a second job working as freelance for the local Language Service Bureau.
I have an extensive collection of dictionaries, and still go to Internet when I have to research a term (technology keeps adding new challanges). I have bookmarked on my computer some interesting sites with dictionaries, not talking about searching by Yahoo and Google.
I will love to be a full-time interpreter again! Good luck to you!


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:49
Flemish to English
+ ...
google Jan 19, 2008

google : Monterey Institute of International Studies
www.aiic.net.
Have a look at interpreting on this website


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John Farebrother  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
French to English
+ ...
better than translation Jan 19, 2008

Interpreting's great. As you said, you're interacting with real people rather than a laptop.
It can be taxing; I was recently interpreting for a journalist interviewing a former concentration camp inmate about his experiences. Harrowing, but it reminded me how hard life can be for some people, and was definitely worth while. Some service providers, such as the police, offer counselling services.
Good luck


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Tatiana Lammers  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Monterey Institute Jan 20, 2008

Definetely one of the best graduate schools in our T&I profession (I know because I spent a year on my professional development program there)
Check it out here: http://translate.miis.edu/

Good luck!


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Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 07:49
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The emotional toll depends on your personality. Jan 21, 2008

I interpret for the Immigration and Refugee Board in Toronto, and recently at the genetics department of a hospital here. The former is often upsetting, because the nature of refugee claims is upsetting, and you can have a 4 hour hearing where all you interpret it torture, misery, humiliation, loss, etc. and you have to remember that you are only the mouthpiece and protocol forbids you from even taking the person's hand and wishing them luck. I always do anyway, and thus will never win interpreter of the century- I can live with that.
At the hospital I had to explain to a woman whose whole family had died of Huntington's Disease that her one healthy son would inevitably get it too.
I love interpreting, and it is great to get off the computer occasionally, but there are days where I, at least, come home and have no emotional strength left.
Having said that, I have colleagues who leave it all at the door and walk away.


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Milton Guo  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 19:49
English to Chinese
+ ...
The cons Jan 21, 2008

Being an interpreter would mean you have to follow always without a mind of your own..So it's painful for those who aim to be creative

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btlidia
Local time: 13:49
Spanish to Hungarian
+ ...
yes, do it! Jan 31, 2008

I have worked as interpreter and translator since 1996. I enjoy it! I like most interpreting spanish and italian, I knew interesting people. It is a hard work, but I like it.
You must be fast, you must think in two languages at the same time, and you must feel the language. It is like dancing: you move with the speaker, with the same emotion, the same logic, the same rythmus.
It is true, I am interpreting in my preferred field, religion, and there are very few people who can do it great. So people appreciate my work, and this is the best you can have in your career.


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Jean Bisping  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:49
English to French
+ ...
Check out this brief piece... Feb 5, 2008

I prepared a crash course for volunteer interpreters at the World Social Forum.. maybe it will give you some insights on what awaits you if you choose this path, both from angle of work and effort to furnish as well as the emotional states you may experience. Good luck in your decision, keep us posted on how it goes!

J.B.

Just Google "How to be a better simultaneous interpreter" and you should see it. It's on the Babels website, Babelog...


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vibrantjade
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Thank You! Mar 3, 2008

Thanks for all the advice! I've decided to go for it!

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xxxpalilula
United States
Local time: 04:49
German to English
+ ...
Thank you many times! Mar 29, 2009

Thanks, I checked this board today and followed your referral!
Thank you!

Williamson wrote:

google : Monterey Institute of International Studies
www.aiic.net.
Have a look at interpreting on this website


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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 04:49
English to Russian
+ ...
Another great school... Mar 30, 2009

If you just want to learn HOW to do it, without the necessity of a degree, here is another great school, Southern California School of Interpretation (SCSI): www.interpreting.com/ It offers classes for Spanish interpreters only, but that's exactly who you want to be, right?

I've actually just signed up for it, and will start next Saturday (which happens to be my birthday - it's a present I give to myself).

I went to orientation at SCSI last Saturday, and at the end of orientation I asked if I can start directly from "Criminal Interpreting II", skipping the 1st course - "Criminal Interpreting I". Well, their regular "Criminal Interpreting I" students were taking their final exam that afternoon, and so I was allowed to "crash" the exam - that is, take it side-by-side with the regular students. My results were satisfactory, and so I was accepted to take "Criminal Interpreting II" course.

So far, I have been studying and recording myself, but I need some outside feedback on my interpretations - and that's exactly what I'll be getting out of this school. Unlike other schools, SCSI wastes no time on theory - it's practice, practice, practice, with almost instant feed-back on your performance.

It also offers classes in Administrative and Medical interpreting. And for those who live outside of Southern California, the school has online classes.

For self-study, the great resource is acebo.com. I have been recommending ACEBO ad nauseam on these forums, but I really think that ACEBO is great. I'll continue to use it. I will be going to school not be instead of my self-study, but in addition to it. And the fact that I took the same exam their students took, and did quite well, just proves that self-study works.

With this approach, I hope to become certified in Spanish in a few months.

At to your questions whether interpreting is enjoyable and emotionally taxing - a resounding YES to both questions.


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:49
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I would say the opposite Mar 31, 2009

Milton Guo wrote:
Being an interpreter would mean you have to follow always without a mind of your own..So it's painful for those who aim to be creative


To put it mildly, it is an amazingly broad generalisation.

It is like saying about musicians that they always have to follow the score without a mind of their own or actors having to follow their lines mindlessly.

When you think about it, the interpreter's job is similar, and equally creative. I don't think that you could do a satisfactory job of it without creativity.

My own past does not exclude creativity: I am a qualified architect, with quite a few projects behind me, used to do textile design on the side, designed and made some of my own clothes and exhibited my jewellery at the premier showcase in the UK - Goldsmith Hall.

Yet I am happily interpret day in and day out, because I find it equally creative and more interactive than my other interests.

Vibrantjade, Petra, good luck, and enjoy it.

[Edited at 2009-03-31 14:58 GMT]


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Yan Duan
Local time: 19:49
English to Chinese
+ ...
Find if you have passion for it Apr 1, 2009

Being an interperter means being hooked for the rest of your life. You just don't stop learning. Common sense and encyclopedic knowledge. These are more far more endless than the technical skills you learn in a language school.

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Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:49
English to German
+ ...
Can you explain? Apr 1, 2009

John Farebrother wrote:

Interpreting's great. As you said, you're interacting with real people rather than a laptop.
It can be taxing; I was recently interpreting for a journalist interviewing a former concentration camp inmate about his experiences. Harrowing, but it reminded me how hard life can be for some people, and was definitely worth while. Some service providers, such as the police, offer counselling services.
Good luck


There is no doubt that interacting with real people is an advantage, but claiming that interpreting is "better" than translation I just cannot understand.


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