City Gate: “City Gate this is Anna, how can I help you?”
Other person: “Hello, is this where you do translations and hire interpreters?”
City Gate: “Yes, this is it. Can I help you?”
Other person: “I speak Portuguese and English, and I am looking for work and I can start right away”
City Gate: “Well, Where did you get your training from?”
Other person: “I don’t have training, but I am completely fluent in both languages”
City Gate: “Well, what is your experience? Send us a resume and we will evaluate it” (We really only work with people who have been professionally trained, but when we receive the email, if they are experienced, we try to direct them to a training program so they can get certified).
Other person: “I don’t have experience, and I don’t have a resume for this, but I grew up in Brazil and would go with my grandmother all the time to the doctor”
City Gate: (as we are thinking “Are you kidding me?!!!”) “I am sorry, we only work with trained individuals with experience, I suggest you look up some programs in your area and go from there” Usually this is followed by them asking for specific programs, asking if we will reimburse them for the program, asking how much we pay to see if its worth it, etc. We simply answer that it is her job to figure it all out and good luck! (Before we get frustrated and say something uncalled for).
What is a Professional Interpreter?
Interpreting is just starting to get recognized as a professional career, so we understand that many individuals get confused and don’t recognize the skills and value a trained interpreter has. Simply knowing 2, 3 or even 6 languages is not enough to consider yourself capable of interpreting at a medical appointment, deposition, business negotiation or government meeting. Yes, you do need to be completely fluent in (at least) two languages to start, but you also need to be proficient. Interpreters know to speak in first person, keep personal opinions in their head, transmit not only words but also the spirit of the message through body language, enunciation, etc. They know how to handle the flow of a conversation, and know how to act in the middle of stressful situations.
If you are a lawyer or business owner considering hiring interpreters, please do so. You can’t rely on your bilingual staff to do the work that an interpreter would do. If you are bilingual individual and want to become an interpreter, you can start by taking an interpreting training course, where you will learn the skills necessary to become an interpreter. Besides that, immerse yourself in the world of a specific subject matter, such as medical or legal. Good luck!