Day 54: Life of an interpreter! 38 days to go!

Kat doodles about life:

Today is just the usual Saturday. I did a bit of cooking, house cleaning and little bit of chilling out thinking about days ahead. Last night, going out into the world out there to work, I nearly got frozen. Did I miss something during this week whilst in bed? Did UK suddenly change the position of where it is on the global map… ? Layers all the way, I still was not prepared for it. Nor the customers. It was so cold, barely no one was out and about either. We went home earlier, but I still could not sleep until the usual time as my brain was thinking about events of the night, but I am not going to bother you with that as I have enough to digest.

So what else I was up to today. Well, you will be pleased to know I sat and did more of tax filing, going through my interpreting sheets, checking all the right dates and information. I started doing this job in my second year of university. An advert posted on Facebook stating that local language agency is looking for someone to do the job. You do not need to have interpreting qualifications to start with in order to get into this job. There different levels and as long as you can tick some of those requirements and pass the initial interview, you are fine. I was slightly apprehensive about this whole thing, never mind even looking smart for the interview. Rasta girl in a suit from Primark with her first ever handbag, well that is who I was, but my boss was very impressed and I got the job.

I had five assignments in three days to start with and let me tell you, not something pleasant I was prepared to be part of. Many of you are very likely to have a friend from a foreign country and when you meet, you talk about your life, what happened, jobs, funny things. Well that is very far from the job of an interpreter. We also talk, in my language and English, but it may vary from simple things as filling out forms, clearing the mistuderstanding, being a part of medical examination to lot more complicated situations like family divorce issues, being nearly attacked during the session or talking about children and verbal and sexual abuse. I was literally thrown into this nasty world and I had to learn how to swim.

However not everything is bad. Five years on I still do this job for two language agencies and freelance and it pretty much always amazes me that there are people, who live in this country for many years and still do not speak the language. Or some of them are here short term, so there is the obvious need. I still cannot believe I get to sit on a chair and get paid for talking. Not much, as it is only hourly paid job and you are more likely to work somewhere between 1-3 hours depending on how often they need you. Which may vary  from twice a month to once in six months, plus different agencies have different rules about travel allowances and expenses.

But I do help people, so they can move on with their lives and their problems. The look on their faces is priceless and “thanks” they have for me and the staff I am dealing with mean personally a lot to me. It often leaves me wondering how lucky I am. And it is only because I overcame the fear of talking to strangers, learned the language and during my first year in Bristol barely spoke to any of the native Czechs or Slovakians. I blended in within the society and here is my reward years later. With the numbers of people ever here, working in factories and catering, hanging out within the community asking pretty simple questions within the Facebook group rather figuring them out themselves, no wonder how many people find themselves still with no vocabulary and knowledge, however managing to survive here for quite some time, but in a need of an interpreter, when it comes to something more complicated.

So here we are, not always walk in the park, but very rewarding job, I am very happy to do. Back tomorrow. Kat xx

day 20 p1

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One thought on “Day 54: Life of an interpreter! 38 days to go!

  1. jackiemallon says:

    I’m sure the job gives you a real window on to humanity in all its nationalities and languages but a lot of food for thought too maybe to put onto you work…It sounds fascinating although I guess it could get a little too ‘intimate’ or grisly too. That’s us humans for you 🙂

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