Curiosity is a valuable trait in interpreters, and one that is commonly associated with those interpreters that excel at their work. Curiosity leads to the pursuit of answers, answers lead to gains in knowledge, and knowledge, in turn, becomes the ingredient that transforms a good interpreter into a notable interpreter.

At The Interpreter’s Lab we know that an interpreter needs to not only pay attention to professional development, that is, the fundamentals of professional skills and information, but that interpreters must also pay close attention to the marketplace and business growth, as well as taking good care of their personal and emotional wellbeing. The factors that make interpreting so appealing and fascinating are the very factors that oblige us to know more and do better. Factors such as the rapidly evolving marketplace, the dynamic interactions that form our work, and the interesting push and pull towards exploring the evolution of their field and their career. It may even include adventuring into the world of translation work, or other aligned occupations.

It has been clearly demonstrated and felt most intensely by the arrival of COVID19 and the simultaneous decrease in on-site appointments, that remote interpreting is here to stay and grow. This applies to Remote Simultaneous Interpreting (RSI), as well as Remote Consecutive Interpreting. What does this mean for interpreters’ professional and career development? With the spreading utilization of remote platforms comes an expansion of the marketplace, in both demand AND supply – more work, more competition. But competition is good. It keeps us alert and focussed, even though it may require us to learn new skills or nurture existing ones.

At The Lab’s monthly Professional Development Speakers Series this past month (April 2022), our guest speaker, Mike Lemay, demonstrated just how essential confidence and an adventurous attitude are in growing your practice and presence. Mike shared how he went from volunteering as an interpreter at his church (which he still does, voluntarily), to interpreting at a UN conference. Now that is inspiring! Confidence is critical, and confidence is cultivated through knowledge, practice, and exposure to new ideas. The participants were inspired by Mike’s presentation!

“Thank you, Mike, for all the information and encouragement.” Gurveen

“Thank you very much!! Amazing session enjoyed it a lot!!” Maria

“Excellent presentation and looking forward to connecting again” Jennifer

So, what are the skills, knowledge, and tools that I believe will help future-facing interpreters?

  1. Working with technology, in all its various forms, is a critical skill set for interpreters – remote settings, online platforms, gear to get you started and keep you working (headsets, microphones, etc.), as well as familiarity with agencies and contract negotiation.
  2. Embracing social media skills to keep your profile in view and to grow your opportunities – including the conventions and etiquettes that work best.
  3. Building community and embracing competition. (It’s not a bad word at all!). By working together we all work better – it’s true! One thing the interpreting community needs to do is shed its proclivity for silos and embrace unity. Join your community at The Lab

Be curious about your interpreting world, ask questions. Dive in and gain skills and knowledge. See where the adventure will take you. And let The Interpreter’s Lab help you along the way.