In a previous blog post, on Why being an interpreter is a good career move for foreign trained health care professionals, I wrote that interpreting in healthcare settings is a smart professional career move for health care professionals who were trained outside of Canada, and it’s true! It is a smart move, not just for foreign trained professionals, but for anyone who is interested in a deeper, closer look into the systems that provide all our public services.
While community interpreters, those who work in community-based settings such as healthcare, legal, social services, and even courts, may not enjoy the bonus of early morning executive breakfast meetings, or touring famous sites with delegations, or even enjoying a free buffet lunch at conferences as conference or diplomatic interpreters might, the role does come with definite perks. An often-unrecognized benefit of working as an interpreter is the privilege of access to forbidden places – settings where the common citizen, unless personally affected, is unlikely to go, such as operating rooms, prisons, psychiatric wards, judges’ chambers, etc. While these places may not be glamorous or thrilling, the education they offer is undeniable. To be present, to witness (as a participant) how the events unfold, the protocols required, the ways in which the parties communicate with each other, the relationships and expectations involved – these nuggets of information and experience can never be learned in a classroom.
Becoming an interpreter provides a view into a professional realm that is often reserved for the professionals who work within. An interpreter, as a language professional, comes to share that space in their role as language and communication mediator, and comes to learn the inner workings of so many varied and unique places.
“I think the course is great and I highly recommend it. It opens doors for you. And if you are afraid with how everything works with agencies, this will explain a lot for you. You will have more confidence.”
Spanish | English Interpreter
In my earlier blog post on healthcare interpreting, I stated that, “the post-secondary education – the lessons and courses taken – to become a healthcare professional are taught as a formal program, but it is often the unspoken and informal that is most difficult to learn. There are no lesson plans for that, and the few intercultural or cross-cultural workshops that exist may still not provide in-the-field experience. The education of understanding a new system, creating new networks, observing how people interact with each other and with patients, that is an education that is best gained by doing”. This practical observation applies across professional and occupational roles.
Being bilingual or multilingual is a talent that we share with close to 60% of the worlds’ population but utilizing that talent, by gaining the education and training and working as an interpreter, launches that talent into something that not only brings you an income, but also gives you a view into other worlds. That insight–that valuable exposure–can bring you a return that you may never have even imagined.
Join us for a short-term course that packs a great big return!
See our Course Schedule here
In closing I leave you with the words of another Interpreter’s Lab student:
“I’m always very keen to learn new stuff. I wanted to see what’s in it – because I already knew English and Punjabi – what are the things that they’re going to teach me that I don’t know about? But once I got into it, then I found out the little I did know…. then you know how much you don’t know – interpretation, going into community settings, or health settings or legal settings… all the valuable vocabulary, there’s so much behind the scenes that you learn in such a little time. It’s just night and day.”
Punjabi | Hindi | English Interpreter