Being an Over-the-Phone or Onsite Interpreter is very challenging. An interpreter can help people communicate. Especially, interpreters must help patients to get proper medical treatments or legal advice. However, interpreters need lots of things to learn. They improve their skills and knowledge all the time.
We expect a lot from the knowledge of the second language, but it doesn’t give us the right to call ourselves interpreters. Experienced interpreters remember the lifehacks that helped them at the beginning of their careers. Here are some of them:
1. Get ready before meeting
When you check the details and get prepared before a meeting or shift, you feel more confident.
If you are an onsite interpreter, always get the address where the meeting is held, and where you should work. Check the time for a trip, places for parking, or opportunities to use public transport.
If you work online, check the platform for conferences, webinars, meetings, or calls. It is always a good idea to make a test call to be sure, that your camera, microphone, and headset work properly.
Take some time to refresh the vocabulary that can be used during your interpreting session. More information before you have about subject, speakers, companies or organizations – more effective will be your job.
Such details in preparation will save you time, money, and nerves.
2. Analyse previous experience and improve it
Make time to analyze your previous experience. It will help you to make conclusions about how to improve your job in the future. Don’t focus only on weak places and mistakes. Always take into account your strong skills and difficult cases where you performed successfully. This “homework” will help you to discover your strong characteristics and make them stronger, together with that you will see your weak places and improve them as well.
3. Ask for detailed instructions and follow them
When you are working for the agency, language provider (such as Homeland Language Services, for example), or even for an individual client, be sure that you know everything about your job position. Each of them has its own “rules of the game” and you should be ready to follow them. For example, agencies can ask for special reports or shifts, individual clients can provide the timetable of the meeting and vocabulary for it. You should be 100% aware of your responsibilities to get the work done.
Moreover, don’t forget to discover all the questions about your contract: salary, weekends and vacations and other vital conditions for you.
This way you will be on the same page with your employer or client initially.
4. Be a professional
Take one minute to think about what characteristics a professional interpreter should have. Add to them:
– improving the knowledge of Protocol
– continuous training
– development of emotional intellect and hard skills
– gaining certifications
– joining industry associations