Here at Rapport International we believe that our greatest assets, what makes us stand out from the rest, are our professional interpreters and translators. They are the best in the business, and we’d like to share their stories. This month we are spotlighting RD (name withheld for privacy), an interpreter based in Massachusetts, who has been with Rapport International for over two years. In RD’s own words:
What languages do you speak fluently?
Besides, English, Portuguese. I am also learning French.
What is your background?
I am a native of Brazil. I moved to the US right after my 21st birthday. My first encounter with the English language was at middle school, and the emphasis was mainly on grammar and reading. Therefore, I had a thick accent and my English was unabashedly broken. To improve it, I took all the ESL classes available, including a 3 month Intensive English Program in New York City. I was thrilled when I passed the SAT test and started working towards my associates degree, which I graduated from 3 years later with honors. In May of 2004 I graduated from the Suffolk University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
Why did you become an interpreter?
In the beginning, even with improper training, lack of skills, and still having trouble with the English language, I was constantly asked by my peers to interpret for them at the local court house, hospitals, job interviews, etc. There were no professional interpreters available at any of these places, but the demand was there. So, I decided to become just that, a professional interpreter, to fill the need my community had.
How are you qualified as an interpreter?
I have been doing interpreting in some form since I moved here in 1986. However, in order to become a professional Interpreter, I went back to school in 2009 and by the spring of 2011 I had satisfactorily completed all the course requirements of the Medical Interpreter Certification.
What joys do you get from helping others in your interpreting, or in the community?
When you reach out to help others, gratification and fulfillment naturally follow. I love the fact that I am a bridge between the patient and the medical provider, relaying critical and even life-saving information to those in need. It is gratifying to know that I make a difference in the lives of others.
When it comes to clients, what advice do you have-or what mistakes have you seen clients making when working with an interpreter?
Please remember that non-verbal language varies from culture to culture and do not make assumptions based on your own cultural norms. Avoid using idioms, jargons or technical language that may be difficult to interpret or understand. And please, do not hold the interpreter responsible for what the patient says or doesn't say.
When it comes to patients, what advice do you have, or what mistakes have you seen patients making when working with an interpreter?
Please remember that interpreters must treat all information learned during the interpretation as confidential. We will not use the information acquired in the course of official duties in other ways to further our own personal interests or the interests of a friend, relative, or business association. Trusting your interpreter and disclosing all the important facts will aid in a thorough evaluation of your health.
What other interesting things would you like to share about yourself personally?
I am a full time Realtor, and a volunteer at the Hospice Services of Massachusetts. I love to cook and I have a passion for traveling, which I believe is an amazingly underrated investment in yourself.
What other interesting things would you like to share?
As an interpreter you get to help people using your hard-learned language skills, you get to see the relief on peoples’ faces when they are able to communicate in their native language in a foreign country. You feel like you're making a difference, that your skills and knowledge are depended upon.
All jobs come with challenges, so we should instead focus on solutions. If you’re an interpreter, remember to take every experience as a learning opportunity, to continually improve on your skills. You’ll see the outcome soon enough.
We hope you enjoyed reading RD’s story. Join us again to meet another one of our extraordinary professionals, the heart and soul of Rapport International.
Rapport International is a full-service interpreting and translation company. We provide high-quality, professional in-person interpreting in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska and surrounding areas, as well as in Massachusetts, and through New England.
Translation services are available worldwide. Please contact us for assistance and guidance with your interpreting and translation needs.