I love my work.
I hope that shows in this blog. I want to give fellow interpreters and translators motivation, tips and training and solutions in my posts in Methodology and Doing Business. These will also help agencies and contractors feel that they are contributing to the success of this profession. I want to show attorneys, Judges and legal support staff how we work so that they can know that we support the judicial system at the same high standards they do. I will reveal the way people speak, ask and answer under certain conditions in posts in Communication Toolkit. And I want to share a little laughter with you with posts in the category You Can’t Make This Up …
For over 35 years I have worked every angle of this business. I started as a freelancer. Then I ran my company as an agency with a couple of dozen vetted subcontract interpreters and translators. I built up a large number of clients. As far back as the 1980s, I published scores of articles on my profession and I edited a series of text books on interpreting for a British publishing house. Then I became a contract worker managing interpreters for a global services company. I was hired away for a 9 to 5 job doing interpreting and translation work at a major international company and then at a federal agency.
I happily left it all to come back to freelancing. I now interpret at depositions, mediations, attorney client meetings and all court proceedings. I translate legal documents and evidence and I transcribe and translate audio/video recordings for law enforcement, district attorneys and federal and state agencies. I passed the tests and earned the security clearances required for three federal judicial and law enforcement language services contracts. Some clients I’ve had for decades. Others are newly formed T&I agencies run by people who weren’t even born yet when I started working. I teach continuing education courses required by the JBCC for aspiring and licensed court interpreters .
Over the years I have worked with judicial royalty and actual royalty. As the interpreter in depositions or investigations abroad. I have traveled in and out of territories shuddering fresh from civil war or in the midst of drug gang warfare. You will read about some of those experiences.
I love working with legal and law enforcement professionals. I love watching how they communicate and how they do their work. I come from a long line of lawyers including two Supreme Court Justices, so I understand them at times when most people don’t.
When I started there were no computers and we copied our invoices with carbon paper and marketing was paid advertising or cold calling. But my company grew. Back then, there was next to no training. I followed the training given to court reporters and sign language interpreters. Then I traveled to ATA conferences for training and now I am an instructor. I still take courses. I author articles on this work and how to work with us. I have edited three books on the profession of interpreting. I was elected the first administrator of the Interpreters Division of the American Translators Association and I learned about the interpreting experience around the world. I was very happy to see the Court Interpreters Law passed in Texas and around the country.
What should not matter about my professional qualifications is my nationality. I am American, in fact 13th generation American. I learned my languages living in Mexico, Central America and Brazil and raised my linguistic ability from that level through constant study. Yet, I and other American born interpreters face the disrespect of having our profession measured by our nationality or race. Interpreting and translation skill is not a birthright. Basic bilingualism is incomparable to the skills required to do this work. It feels strange having grown up with the civil rights movement and resulting social education in this country, that I have to tell people that Americans can be great judicial linguists as well as any other nationality. Yet my unique dedication to the American judiciary is deeply rooted in my heritage.
When I teach and lecture I draw on all my experiences, good and bad because we can always learn. And I can always hope I motivate you to build a better interpreting or translating experience for everyone involved, interpreters, translators and our clients.