How to get your foot in the door as an interpreter
- Emily Hargreaves
- December 7, 2017
- 2,718 views
It is very common for aspiring interpreters to ask questions, and one of the questions they frequently ask is: “Will I be hired at a health center if I undergo a medical interpreter training course?” Well, you are very likely to be employed; however, there are many factors you need to consider.
A report from the 2016 U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that among the fastest growing professions, interpretation and translation stands at the front. However, it might interest you to know that interpretation is still relatively new, especially as a profession. Gone are the days when doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals would seek the assistance from a family member or friend for interpretation.
After getting qualified, what next?
It is not news that translation has become a serious business and one needs to be certified before officially offering translation services. The law has made translation an area of focus, banning the usage of interpreters that aren’t certified. Also, strong amendments have been made on language access standards. Nevertheless, with all these amendments, there is still a lack of information for beginners to learn about interpretation and what to know as a newcomer in the field of translation and interpretations. Well, the very first step to take as an aspiring professional interpreter is to be trained and certified. However, that alone isn’t enough; so what next?
Aspiring interpreters are usually enthusiastic, and immediately after completing a course, they begin searching for somewhere to practice. Some may complete a 40-hour course and run to a nearby hospital. Unfortunately, what they meet is usually unexpected, often being turned down, and asked to train more. Generally, a 40-hour course will not be enough to launch into the industry; you’ll need two years’ experience.
Interestingly, most interpreters begin their careers as contractors. To add to it, when you work as a contractor, there are many agencies that will collaborate with hospitals around you. Most of these agencies have contracts with several hospitals as well as doctor’s offices, clinics, rehab facilities, and other health care centers. With these agencies, you work on as-needed basis.
As a new interpreter, never undermine the experiences you gain while working as a contractor because they are priceless. These experiences are irreplaceable, and you just have to practice your fresh new skill set as a new interpreter. It will be of added value to you if you continue expanding your medical vocabulary and also broaden your understanding of the ethics and protocols of an interpreter. Additionally, this time spent working on a contract basis allows you to become familiar with the way a hospital operates. The last thing you need to look at, which is the most important of all, is your confidence level. Yes, you need to have a strong belief in yourself, and work on your confidence level.
Always have it at the back of your mind that staff interpretation isn’t the end goal, as there are many interpreters that prefer working as contractors for the flexibility and being their own boss. So sign up to become a Stepes interpreter, because we know that there are interpreters that will choose working as contractors over anything. With our training course for interpreters, you will get to know about the vast benefits of becoming a freelance interpreter.