Portrait of Myrurgia Hernández
Prof. Myrurgia Hernández

– by Giovanna Lester © 2017

Our voice is an asset and we need to learn how to best use it to advance our goals.
Not all of us are set to be singers, but we are endowed with the power to communicate. And that can be done through sharing our knowledge (teaching) or conveying the messages of others (interpreting). Those activities expose us to other players in our market – colleagues and potential clients, for example. Many opportunities can arise from that.

To use our voices powerfully requires some practice and skills, such as voice projection and modulation.

The choice to become interpreters is one of constant learning. Interpreters are constantly studying and, hopefully, learning new subjects and our gusto for life leads us into more learning experiences. One of them is team work. Once in the booth, interpreters need to understand that the client sees a booth, not two professionals; our boothmate is a partner and if s/he fails, the booth fails. Learn to work together, not against each other.

However many boothmates you share your experiences with, that’s how many more referral opportunities for work you have. Your work affords you the opportunity to learn and meet new colleagues and potential long-term clients. Those are valuable connections: you can become a consultant and a source of referrals for clients.

The different types of assignment we find ourselves in also give us opportunities for acquiring and developing new skills and aptitudes. Those may lead to diversification in the type of work we do: we may become speakers ourselves, trainers, event consultants, specialize in a certain type of interpreting rather than on a field.

There are two other great benefits to our profession; we learn to manage stress better, which enhances our leadership abilities.

Our love for our work can lead us into situations that are not necessarily good for us. Our bodies have limitations and we need to educate our clients on the stress we are placed under in the workplace. Our rights are not well known outside of our field. As AIIC states*, interpreting is for immediate consumption, therefore if a recording is desired, it is necessary to have that spelled out in the contract to meet the terms of the Berne Convention*. We have physical needs too – water, proper ventilation, comfortable work environment, proper lighting, proper food – coffee is okay, turkey sandwiches are not, water is great, herbal teas and honey are wonderful.

In the end, as Myrurgia clearly stated, “Your voice will take you as far as your knowledge allows.”

Start learning. Start practicing. The journey is a foot.

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* Recording, Consent and Copyrights: What we need to know by Giovanna Lester ©2012

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