A couple of months into my graduate work, unable to understand what was happening to me, I pulled up Google and searched: Does grad school make you depressed? Shortly after, I melted down and confessed to my now-husband, “I don’t know if I can do this.” Until that moment, I’d been his happy-go-lucky girlfriend. I’d been a confident interpreter and boss of a large language services department. Having overcome some big obstacles, being on top of my game for many years, there hadn’t been anything I couldn’t do. That out-loud confession of feeling not-able-to was a turning point, the beginning of an unraveling. Continue reading “Time to Put on Pants”
I used to teach first-year Spanish for undergrads and their first project was to fill out a student profile. I asked them why they’d signed up for Spanish, and without fail, every one writes some version of how it seems “useful to know a little Spanish”. Some even may say they plan to add a Spanish minor and “be fluent”. I admire their ambition. I don’t have to tell them that after all this time (20+ years), I still question my fluency at times and it’s not that simple, because it doesn’t take them long to figure it out themselves. Continue reading “A Little Spanish”
When I started this blog in 2012, I was thinking of applying to graduate school, and a friend told me that I should start to develop an online presence to give myself an edge over other applicants. He told me an easy way to do that was through blogging. Easy! Ha.
I’m not sure if it gave me an edge applying to grad school, but I did learn that it’s not actually that easy, and if you do it right, a blog can work for you in ways that you hadn’t thought of. My blog is something I hold very dear. It’s something I created from nothing, that I can share and use to connect with others. It’s followed me through lots of ups and downs. Here, I’m sharing with you the highlights of what I’ve learned in 8 years of blogging.Continue reading “What I’ve Learned in 8 Years of Blogging”
Known for his “troublesome” pushing back against the status quo, Dr Jonathan Downie structures Interpreters vs Machines: Can Interpreters Survive in an AI-Dominated World?— his second book — as a game, and invites us to play.
OK, I’m in.
He speaks from his experience as a researcher and conference interpreter, but from the beginning he brings us all into the fold– spoken and signed language interpreters in every setting. No matter where we’re working, we’d all do well to pause and reflect on how we understand and talk about our work. The fundamentals of what we do and how we talk about it to clients also seem relevant to my previous work in running an interpreter services department in the healthcare setting, where even though in theory, the services were required by law and hospital policy, in practice, we still very much had to sell interpreter services (even though the service came at no cost to the users!).Continue reading ““Getting It”: One Interpreter’s Reflections on Jonathan Downie’s Interpreters vs Machines“
As a freelance Spanish interpreter working in legal, court, and conference settings, my days vary. A lot.
A bit of background first: I’ve been in the freelance market for two years now, and it’s been three years since I finished my graduate work in interpreting. Before grad school, I worked as a staff interpreter and an interpreter services supervisor for about ten years. Before that, I worked as a subcontracted interpreter for an agency for a couple years while I was finishing my bachelor’s degree in Spanish, and for a while after I finished undergrad. So while I’m not new in interpreting, I’m still pretty new as a freelancer.Continue reading “A Day in the Life of a Freelance Interpreter”
Somewhere near the beginning of this semester, I took up swimming lessons. A few sessions in, my teacher introduced the breast stroke. “Arms, legs, and gliiiide”, she told me. But I couldn’t get my arms and legs right for the glide. She told me the breast stroke is a resting stroke. But it was so effortful, just to move forward a tiny bit. My shoulders hurt. My neck hurt from holding up my head when I felt like I was pulling myself underwater so long I couldn’t come up for a breath. Continue reading “Swimming, Interpreting, and Reflexions On Experiential Learning”
During grad school, when I was living in Toronto and constantly traveling back and forth between the US and Canada, I got used to this question as the customs agent saw the student visa in my passport: What are you studying? It took me a while to come up with a short answer, because when I said, “conference interpreting”, I was just met with more questions about what conference interpreting actually is, as if I’d made it up. Continue reading “Yes, conference interpreting is a thing”
At my first job as a hospital staff interpreter, my colleagues would scold me because I would never saludar–say hello–at the beginning of the workday (I will just never be a morning person). They’d also razz me because I’d never despedirme–say goodbye–at the end of the workday when I’d leave to go home. I’d just slip out quietly, usually after a very tough and very busy day of healthcare interpreting. La despedida–the goodbye, the farewell–has never been my strong suit.
Earlier this year, in July, I said my goodbyes to the house that I bought the summer I turned 30 and then rented out this summer–the summer I turned 40. So many great (and not-so-great) parts of my life unfolded in that house, but I know that I can keep all those parts of my life and all those memories without still living in the house. I don’t need that house anymore. Somebody else lives there now, but after I left I’d still catch myself just about to suggest dinner or drinks at my favorite neighborhood haunts. But, I’m not there anymore. Farewell, house. Farewell, neighborhood. Farewell, all the places where I met with friends, debriefed after a rough day, plotted and schemed, planned so many of my next moves–including grad school and my move to Toronto–over drinks. Continue reading “La Despedida (The Farewell)”
I went on holiday this March. That Interpreter’s holiday? “Well, you know, 2012 was a crap year for me and I came here to mark a new beginning for myself.” This is what I was thinking when someone at the yoga retreat in Costa Rica asked me how I’d ended up there. From experience, I know that this kind of answer makes people uncomfortable, so I went with the more palatable, “I just needed some time away from work.”
Who doesn’t? Continue reading “That Interpreter’s Holiday”
(Spoiler Alert! That Interpreter believes in Christmas miracles.)
How do you say, “Christmas miracle” in Spanish? OK, it’s meant to be a rhetorical question, but if you wanna leave your Spanish-language (or any-language!) version of “Christmas miracle” in the comments, go for it. And in turn, I’ll give you my version of “Christmas miracle”.
Albert Einstien said (or wrote?), “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Continue reading “Christmas Miracles?”