Educate to Elevate! Raising the Bar In the Interpreting and Translating Fields

This blog is going to be written by me, Veronica Diquez, President and Founder of Lingua Duo, LLC. I am writing this because I am going to share my reasons for wanting to spend time educating future interpreters and translators and the experience I had while doing so.

First and foremost, I am completely dedicated to improve many things in this particular business. How we are portrayed, perceived, what they expect us to do, what we need to perform our duties and setting the right expectations right from the beginning for those who aspire to become interpreters and/or translators. This profession has a lot of growth ahead! However, some adjustments are needed, badly.

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Allow me to elaborate.

I had the privilege of being invited to give a presentation for students at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte (UNCC). These were Business Spanish students and many of them wish to become interpreters and/or translators. My presentation was pretty much a brief introduction of how, where and when they can start actively working in this wonderful field.

Why is this important, you ask? Well, if we start setting the right expectations from the very beginning, there is a much higher probability that these future professionals will start their journey into this field the right way. What’s the right way, you ask? Respecting the profession and, most importantly, the preparation and practice they need to start as of this very moment.

For instance, starting to apply for medical assignments through agencies that don’t have a proper hiring/evaluating process and putting patients at risk by doing so; assuming that being bilingual automatically provides the necessary skills for being an interpreter and/or translator. Keep something in mind: the people that suffer the consequences of dealing with unprepared interpreters are not those from the language service agency, or the doctor or lawyer. The people that most suffer the consequences of dealing with unprepared interpreters are the patients, the defendants, the victims…

It shocked me to see how surprised many of the students were about all of the different areas they could work in and how many tools are available out there in order to help their education and skill building. What shocked me the most, however, was their answers when I asked them “what would you do if” type of questions if they were working as interpreters. I set different scenarios in which the code of ethics within our field would come into place. Almost none of them took the appropriate action according to such codes. I want to clarify that they have never been taught or trained on the code of ethics, so there is no reason why they should have known this. This simply goes to prove that our instincts are typically against our code of ethics as interpreters. This is one of the major issues I have seen from untrained professionals in the field, and it is a serious problem.

I can write hundreds of paragraphs on this issue, but do not panic, I will not do that at this time. You can breathe now. What I will write about is how grateful I am to UNCC for inviting me and how grateful I am to those many, many professionals out there that offer all kinds of trainings for interpreters and translators. They share my very own passion of respecting and improving our profession.

Let’s continue to educate to elevate!

With the students!