While it’s been a few months since our last interview, we’re glad to once again feature an interpreter “In the Spotlight”.
If you’re unfamiliar with this post, the aim is very simple: to promote the great work achieved by our linguists!
We simply couldn’t do the work that we do without their assistance and so we feel it’s important to show our appreciation.
This month we’ve approached an interpreter who’s getting closer and closer to her 1000th cap: a truly incredible feat! On this occasion, we’d like to introduce Carmen Benson, and we couldn’t be happier to have her working with us. She’s a lovely individual who’s always been a pleasure to work with:
Carmen has worked closely with a whole host of co-ordinators since first starting with us; fortunately, anyone who encounters her has always had positive things to say about both her work and her attitude. However, rather than us rant on, why not take a look at the interview below? We hope you enjoy the interview. So, without further ado:
1. Hi Carmen, thank you for taking part in the interview: please, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live with my husband and my daughter in Manchester, a lively and cosmopolitan city, like my family. We love going on long holidays, I like reading, gardening, cooking and spending time with my family.
2. How long have you been working in your role, and what language/s do you speak?
I work as a Romanian to English interpreter and I’m also able to find my way in conversational Italian and French. I’ve been working with DA Languages since 2010, so I’m probably one of the longest serving interpreters.
3. What drew you to working in this industry? Did you always think interpreting would be the job for you? Would you use your skills in any other role?
After being a teacher and a media analyst in my native country, [undertaking] the occasional interpreting role, this job appealed to me as it fitted around my daily routine. I always enjoyed working with people and this industry offers me the opportunity to work with all sorts of people, but also has the diversity of venues, situations and characters, [but at] the same time, it also requires constant learning.
I never really thought of interpreting until I came upon the opportunity to work with a language agency. What I have learned in this job is ensuring that I understand better what people are trying to communicate.
4. Ilaria recently told us she once referred to you as “Lightning McQueen” because of the speed at which you accept and attend jobs (all to an exceptional standard of course)! Do you enjoy the pace at which you’re able to work and the challenge of balancing your work, day-to-day?
It’s in my nature to get stressed if I think I could be late for an assignment, so I always do my best to arrive on time. I like being busy and having a lot of bookings, even though I prefer the ones at the same location or the longer ones, as it saves the travelling time. At the same time, this kind of job gives me the flexibility to speed up or slow down, as well as work around my family and other activities that I get involved in.
5. How would you say the job has affected you personally? What do you feel you’ve learnt from your experiences?
I’ve been interested in health for a long time so, without becoming a doctor, I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot of new things. I’ve increased my knowledge not just with medical terms, but also legal and social aspects of life.
6. Do you have any advice you would give to anyone new starting in the language industry?
Be as accurate as possible! Try and put yourself in the other parties’ shoes: you’d personally want everything to be interpreted as accurately as possible so you’d have the best understanding, whatever the situation or the cultural differences. You wouldn’t want just a summary of what the professional has said, just as much as the professional doesn’t want the short version of a statement from their client. Accuracy is incredibly important!
7. What are some of the difficulties you have encountered on the job and how do you ensure you can resolve them? How do you find this differs between telephone and face-to-face interpreting?
Probably I’ve been lucky, as I haven’t been in a situation I’ve considered difficult. I think that being professional and having the confidence of knowing what you’re doing helps prevent difficult situations.
Personally, I prefer face-to-face interpreting as it’s easier to build a personal rapport between all the parties present at each particular meeting, even if most times it’s just a short appointment. As most of the assignments are of a medical nature, people feel a bit more at ease and consider that they are given the right amount of attention compared to when they have to talk through ‘a machine’. For me, it’s also easier to convey the emotional/cultural meanings that arise sometimes; for example, as in Romania, body language can play an important part in conversation.
8. How do you personally prepare for an interpreting session? Do you have a specific routine that you find helps to get you ready for an assignment?
I always check where the venue of the assignment is and make a plan for travelling, especially if it’s a new location or if I have more than one appointment that day. Now and then I also brush up on my medical or legal terminology.
9. You’ve completed nearly over 1000 jobs for the company, which is an amazing feat! What has appealed to you most of all about working with the team at DA Languages and staying with us for as long as you have?
I really like my job, meeting new people and never knowing if it’s going to be an ‘ordinary day’ i.e. if I’ll have the excitement of a baby delivery, or if I’ll be part of a serious, daunting conversation.
Working with DA has become better and better as the team has grown, so has my connection with the people working in the office. Even if we never meet with them, it’s nice to be able to put a name at the end of a text message you receive and build your own picture to match it. I’ve received assignments over the years from Debbie, Sarah, Raluca, Eabha, Rhys and for quite a good time now, from Ilaria, who’s always done her best to help whenever I’ve reached to her.
10. How would you describe your role in 3 words?
Impartial. Helpful. Important.
Nominate, review, contact!
We’re incredibly proud to have Carmen as part of our team, and it’s great to see her making such an amazing effort, day in, day out. She also clearly embodies the ideals we aim to establish within DA Languages, including patient/client awareness, as well as quality communication and organisation for every appointment, which is fantastic.
We aren’t going to stop there though: we’ve got more interviews to come early next moth. However, if you work with us, or know someone you’d like to nominate to feature ‘In the Spotlight’, then get in touch!
One thing we’re always keen to receive as well, is feedback! Without it, we couldn’t continue to improve and adapt our services for client’s and linguists alike. We’d also love hear from you, so please do get in touch via Facebook, Glassdoor, or write to us personally by visiting the page linked here. We endeavour to respond to every message that we receive.
Many thanks again to Carmen for taking part, and to our audience as well. We’ll be back soon!
Written by Rhys Pattimore
Title image produced with Snappa.com.