Welcome to the November edition of “In the Spotlight”: our linguist interview segment.
This month we’ll dive into the world of a French British Sign Language interpreter who has completed over 130 bookings with DA Languages so far!
Hi Rabira! Thank you for making the time for this interview, firstly could you tell us a little about yourself.
Bonjour! My name is Rabira and as you might have gathered from my greeting I speak French fluently being a native from the country of cheese & wine. However my heritage is Tunisian which made me naturally bilingual from a young age. I learnt English from a young age at school and have always had a special love for this gorgeous language.
How long have you been working in your role, and what languages can you speak/translate?
My family background triggered my love for languages and people, which drew me to my adoptive city 20 years ago. Great London! I then decided to learn British Sign Language and started in 2007. In order to become a fully qualified English/BSL interpreter I dedicated 11 years of my life.
Yes, the journey to become a BSL interpreter is not the fastest. But since I started working as a freelancer 5 years ago, I never looked back! It’s undoubtedly a well worthy investment and I am proud to have made a fantastic, exciting & rewarding career out of my passion.
What drew you to working in this industry and what is it about British Sign Language work that you enjoy the most?
The love I have for languages and people was the perfect combination for me! I aspired to become an interpreter from the moment I “fell” into Sign Language. To be an English/BSL Interpreter was my call! The challenges of handling my two favourite languages whilst coping with the dynamics the different bookings present keep me going.
I feel very privileged humbled grateful to be doing something that makes my heart grows a bit more every day
What do you enjoy most about work in this industry and why?
Meeting people, going to different places and the variety of different bookings. The challenges interpreting holds, the constant growth of knowledge and to be a freelancer are all aspects that I love. I feel very privileged, humbled and grateful to be doing something that makes my heart grows a bit more every day.
How do you enjoy working as a freelancer? Do you feel it gives you freedom and control to be your own boss?
Absolutely! I wouldn’t have it otherwise. MY own timetable. MY own decisions as to accept a booking. I feel I finally have full control of my life.
How would you say the job has affected you personally? What do you feel you have learned from your experiences?
As an interpreter, one constantly learns and grows from every booking. I feel I gained more insight, that I stretch my patience, enhanced my knowledge and gained in confidence.
Do you have any advice you would give anyone new starting in the language industry?
Attend interpreting training. This was the turning point for me and I only became professional after that. Training is essential like any other trades. You wouldn’t go to a doctor if you knew they didn’t go to medical school would you? Training helps you to develop as a person, as a professional and give you the tools to be assertive and confident in what you do.
What are some of the difficulties you have encountered on the job and how do you ensure you can resolve them?
One needs to have coping strategies in place hence the importance of completing a training and getting regular supervision. Breathing exercises also help a lot.
Attend interpreting training. This was the turning point for me and I only became professional after that.
You’ve completed lots of booking for DA Languages. What has appealed to you most of all about working with the team at DA Languages?
For me it’s all about the rapport built up with the booking coordinator and not so much about the agency itself if I’m honest. I work for a lot of agencies so when I encounter someone with integrity, professionalism, friendliness and efficiency, that’s exactly what I’m looking from a booking coordinator.
I was lucky to cross path with Aida to begin with; simply outstanding! She moved elsewhere and I then interacted with Emma who is also marvelous at what she does!
How would you describe your role in 3 words?
Challenging, exciting and rewarding.
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We’d like to thank Rabira once again for taking part in our interview and being so generous with his time. We look to build relationships and support our linguists, and look forward to hopefully many more years of working with Rabira.
For now, you can look forward to another interview coming next month, but be sure to keep an eye out for all sorts of other content too!
Finally, if you’re interested in our services, take a look here for more information: we’d be happy to assist with your own Interpreting or Translation needs!
Written by Andrew, DA Languages Marketing & Content Manager | Andrew.Tattersall@dalanguages.co.uk | Say Hi! on Linkedin