Staff members at Millbank found out because I was helping people. I was there for three months. There was a lady from the Refugee Council. She asked, “Do you want to study to become an interpreter?” The course was 12 weeks and I finished on June 25 this year. I started working with Clear Voices in Dover immediately.
I interpret mostly for asylum seekers and I get a lot of calls every day – up to 20. I just want to relax between them because it’s too much when you have your own problems and listen to other people’s problems. I’m trying to separate them.
Language is important. When you don’t have it, you need to have somebody – a lot of people don’t know how to talk. I am gifted with that and I am trying to help as much as I can.
I hope that I wake up not too tired because you have to be in the mood for interpreting. If you are not in the mood you will not find the right words. It’s a bit frustrating when you’re tired and you keep doing it.
You need to focus. And sometimes you need to change the words because if I translate exactly what you’re saying, the service provider will not even understand.
It’s not always finding the right words, it’s delivering the message because interpreting is not just about translating, it’s about the message
For example, if somebody is giving you a letter to translate, you don’t translate exactly all the words, you just deliver the message.
I read the newspapers and listen to and engage with people. This is helping me a lot with my English and interpreting. My girlfriend helps me a lot, as do my English friends in college.
At this moment I want to finish my studying, because interpreting is something I am gifted with, but mechanics is something I love. I want to be a mechanic in future and if possible I want to start volunteering when I get the chance when I have everything – by everything I mean when I work as a mechanic and I have my own place, and then I want to do volunteering with organisations to help people who need it, because it’s very difficult for people who don’t understand or speak the language.
When you can help people, you feel like you’re somebody and you feel people need you.
As told to Becky Barnes
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