I have been a professional interpreter for almost 15 years. I am accredited at the European Institutions and I am a certified community interpreter. Right now I live in Brussels. So much for the dull basic facts.
I love interpreting, all facets of interpreting. I find it truly fascinating and exciting, both sitting in a booth and interpreting heads of states or world leader, and sitting together with a client in the court or at the hospital. I regularly experience that I make a difference which is of course very rewarding. Not to mention the adrenaline boost you get when you open the microphone or walk into the courtroom. I am a person of the spoken word, not the written word (which is obvious to readers of the blog).
I became an interpreter by chance, (I’ll get to that later in the list). When I studied to become a teacher (a thousand years ago), I feared waking up every day for the next 20 years and knowing exactly what my day would look like. The fact that I now work as a freelance has effectively remedied that, although that was not the only reason to become an interpreter of course.
I did not grow up bilingual, I started studying languages fairly early at school, but it was by no means a bilingual education. Maybe I can label myself bilingual today, but I have difficulties doing that since “bilingual” in interpreting “lingo” means that a person masters at least two languages equally well, and not only well but to high academic perfection and not the least that you can interpret both to and from the languages of course. I mostly interpret into my mother tongue, occasionally into English.
Four years ago I decided to start writing a PhD in interpreting. I wanted to combine the two worlds that I like so much, the interpreting world and the academic world. I am now at least halfway through and hope to finish my PhD in about two years time. I study expertise in interpreting. How interpreters develop expertise and if there are expert interpreters. This sounds harsh; wouldn’t interpreters be experts? of course they would. The expert concept though is a concept from psychology, it is a concept explored by psychology professor Karl Anders Ericsson among others. It is experts in those terms I’m looking for.
This post is part of a list, 30 days of interpreting. You can see the whole list here.