It takes more than a good pay and favorable working conditions to keep someone happy with their job. To be happy with your job, means to love what you do and to be very good at it.
Early on in their career, young people entering the labor market often opt for a job that brings them a sense of moral and financial security. Further down the road, as they learn, gain experience and grow, they slowly start venturing outside their comfort zone in search of more challenging work opportunities. I believe my career path was not any different. Looking back at those years (at the risk of giving the wrong impression that I’m very old), I realize that it was rarely a smooth ride. But this is not the wailing wall and I am not here to lament or complain. I’m here to share some thoughts on how fun a job can be when you love it and wake up every day loving it a little more.
So I am an interpreter. Although sometimes I have to explain to people what an interpreter does and what the difference between an interpreter and a translator is, I still believe that being an interpreter is one of the most interesting jobs ever for one thousand and one reasons of which I will mention only a few!
The topics and the people you work with are endlessly diverse. Every conference, every assignment, every work setting is different. Sometimes, you work in a booth, sometimes you follow someone like their shadow to be their eyes and ears in another language. Sometimes you are in no man’s land, sometimes you are in a VIP, heavily guarded government building. You never know what’s coming next, but you anticipate. You have to be prepared to deal with any unexpected turn of events. One day, you are in a conference on water resources, one day you are discussing rocket science literally. One day you hear a dialect from a country you’ve never heard of before. One day you are live on national TV to cover a major political event, then the next you are working incognito in a God forsaken place where your critical role is to facilitate communication about major decisions to be made.
As an interpreter, you get to travel and see the world. You discover a new place every time. And even if your travels take you to the same places, you end up finding a familiar environment away from home. Without even trying, you start bonding with the places you visit and the people in it. You even make new friends, in the air and on the ground. And the possibilities here are endless (worthy of a separate piece!)
Being an interpreter gives you many privileges. It gives you exposure and boosts your self-confidence. I bet every interpreter during their career has had their own moment(s) of fame, their moment under the spotlight. I know I have, many times. Needless to say it’s rewarding and self-fulfilling.
I could go on forever about why I love this job and the diversity and opportunities it brings. Perhaps the main reason why I love it is because I am good at it. Even when it gets rough, tough and ungrateful as is the case in many other professions, I wake up every morning not wanting to do any other job in the world. And, in my moments of professional glory, I often say to myself, I’m lucky because I love this profession as much as it loves me.
Our job defines us to a large extent. Becoming an interpreter has defined the greatest part of me.