This week we would like you to meet Ms. Aracelys de Olivero, one of our hard-working interpreters specialising in English into Spanish and vice versa.
Have a look at our Q&A with Aracelys below!
RMC: Why did you decide to become an interpreter?
Aracelys: My father was a Trinidad national and my mother is Venezuelan . As a child my grandmother ran a boarding and lodging business from our home for Spanish-speaking students. I had to assist whether it was washing the dishes or cleaning the yard. My favourite “service” was interpreting for the tenants who would always seek my advice on the translation for the latest pop song. Sometimes my grandmother would even let me serve as a bilingual tour guide when a shopping trip was needed. It always amazed me to see two parties being able to understand each other because I supplied the necessary assistance.
RMC: Can you describe a working day in the life of an interpreter?
Aracelys: Unless you are called out for an urgent service, an interpreter’s day begins days before the actual job. Preparation is key. The interpreter is always early. One hour before the event starts he/she assures sure that all is in order depending on the type of interpretation needed. One must never assume that the client is aware of the interpreter's needs. Once the work begins, the adrenaline rush kicks in, there is no time for anything else but to focus on the speaker in order to understand and interpret as closely as possible. Control of voice is important. Audible and pleasant. Working with a partner is very useful especially if the workload is heavy and highly technical. Having knowledge of the topic is key here although good preparation will definitely pay off. At times an interpreter should make a decision on whether or not to accept the job if he/she is not skillful enough on the topic or has no knowledge of such. Many speakers forget or are not aware that there is interpretation ongoing and would continue to speak continuously without ceasing. This is a challenge, but the interpreter should never interrupt. Here is where the art of note-taking is also extremely important and your partner is also there to help. While one partner interprets the partner must be fully focused also to assist when the other needs support. Even during a break or during lunch hour, the interpreter’s services are needed if there is a request to continue discussions between interested parties. At all times the interpreter must be well dressed, courteous and very professional in his/her conduct.
RMC: What changes would you like to see in the field of interpreting in Trinidad and Tobago?
Aracelys: Firstly, recognition as a professional. This means a change in legislation. Reasonable fees. The right to be able to stamp and sign translated documents instead of presenting them to the only two government authorities in the country to proofread the document. Not all translators/interpreters have access to these authorities so they are denied the right to generate profit as sole traders. There are not enough interpreters in Trinidad and Tobago so therefore, I wish to see institutions offering interpreting/translation as a career and even giving short courses. One foreign language should be mandatory in primary schools. Partnering with other countries of interest should also be under discussion.
RMC: Is the profession afforded its due respect?
Aracelys: In accordance with what was previously stated in question 3, I believe that the profession is not respected.
RMC: How do you see the interpreting industry evolving in the future?
Aracelys: Trinidad & Tobago must come on board regarding regulations for interpreters/translators. The increasing entry of both legal and illegal migrants into Trinidad and Tobago and the CARICOM as a whole mandates that government take a close look at interpreting as a career Interpreters on the other hand must also be educated, well prepared and continue to endeavor to give professional service including translation equipment instead of leaving it up to the client .
RMC: How do you treat with cultural differences in the profession of interpreting?
Aracelys: Culture is always a controversial topic. The interpreter should be aware of the nationalities and culture of her audience, however at times it is still a challenge and so the interpreter should inquire if there is any doubt. If the interpreter errs and offends any culture, an immediate apology is necessary. Respect should always be shown toward all cultures.