Pass that Court Certification Test!

tony and javier pic

Hello dear students,

Fair warning: I am deeply excited and coming out fresh from an amazing training in order to get certified as a State Court Interpreter.

Before I continue, I want to thank Javier Castillo and Tony Rosado for an incredible workshop. Not only were they experts in the matter, but they personalized the training to our needs and gave us a lot more than what we paid for. If you ever need to complete a workshop, continuing education, or if you just want to improve your interpreting skills, I highly recommend that you participate in one of their classes!

Let’s continue. First and foremost, If you are interested in becoming a court interpreter, there are steps that you need to take in order to become one. There is one thing I guarantee on this: being bilingual is definitely not enough. As Socrates perfectly stated: “I know one thing: that I know nothing”. This is exactly how I left after the training. However, there is hope!

As I stated before, there is a process to follow in order to become a Certified State Court Interpreter in the State of NC. One of them is to pass a written and verbal examination. Once you are ready to start preparing, here is what I recommend:

  • Stay away from glossaries at first.
    • Glossaries are great, but they do not provide a context for you. Watch court trials (you can YouTube a lot of them), watch law TV shows, go to court in person and listen to how they speak….then, and only then, start to study the vocabulary, the phrases, the expressions, and all of the wonderful (and confusing) things that are said in court.
  • Practice! Do not rely on reading and being a walking dictionary of legal terms. Play a video of a trial and interpret it! Simultaneous, consecutive…all of it! You will be surprised how different it is to interpret in your head (we are all masters when we do this), from interpreting out loud. Practice makes perfect!
  • Read. A lot. Get a book related to law, maybe a book that law students are required to read. Understand the law. It is very hard to interpret concepts you do not understand and, take my word, there will be a lot of those in the courtroom.
  • Invest in yourself: go to a workshop. From personal experience, I just shaved off months of preparation by going to a 4-day class in which two experts shared all of their knowledge and expertise with me, provided studying materials, advised the best resources I should use and much more. Try to go in person.

I will be taking my written test at the end of this month. I will update you all on the results. As of now, I already started to prepare for the oral examination! It is never too early to start. Wish me luck!

Please, if you have been there done that, give us some advice on how you passed the examinations. If you want to get this certification and have any questions, please comment on this blog or send us a question here!

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Overcome the Newbie Fear: Prepare!

language ninja

My dear students,

I want to tell you how important it is, from personal experience, to prepare for your assignments once you start working as an interpreter. If you attended CATI’s conference last week, you will know how we, as interpreters, need to raise the bar. As we all should know by now, being bilingual is certainly not enough. As an interpreter, you have the responsibility of being well prepared so that your clients can communicate with each other while speaking different languages. You will make that communication possible. You are someone else’s voice. In case you didn’t notice, I am trying to make a point here: you are vital; your expertise is vital. 

If your first assignment is for a medical appointment, here is what you need to do: Research the medical facility and look for their specialty. Then, download a glossary of terms and make sure you study them, not just how to say them in your language combination, but what they mean.

As an interpreter, part of your commitment is to be a student for the rest of your life. Think about it: can you ever really learn every single word of a language? No way! You get the privilege of expanding your vocabulary, and your brain, every single day.

Below are a few of the tools and glossaries that I have found. Because of these tools, I have been able to do a great job (notice how I did not say a good job), as I was able to truly understand what the doctor was telling the patient, and I was able to communicate it using the correct terminology in my target language. I did not have to lower the register due to not being prepared.

Tools you can use:

If anyone has any other glossaries or tools that have been helpful, please share them! Let’s be a great support system for each other.

Now, go interpret your heart out!

 

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Conference Confessions: Intimidating, yet Powerful.

 

CATI’s annual conference is coming up! (yay!) So, I thought this would be a perfect time to share how important it is to attend these type of conferences if you want to learn, grow and further your career.

There is a concept called “sharpening the shaw”, taken from a book written by Stephen Covey, which is one of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This concept explains that you need to constantly preserve and enhance yourself since you are the greatest asset you have. Conferences help you learn from others that have been there, done that; they help you get inspired and come up with new ideas for your business and/or your personal growth; they help you improve your network: “you become who you associate with.”

I can write about one hundred pages of the benefits from attending conferences. However, since I do not feel like torturing you at this time (I am in a good mood today), I will tell you how attending my first CATI conference made a difference in my life. I promise it will be short and sweet.

I attended my first conference in 2016; I met about 10 people and exchanged cards;  one of these people referred me to an agency for a freelancing opportunity (thank you, Luz!); after I joined this agency, I met the owner; after I met the owner, I created a relationship with her; a few months later, I became the Marketing Director for this agency, hence landing my absolute dream job!

There you go. Simple and to the fact! Had I not attended the conference and met this person, there is no way I would have gotten this far, this fast. Not only that, but I met several other interpreters and translators that have been doing this for way longer than I have. They have been wonderful and are always willing to teach me, help me and guide me through my adventures.

Always be on the lookout for events that can help you grow personally, as a leader, as a business owner, as a professional, it doesn’t matter. You have to stay ahead of the game in order to standout and be your best. Conferences will certainly help you achieve continuous growth and excellence.

I cannot wait to see you all in April!

conference meme

 

 

 

 

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Great Business Resources in our Backyard!

sbtdc

Hello all,

Since I have started to do more research for my new adventure, being a Marketing Director, I have come across many different resources that I had absolutely no idea existed, and they are right here in NC!

Thanks to my very smart partner, we were able to get an appointment with two wonderful counselors from the  UNC Charlotte Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC). How much did that cost? Well, prepare to have heart attack: nothing! The service is absolutely free, and they can advise you on so many different subjects! Small business ownership, certificates, licenses, how to create a marketing plan, and so many more I don’t even know about yet.

After a one-hour meeting, I came out with a huge to do list for our business. Not only did they give us guidelines, but they also referred us to other companies that offer some of the services we need in order to grow. As if this wasn’t wonderful enough, they will help us throughout the entire process, and the only payment required is your gratitude.

This service is not only available in Charlotte, NC, which is where I live. You can contact the counselors from any of the UNC campuses across NC. I strongly encourage you to do so, as there might be many things that you are missing out on in regards to growing your business simply because you are not aware of them.

My future postings, dear interpreters and translators of NC, will be showing you some of the specific tasks I have completed because of the initial meeting I had with these two great counselors.

Click Here to access their website.

If you know of any other services or companies that offer assistance to small businesses, such as those from freelance interpreters and translators (yes, we are all small business owners), please share them!

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Back from the Dead…the Busy Student Interpreter

busy-student

First and foremost, I want to apologize for being absent for so long! Let’s just say that good things are happening, but they all happened at the very same time. Hey, this is just one one of the many lessons of growth, so I will take it in gladly!

I am now on a new chapter of my interpreting career, yet still a student at the same time. I am currently learning about note taking, legal translations, and much more. I enjoy every minute of it.

However, the most important subject I am learning at this time is marketing. Why you ask? Well, because I am finally changing gears and leaving my regular job in order to pursue my dream job: Marketing Director for an interpreting company. Yes, life is good! It is also crazy, busy, stressful, confusing, but so good!

Since I have not written anything for so long, I figured this post would update you on what was going on with me, the student blogger, and to ensure you that I will be writing again with useful, informational and great material from everything I am learning at this time. As for now, I will actually ask you, my dear readers, to help me with suggestions on how to sell our services, create leads, increase website views, better social media activity, create marketing materials, and all of the other fun stuff that goes into making a company go to the next level!

Please, I am eager to hear your suggestions and recommendations. Go!

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The Intimidating Task of Creating my Logo

logo blog

“Logos and branding are so important. In a big part of the world, people cannot read French or English–but are great in remembering signs” ― Karl Lagerfeld

If you have ever owned a business, or have worked as a freelancer, then you know exactly what I am talking about. You are not the only person that is doing what you are doing; there are many, many others out there; some of those other freelancers are a lot better than you are, simply for the fact that they have a lot more experience than you. The overwhelming beginning stage of promoting yourself can be intimidating when there is so much competition out there. However, us newbies need to look at it from another perspective: every single one of those seasoned, amazing and experienced freelancers started out the same way we did.

When it comes to starting your own freelancing adventure, there has been a common denominator from all the sources I have researched: create your brand. One of the most important aspects of this step is coming up with a logo for your business, in this case including the team of me, myself and I. Confession: I am a very impatient person, so I went ahead and sort of created a logo by myself, which I did not like. I realized quickly that my logo was something I was going to see every single day, that my clients would associate this image with my services, and that, eventually, many companies would come to know it as the image that represented my company, Quick Click Translations. Instead of using my brains for a change and hire a professional service, I created a second logo. I do not hate it, but I do not love it.

I just started listening to podcasts related to the translation business. I happened to come across a great one from Marketing Tips for Translators, hosted by Tess Whitty. The episode was titled “Outsourcing for Translators”, and the guest speakers were Corinne McKay and Eve Bodeux. All of the them agreed that outsourcing some aspects of your business, especially the ones that we know we are not good at, it’s not an expense, but rather an investment. If you read any entrepreneurial books, you will see that investing in the growth of your business is essential to your success.

The most important aspects of your branding, according to a class I took at the University of San Diego Extension, instructed by the wonderful Judy Jenner, are the following:

  • Value proposition
  • Message
  • Consistency
  • Repetition
  • Positive associations

I personally know a very young, vibrant and wonderful graphic designer. Her name is Claire Geary, and I am currently working with her in order to create my final and unique logo that will highlight my talents, personality and services. You shall see it once it’s ready!

What did it take for you to come up with your logo?

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My First Insight into Court Interpreting

wrong court interpreter

I decided to give myself a nice birthday gift this year, and there was nothing better than going to observe my mentor, Luz De-Castro Olaya, as she worked as a court interpreter! It was one of the few times I did not mind waking up very early in the morning, being that I am a night owl without a doubt, and not letting a little incident (cutting my finger almost to the bone), stop me from going to watch her and learn from her.

As I arrived at the Courthouse in Shelby, NC, I was excited and a tad nervous. In my mind, I pictured going into a high security building, with lawyers in suits walking all over the place like they owned it. As I went in, I was actually surprised to see how friendly all of the security guards were, and how laid back the environment was.

I entered the courtroom where Luz was waiting for me, and I saw her sitting right next to the court officials. At that point, I am thinking I am just going to sit where everyone else is sitting, so I proceed to do so. To my surprise, Luz calls me over to sit with her. All of the bailiffs were polite and friendly, and she introduced me to many of them. I loved the fact that she knew them, and was even cracking jokes with them! What a relief.

Finally, she gets called in to interpret. Contrary to the drama we all expect after watching movies that take place in courtrooms, the cases were short and to the point. However, witnessing the unspoken gratitude and relief from the people she interpreted for was far more exciting than all of those movies together. I cannot wait to work as an interpreter.

I want to say thank you to Luz, because that hour and a half that I spent with her increased my passion that much more. What interpreters do is not just a job, it is a passion, and it really does make a difference in people’s lives.

I would love to get some input, or comments, about how you felt the day you started to interpret, or the first time you witnessed an interpreter in action. Please share with us!

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