This is my very first blog post, and I'm writing with a heart full of appreciation and gratitude. Thank you, all of my clients. I thank you because I wouldn't be running this business without you. But more importantly, I appreciate that you've given me the opportunity to work with you. Every new project, assignment, and class is the beginning of a relationship. The moment you choose to do business with me, our relationship embarks. I'd like to take this opportunity to remember a few clients in particular, who made my job particularly fulfilling, and who have truly been a delight to serve.
Thank you, all of my clients.
Interpretation is hard work. It requires the interpreter's full concentration. It gets even harder when the stakes are high, for example, when you interpret in court. What the witness says in Mandarin doesn't count—what enters into record is the English interpretation. But most of the time the interpreter works behind the scenes and isn't noticed. The best interpreters are like actors: the audience doesn't realize the interpreter is interpreting. The interpretation should be so natural that it seems like the CEO, kindergarten teacher, or domestic violence victim who just spoke is now speaking Mandarin in the same manner, register, and tone. So it's a good sign when no one says, "I need to talk to the interpreter," because an interpreter should disappear. However, that means our work can go underappreciated. That's why I always remember whenever a client says, "Thank you for your work," or "You did a great job," or even just gives me a nod or a handshake of appreciation.
I recently had the honor to work with Judge Keith Gregory with the Wake County District Court in Raleigh, North Carolina. I've traveled to many counties in North Carolina for court hearings and trials, and generally judges are very appreciative of my help. But Judge Gregory really stands out—not at first, though. In fact, I didn't even realize he was the judge. Since when does a judge, before a trial starts, come down from behind the bench, unrobed, to greet and introduce himself to the interpreters? But Judge Gregory did. In fact, he was so considerate of our work that he often reminded the attorneys to speak loudly and allowed us to move freely across the courtroom and to interrupt at any time for clarification, so that we could do our job accurately and with ease. Not only that, he twice picked up the phone after trial to tell our supervisor how much he appreciated our work and repeatedly thanked us for our services. It's people like him who remind me that the stressful moments during the day and the exhaustion at the end are for a good cause—to serve a client, and to serve them well.