Andrada works for several language agencies as a freelance Romanian/English interpreter and translator. She moved to the UK a year after graduating in Romanian and English language and literature in Romania and worked as a teacher and receptionist before turning to interpreting.
When my first daughter was born I took a career break then looked for part-time work I could fit around her nursery hours. After interviews with a couple of agencies I started my interpreting career doing face-to-face assignments in the community. These were mostly medical appointments and a few with probation offices. I found it very interesting and decided to pursue the work full time. After further agency tests I started doing police work and then telephone interpreting, as well as taking on some translation jobs.
The written and spoken language skills I developed during my studies and previous jobs have been vital to my current roles. My experience as a receptionist at a legal firm also taught me about diversity and other cultures, as it exposed me to clients from many different backgrounds. Interpreting requires a lot of attention, and I have to remain impartial and respect my clients' confidentiality.
Some of my face-to-face jobs, especially the medical ones, are booked well in advance. Police assignments, on the other hand, are always last minute so I need to be flexible and well organised. It's easy to refuse an assignment if the hours don't suit me, and telephone interpreting is very convenient because I can work 24 hours a day from the comfort of my own home. I fit it around my other commitments, usually logging on for a few hours in the evening once my children are in bed. When my second daughter starts nursery I want to do the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) so I can be added to the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) and get better-paid interpreting assignments in future.
I enjoy being able to work in my pyjamas at home, but it's the flexibility and diversity of the different assignments which I really love. I'm always curious to see who I will meet or what the next call will be about. I do find it hard to understand different accents sometimes, for example during some calls I receive from the US. It can also be challenging to stay strictly impartial when I'm dealing with unpleasant clients, but it's just part of the job.
Overall, interpreting can be a very rewarding career because you're breaking down language barriers to bring people together. Knowing that people are grateful for my help makes it all worthwhile. Working freelance with flexible hours has suited me, but the income isn't stable as it can take a while to get established, plus pay rates and the availability of jobs vary a lot. I would advise registering with several agencies and taking a professional qualification to improve your chance of getting enough work.
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