A job to remember

I wish all interpreting gigs were as special as the one I had a few months ago.

I was called to go the Spanish Public Network to interpret an interview to Bishnu Kumari, a young Nepalese woman who was forced into slavery when she was just a girl, and whose intelligence and character I found to be profoundly awe inspiring. I had to chance to be with her a few hours before the interview and hear how she escaped such dreadful situation thanks to the support of an NGO. She is now a community leader who raises awareness on the kamalari system, the type of slavery she suffered. She works with other women who were also kamalaris, has her own radio program and is studying to become a lawyer. Behind her sweet appearence lies a strong and tireless spirit. I’m not really sure whether the interview was able to convey all of this, it is up to you to judge.

From a purely technical standpoint, what was the main challenge here? The accent. Although her English could be tricky, I have interpreted enough Indians as to be somewhat familiar with the English sounds from that part of the world. But I think it was she who had the hardest time with my American accent. I was even adviced to use a more Spanish accent in English! Funny enough, it’s not the first time that I’m asked to sound “less native”. Fortunately it all turned out well because of the couple of hours that we got to spend together, chatting and becoming familiar with each other’s voice and way of speaking. Something as simple as that can sometimes save the day.

A beautiful job, it made me remember why I chose to be an interpreter.

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