BECOME AN INTERPRETER
Gillian, English-French interpreter
To be honest, it was always a dream of mine to become an interpreter.
I loved learning foreign languages at school, even teaching myself Swahili during one long summer holiday, and interpreting seemed to sum up all the mystery and excitement that foreign languages held for me.
I finally got to achieve my dream in my mid thirties. After having three children, I decided that I needed a job so why not at least try to do what I had always yearned to do?
It took three years of evening classes and non stop hard work and practice at the same time as I was bringing up the family, with luckily the unfailing support of my husband, but in 1996 I got my coveted diploma from one of the top interpreting schools in Paris.
I have always had an aptitude for languages and an interest for intercultural exchanges. While Spanish is my mother tongue, I have been exposed to foreign languages and cultures from a very young age. As a teenager I could already speak English, French, Italian and Portuguese.
When I was 14 years old I attended a guided visit to the United Nations Headquarters in New York where I discovered its role in maintaining international peace and security, in promoting social progress and human rights. That visit triggered my decision to become a conference interpreter and translator.
I was already involved in different activities related to the Civil Society and I was often required for my linguistic skills. Therefore I started to curtail my projects and studies in that direction.
I attended Bologna University in Italy, the Sorbonne in France, as well as Vigo and Barcelona Universities in Spain. I spent some time working in London, which allowed me to carry out a full immersion in those countries.
After graduation, I moved to France to complete a postgraduate course at ISIT in Paris.
Upon completion of my training I was selected for an internship, to work for the NOC of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens as an interpreter.
When I returned to Paris I chose the private sector to launch my career because it exposed me to a wide range of fields.
In 2006 I took a competitive exam to qualify for a Staff Interpreter position for Eurokorps in Strasbourg, France. In 2007 I was offered a position there. After a year and a half I left Eurokorps to return to my full-time free-lance activity.
Currently I work at high-level as a translator and interpreter for different international organizations (such as the UNESCO, WHO, the OECD or UN agencies), ministries (Foreign Affairs, Education, Justice, Transport, etc.), embassies, government agencies and multinational companies. I also collaborate with many international NGOs on a voluntary basis and I am a member of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC).
What I like most from my job is working in so many different contexts and with so many different people, touching very different fields of expertise and adapting to all of them. I enjoy acting as a bridge between different cultures and I feel interpreting makes me learn a great deal every day. Even though it has different drawbacks, such as the uncertainty of what’s going to happened next and travelling so much, I do love my job.