Interpreter Spotlight: Meet Jorge Escobedo
This is the fifth in a series of Liberty Language Services Blog posts highlighting the variety of careers available in the field of interpreting, and the variety of professional language specialists who work as interpreters.
How long have you been working as an interpreter?
A little over 6 years.
Why did you choose this profession?
Since I was little I was exposed to different languages and was always inclined to seek a profession where I would be able to use my language skills.
How did you get started as an interpreter?
I was referred to Liberty Language Services by a family member who had used their services in his workplace and he thought it would be a good fit for me. I had just moved to the area and was job hunting. My translation background gave me the confidence to try it. I’ve loved it ever since.
Do you remember your first interpreting assignment?
While I don’t remember exactly the subject of my first assignment, I do remember I was very nervous about the idea of going into a very personal appointment as a complete stranger. And I remember being so relieved after the experience because of how useful and important I was for both parties. I immediately understood in real life the importance and the need of our profession.
How do you prepare for your assignments?
It depends on the assignment. Some of them are very straightforward and don’t need much preparation, some of them are special assignments that do require a lot of prepping, and I usually study the subject of interpretation for those. I prepare well in advance if I know I will be interpreting for a conference, particularly if it is a simultaneous event. I tend to ask for the subject of interpretation in advance (if not provided) and do my research and homework, finding difficult terms and creating a glossary so that I can be ready for the assignment.
Do you recommend any app or tool that is helpful for new interpreters?
I don’t have a specific preference in tools for interpreting. I like to use WordReference if I have doubts about a specific word or its use in different sentences. I also use this when translating documents.
How did you develop and maintain your professional skills?
Keeping myself very busy, reading a lot and constantly utilizing the three languages I work in, and researching “dos and don’ts” of interpreting.
What do you think is the most important thing you should do to be a successful interpreter?
One of the most important things one can do to be successful is work hard on your memory and retention skills. You need to develop that and be extremely focused, pay a great deal of attention to every detail, master your language skills and be very confident about them.
What would you like changed or improved in the interpreting industry?
By the nature of our job, we are a profession that operates sort of in the background. We try to be almost invisible in order to deliver a great flow in conversations. That being said I feel sometimes our profession itself is also a bit invisible. I would love for our profession to be a little more noticed and recognized.
What was the most memorable interpreting experience you’ve had?
It’s hard to choose one. I would say interpreting for Johns Hopkins International, because I always have the opportunity to meet extraordinary physicians there. These are pioneers who are doing so many great things in the medical field and I always learn from these experiences.