Interpreter Spotlight: Meet Luisa Alvizu
Luisa Alvizu is a Spanish language interpreter in medical settings. This is the latest in our series of blog posts highlighting the variety of careers available in the field of interpreting, and the variety of professional language specialists who work as Liberty interpreters.
How long have you been working as an interpreter, and in what languages?
I am new to the field: I began working as a Spanish language interpreter in medical settings in September 2021.
Why did you choose this profession?
I was looking for a job in which I could use my medical background, my language skills as well as my passion for helping people. Interpreting combines all three for a perfect fit!
How did you get started as an interpreter?
A good friend of mine told me about Liberty Language Services and advised me to inquire about their training courses. After calling and inquiring, I chose to take Liberty’s 40-hour, online Professional Medical Interpreter training course, started working with them, and the rest is history!
Do you remember your first interpreting assignment?
I can’t forget it! It was at a rehabilitation hospital in Tacoma Park, MD. It is really far away from my house, and still I accepted it…I was ready to start! After that day, I knew I found my professional niche, my new career.
How do you prepare for your assignments?
I found the most important thing is to have my vouchers ready the night before. I check to be sure my badge is with me and calculate the time needed to arrive at the location at least 10 minutes before the start time. A former professor told me once: “If you are early, you are on time; if you are on time, you’re late!”
Do you recommend any app or tool that is helpful for new interpreters?
The only app I use is a Spanish English dictionary, for those times when I need to be sure I use a medical term or other word correctly.
How do you develop and maintain your professional skills?
I develop and maintain my skills by practicing with the consistent intention of improving with each assignment. I keep a notebook with me and write down words or questions when they emerge, and go back later to review if needed. Liberty’s variety of courses on interpretation are also important tools to grow into this career.
What do you think is the most important thing you should do to be a successful interpreter?
I think it’s really important to maintain an objective, caring and professional presence throughout every assignment; treat the opportunity that has been given to us with honor and respect for the patient and provider; and last but not least, remember that what we do is very important, since we become a bridge of crucial information to be delivered with accuracy.
What would you like changed or improved in the interpreting industry?
Unless we find a full time job, which is rare, we don’t have stability and benefits. The standards for training and choosing interpreters should be closely observed and followed, and I believe supervision of on-site performance could help with quality of service.
What was the most memorable interpreting experience you’ve had?
There is uniqueness in every assignment. Every provider and client are different, as well as the different settings and situations. It may sound funny, but at the end of every day, I meditate on the lesson I get from every experience as an interpreter, and believe me, there is always something new. I tell my children that I found a profession where they pay me to feel happy with myself and with what I do. Isn’t it amazing?!