Just Interviewed for a Job with Language Line

I've been dealing with Arabic for a while now (coming up on 4 years) and I feel like I'm decent at it so I applied for a job with Language Line. They are a company that deals with over the phone interpretation. Companies such as banks, police offices, and utility companies will contract with them to interpret for customers who don't speak English. It seems like it would be a fun job where you would learn something new every day, so I thought I would apply. Now I can't interpret as well as the guys on Al Jazeera who can listen to what is being said and interpret it while it is still being said, but if someone says a sentence and then stops talking I can translate that sentence into English or Arabic. The fact that there are people who can translate while a person is continuing to talk amazes me and I can only hope to be able to do that one day. I don't like to limit things to bilingual people (people who grew up with 2 languages), but for that type of thing I think having grown up with 2 languages might be required.

Anyway, I just got off the phone with a lady who was doing my language assessment to see if I qualified to be an interpreter between Arabic and English. I think things went fairly well. She asked questions like, "Can you tell me how to get from your house to your work place?" and "Can you describe some TV shows that you watch?" I didn't make any blaring mistakes except when I was role playing a bystander who saw a car crash happen I said "there was a lot of cleaning" instead of "there was a lot of bleeding". The word for bleeding is نزيف and the word for cleaning is تنظيف. If you say them with a Lebanese accent they sound the same except for the "t" at the beginning if cleaning. She even asked me, "There was a lot of cleaning?" and I knew I had said it wrong but for some reason I didn't correct myself. Hopefully that isn't enough to disqualify me from the job, but it might be. They do get 911 calls where lives are on the line after all so every little mistake matters.

Whether I get the job or not I'm glad I gave it a try. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Even if I'm not good enough right now, in a year or two I'm confident I will be.


Jaz said...

Good Luck on the job!! I like your point of view, even if you don't get it then you will have learned something new.

makkay said...

بالتوفيق لك في دراستك للغة العربية وفي عملك

ملاحظة بسيطة .. بالفعل أن حرف الظاء ينطق مثل حرف الزاي في اللهجة اللبنانية .. ولكن أعتقد أنك كنت تقصد كلمة توظيف وليس تنظيف

تنظيف = cleaning
توظيف = employing
نزيف = bleeding

The Arabic Student said...

Thanks, Jaz and yes, makkay, that's what I meant. I will change it.

Keith said...

I think you still have to correct the English. It still says you said employing and then you go on to tell the difference between cleaning and bleeding.

The Arabic Student said...

Done. I should really proof read before clicking publish :P

Sheo333 said...

Hi, I find your blog to be really inspiring and helpful as regards learning Arabic. I had a quick question: you said you have been doing Arabic for almost 4 years..I can read and write Arabic at this point but wanted to know how you started off (ie what books were the most you found it at, when you started to understand news clips etc). Maybe you could do a blog post on your progress from day one to would be really helpful and motivating.

chris said...

Congratulations, you've clearly reached a very advanced level in your Arabic! I think your level is quite rare for foreigner learners, who seem to peter out once they've attained a reasonable level in MSA.

As a fellow language student, I was wondering how many hours do you spend a day studying/practicing Arabic? And how long in total have you spent in the Arab world?

Great site btw!

Anonymous said...

Did you get the job