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.