Ten Syrian refugee families celebrated Easter at a gathering held at the Tzu Chi Foundation and guess who interpreted for them; our very own interpreter Maisaa Sahloul. Hold on, the best part is yet to come, she did it all for free.
She spoke about what motivated her to do this. “Language barrier is a huge challenge for Syrian refugees and I want to help my countrymen, which is why I volunteered to interpret for them.” Maisaa did not stop with interpreting for the families in person. As and when needed, she also interprets over the phone and translates self-help brochures for the families. Ask her if she liked interpreting for them and she says, “My happiness lies in helping people, and am just using my skills to do that. The biggest award I got was the relationship I built with them.”
The families shared stories, danced and ate together. With Maisaa’s help, Andersen Chu, the organizer, was able to understand the problems they faced and was able to assist them. He shared, “Maisaa was amazing. In fact, many of the words she used during the translation were the same as those used by the Syrian families. It is important to note that Arabic is spoken differently in different countries and she was able to hit the nail right on the head.”
Prior to immigrating to Canada, Maisaa used to work as a medical data analyst in UAE, and as part of her job used to translate medical reports. As a global citizen, she could understand Arabic spoken in different countries which gave her an edge.
“I came to know of MCIS’ Interpreter Training Program through a friend and thought I would give it a shot since my English is good. I also thought I could help others whose second language was not English,” she said.
Maisaa says she will continue to help newcomers using her learnings from the Interpreter Training Program. She also shared that taking the Advanced Medical Interpreter Training Program is her goal in the near future.
So, here is a thumbs up to her and all our interpreters who go the extra mile. You made MCIS what it is today.
– Jen Nguyen, Marketing and Communications Intern, Toronto, Ontario, April 19, 2017
MCIS Language Solutions is a non-profit social enterprise established in 1989. We provide training programs aiming to get interpreters credentialed by helping them learn by doing, rather than passively attending lectures. No matter what level you are at interpreting, we offer introductory to advanced programs. Classes are held weekdays, weekends, and after hours. Contact us today to find out more.