Testimonial: LGBTQIA* Training

By: Jack Xu

Interviewee: Nazanin Azari – Account Manager / Author: Francine Finkler

For non-interpreters, the common assumption is that to become an interpreter; the only necessity is to be fluent in two languages and to be sensible about the nuances of the target and source languages. After all, interpreters are simply being asked to convey the meaning of a set of words in a different language. However, other factors such as the client and their unique needs, the use of appropriate vocabulary, pronouns, and many other considerations are ignored if you think of interpreters as machines that merely change one word for another.

To better understand the importance of broadening your skills as an interpreter, I interviewed one of our Account Managers at MCIS. Nazanin Azari is going to talk about her experience taking the course “Interpreting for LGBTQIA Newcomers.” In her interview, she explains the benefits of participating in the workshop. She will highlight the importance of keeping up with the rapid developments in the profession, as well as her perspective on the importance of participating in the training program as an internal staff.

If you’re interested in the course, it is available ONLINE for FREE!

How was the LGBTQIA training valuable to you as a member of MCIS?

The most important reason that I took the training was to build and develop a relationship with the other students. Over the past few years, I have established a connection with interpreters that are working in the same language combinations of Farsi<>English. I have also built a telephone and e-mail based relationship with many other resources when I helped in coordinating and the dispatch of our language aid and professional interpreters. This training provided me with the opportunity to convene and join our valued resources in a different and more friendly forum. I would also like to encourage other MCIS internal staff to utilize these workshops as an opportunity to meet and form a bond with our valuable freelance interpreters and translators.

How do you believe the training can be beneficial to language professionals?

Participating in continuing competency programs is a great tool to understand the developments of language demands of different social, legal and medical sectors. The need for interpretation is highly related to the continuing changes and requirements of the vulnerable individuals that are in need of language solutions. To provide the best services, it is necessary to adapt to each situation. Moreover, even if you are not a member of the LGBTQIA community, as an interpreter, you get to be their active voice for the duration of the time you are offering your professional assistance. It is essential to be able to address LGBTIA members and their needs respectfully.

We must build trust with people that might be afraid of judgement. Learning the proper pronouns to be able to address the client respectfully is a great icebreaker. By making a professional approach, you will help the client to feel safe and to be able to express themselves freely.

It is also essential to build your level of professionalism to be able to remain unbiased and impartial towards the client’s story and experience of life. Especially if you can not relate to the client’s knowledge or even if you share a common and bothersome experience. Developing a relationship and sharing personal information can affect the results of your work; therefore, the training is a great learning experience to avoid such a crucial mistake.

Finally, participation in the training program will facilitate the comprehension of derogatory words, which enables us to avoid using those terms in favour of the relevant terminology related to LGTBAI* people. All interpreters must be cautious that some expressions and words can be incredibly offensive to the public. Adapting your vocabulary to the needs of your clients will affect the results and then the level of acceptance from the client towards you. Your professionalism combined with your updated knowledge of the language developments and appropriate terms will promote more just results.