Being watched! When there is more than one interpreter assigned to the same job.

From time to time, I find myself interpreting at an assignment and another interpreter observes. It is not the most comfortable feeling to have someone listen to everything you say, ready to point out any mistake that is made.

This is the case sometimes when I have been assigned to interpret by the insurance company, and the hospital interpreter is also present.

On one of those recent occasions, after I was finished, the interpreter thanked me and told me that I did a good job. Then, she suggested a more accurate word that I could have used. I felt honored that my peer approved of my work, and that she felt comfortable enough to provide me a fine suggestion, contributing towards my becoming a better interpreter.

All too often, that scenario produces the opposite effect. One interpreter might feel threatened by the other, or pride could prevent someone from taking a friendly suggestion. The way I see it, professionals need to respect one another, build one another up. We need to honor our industry and chosen profession and those working hard in it.

That type of collaborative spirit is good for us all. Iron sharpens iron.

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