There I was in my senior year of college, only a semester away from becoming a high school Spanish teacher. At that point, I didn’t see any other option to use my language skills and get paid for it. It was either go to grad school and become a Spanish professor, teach English abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, or become a secondary education Spanish teacher. Despite my enthusiasm for teaching, neither of those options seemed like the right fit.
Then, I discovered medical interpreting. An opportunity opened up to interpret at a local free clinic in a nearby church. Every fiber of my being told me I should sign up. My professor was encouraging me to work with adult ESL learners instead. My boyfriend at the time, now husband, saw how excited I was to interpret and encouraged me to write an email to my professor declining the ESL experience. That email changed the course of my life.
As soon as I started interpreting, I knew it was the career for me. I was a bridge to communication access and I was making a real difference in people’s lives. It has been over 15 years and I still feel that passion and excitement when an LEP (Limited English Proficient) patient is able to connect with their healthcare provider.
If you are in a similar situation and want to learn how to enter the interpreting world, check out this video specifically for college graduates who love languages.