We all grow up with aspirations and ideas of what we want to become when we grow up. We also know that this evolves over time. I wanted to become a ballerina, then a teacher, then a writer. Then I became a publishing professional, an interpreter, and now a client service professional. What happened?
When applying to college, I looked for creative writing programs, but ultimately got an English degree, with a double major in international affairs. Because my bilingual and bicultural background is important to me, I also minored in Chinese language and literature to keep up with my language skills. During college, I found translation and interpreting opportunities to contribute my bilingual skills. Right out of college, I pursued a career in publishing, and focused on building skills and credentials to become a manuscript editor. After completing a certificate in editing through the University of Chicago, Graham School, and after several freelance gigs, however, I noticed that my passion was no longer in being isolated in front of the computer, editing for grammar, syntax, and flow of a written piece. It was no longer in translating a document from English into Chinese either. Instead, I craved human interaction. I was an introvert who was slowly evolving into an extrovert.
I noticed the change in 2010 when I became more involved with acquisition work at the University of Chicago Press. What I cherished most out of all my experience at the Press was being able to work closely with clients on the production of their books, from proposal stage to finally sending the printed volumes to the author. I enjoyed the daily e-mails and phone calls and conversations with my team members. I loved representing the Press at conferences and seeing my authors in person. It gave me adrenaline that I hadn’t experienced before. At work, I focused on building my sales and people skills, outside of work, I sought out interpreting opportunities to get more human interaction.
In 2012, I joined the Asian American Chicago Network, and this adrenaline from interacting with people became even more apparent. While some people get tired after talking to 30 people in the course of an evening, I thrive in this fast-paced environment. I get energy from it! I became heavily involved in attending and coordinating social networking events. It was then that I truly found my love in organizing details, in leading groups and events, in meeting membership needs, and finally, in building relationships.
In 2013, my husband and I moved to Madison when he started law school at UW Madison. I used that as an opportunity to attempt full-time freelance work as an interpreter. The challenge of building a new client base was exciting, but after close to a year, I realized that even though I am interacting with clients, the work as an interpreter is a lonely one–the code of ethics restricts me from building a relationship with the medical provider and patient I interpret for. I was merely a conduit who helped make conversation possible between two people who didn’t speak the same language. While it was rewarding, it wasn’t enough.
Then an opportunity came for me to work not only in sales, but also in a translation agency. How much more perfect can it get! I used my people skills and leveraged my experience in the language industry. I loved it. I loved working with clients, meeting them, building a relationship with them, and managing their projects from beginning to end. I love the thank yous.
What ties all of this together is my dedication to building strong relationships. What I do at work, and what I do for AACN, is all for the clients and members. I work hard to do everything in my capability to be an open communicator with my team members to make sure we meet the needs of our end users. This brings us to now, and I’m happy to say that I might have found my perfect job. I’ll try to update this blog, but it would be more cultural and language related rather than interpreting related as I am no longer focusing in that area.
Feel free to browse around though! Perhaps my past posts will be helpful to you.
As always, happy interpreting!