Life can move at a rapid pace and can feel chaotic particularly if you fail to manage your time. We all lead busy lives especially when we consider our work commitments, family commitments and social commitments. It can almost feel as though there is not enough time in the day to do what we need to do.
Regardless of the job you might have, managing your time can prove a challenge but this is particularly true for interpreters. This is a fast-paced career that can see interpreters moving between events, conferences, travelling the world and supporting those who are in need of holding conversations in other languages. As a result, time can feel as though it is very limited but fortunately, there are some things that you can do to manage your time better as an interpreter.
Fortunately for interpreting, unlike translation, it is done in real-time, so when they are on the job, they have to be in work mode and focused. In contrast, translating requires determination and commitment in order to complete work to a deadline, as a result, time management is a completely different thing. However, in this article, we are going to look at time management for interpreters to see what they can do to use their time more effectively.
It doesn’t matter how fast-paced your role might be, we all have to manage our time in certain ways but for interpreters, this can be even more important. Given the necessity of their role and how they are required on a number of levels, it can feel as though their lives pass by at a million miles an hour. This is where time management becomes extremely important.
Some people might have heard of time management but might not actually understand what it means in its full entirety. Time management is the process of organising and planning how to divide your time between different activities.
Essentially, working as an interpreter requires a high level of time management and that means that you manage your time effectively so that you give each task or activity the right amount of time. Whether it’s travelling to your next job or working out your schedule and the jobs that you can fit in around it, it all alludes to time management.
Therefore, when you effectively manage your time, it will enable interpreters to give the right amount of time slots to activities based on their importance. As time can be limited, it means making the best use of the time you have and of course, while family is always important, our jobs can take priority. As a result, interpreters have to recognise the importance of their role and then ensure that they allocate as much time as is needed to that task, even down to the time it takes to travel to and from jobs.
To ensure that your time is used as efficiently and effectively as possible, time management is critical and it is easier than you might think.
As we have mentioned, interpreters can lead lives that can change rapidly. From medical and legal interpreters that might be required during the early hours of the morning to those that travel the world with government representatives and businesses as well as those that offer community interpreting, each day can be different which means that they need to be flexible and adaptable.
This essentially means that their job has to take priority but they should ensure that they manage their time around their role. It will enable them to keep their diary as streamlined as possible while acknowledging that they might be required at short notice, so anything that they have planned might need rescheduling. However, having a set schedule and managing time makes it easier to move things around when an interpreting request comes in at short notice.
Time management can be handled in a number of ways and what might work for one person, might not work for another. What this means is that it can help to try a number of strategies to determine what might work best for you. Perhaps the strategy you choose might align with your preferences in terms of how you like to be organised.
Let’s take a look at some time management strategies:
Fortunately, technology makes it a whole lot easier to manage our time because we can use our smart devices to plan, schedule and manage effectively. There are countless time management tools out there that you can turn to, to help you keep track of tasks and improve how you work as an interpreter.
Working as an interpreter is a hugely rewarding career but your time can prove difficult to manage. Your days can seem varied, some jobs can run on longer than planned and that can make managing your home and social life a challenge. Of course, you have to be able to juggle work and personal life with your interpreting job being a priority given how important it is and so, it can help to implement the right strategies and the right tools to manage your time more effectively.
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Although not always a requirement, usually you need a minimum qualifications to become an Interpreter. You would need to hold a minimum of a Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting (at least 60 hours of learning, and a recommended minimum of 15 credits). Experience is not always necessary, but also a bonus. Usually, interpreters are aged 18 or above.
As a guide for Level 3 your English should be at level B2 or above:
In everyday speech, this level might be called “confident”, as in “I am a confident English speaker”. The official level descriptor is “upper intermediate”. At this level, students can function independently in a variety of academic and professional environments in English, although with a limited range of nuance and precision.
For Level 6, your English needs to be at level C1 or above:
In everyday speech, this level might be called “advanced”, and that is the official level descriptor for this level as well, also used by EF SET. At this level, students can function independently and with a great deal of precision on a wide variety of subjects and in almost any setting without any prior preparation.
If you are unsure, you can test your English here for free : https://www.efset.org/quick-check/take-test
Interpreters convey language orally, while translators convey language in writing.
Although language ability is a common skill needed in both roles, the skills needed for the two roles are often quite different. To be a translator you would need to be proficient in reading comprehension, transfer and target language productions skills, along with needing to be able to work efficiently with Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tools, while interpreters need excellent listening skills, a high level of spoken ability, clear pronunciation in both languages, an excellent memory and the ability to think and speak in two languages at the same time.
You can read more about interpreting skills in our blog How to Improve Your Consecutive interpreting Skills.
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