Video interpreters are not often talked about because we are always behind closed doors, in private rooms and if working full time, have limited social contact.

As a full-time BSL video interpreter…I wanted to offer a little peek behind the curtain so people know what it’s really like!

Firstly, I love my job. I love the variety and flexibility, being able to work from home is a godsend for someone like me and other interpreters who for one reason or another, find the extensive travel and odd hours difficult to manage. Whether it’s childcare or public transport issues…video interpreting is a great way to minimise these problems.

Variety

Nothing really prepared me for the variety of different work that we do! I know this is true for all BSL interpreters but the added dimension of using technology really does keep us on our toes!

For example; a customer asking me to speak to someone via Facetime on their mobile (whilst holding their mobile up to the webcam) or doing on the spot translation for an instruction leaflet for a new piece of equipment. No amount of training can ever prepare you for those little quirks of the job!

My favourite times by far are developing relationships with long term customers. Involve is unique in that we also provide translation services, so I often get to chat with our customers getting details for translation work.

This is something I knew I would miss from face to face interpreting, so I am delighted that I still get to maintain good relationships with our long-term customers.

Lone Working

No one really talks about how lone working can negatively impact video interpreters. I think it’s important that we recognise the impact of loneliness and isolation and ensure that systems are put in place to support interpreters. Whether it’s dealing with a dilemma or just chatting with a colleague to let them know how your day was. Having real human engagement that is NOT interpreting is a basic human need and not always prioritised.

Being a Tech-Head

This is a personal love of mine, just like my dad who used to work for Sony when I was growing up. I love technology! Whether its new apps, camera and recording equipment or devices and sound systems, I am all over it! (Please don’t ask how much money I spend on technology…it was worth every penny!)

I have to say my personal love for all things tech has been a real asset to my video interpreting. Being able to deal with technical problems swiftly, choosing the latest service enhancing equipment and being able to support my colleagues enables me to focus all my energy on interpreting and not be distracted by inevitable tech problems. This benefits me, customers and the service I work for.

I can’t wait to see how technology continues to impact and improve communication for everyone including Deaf signing communities.

I will be writing more about video interpreter life in the coming months so stay tuned!

Blog by Dionne Thomas