Friday, 2 November 2012

Interpreting: A love, hate relationship

Let's get this clear from the start.

I LOVE my job. The actual interpreting work is so interesting, challenging and fulfilling. I love building relationships with people I see a lot and learning from people with different life experiences than me. The variety my job brings is just so awesome, and I am so lucky to have that.

My shadow, interpreting


Being a freelancer, after 4 years of doing this, I am constantly frustrated at the fluctuating nature of interpreting work. There is just NO job security for interpreters here in NZ, and as such from about now till February, there is not very much work available.

In the 'boom' months, there is plenty of work, and life it good. But those busy 6 months of the year, are they enough to support the other 6 months? 

One thing is for sure, if Matt couldn't work, I would not earn enough to support us. No where near enough.

Freelance work is great to fit in with other pursuits (study, having children, another job), but not so great if you want it to be your actual full time job.

A public interpreting job

And so there is the conundrum. A job I love, which excites and challenges me. And yet, a job which demoralises me in the quiet weeks, leaves me feeling down, unneeded, bored, poor.

I can only speak for myself really. For some interpreters work life is much better than this. But I see my situation repeated in many other interpreters lives. I understand why so many people leave the profession.

It looks like interpreting can never, will never be my 'one and only.' And that sucks after so much time (effort, money, energy) invested in learning the skill. It sucks when I see so many young keen people who want to go down the interpreting path. Things don't look so rosy work wise for them.

And so.
There is no magical answer for this situation. I know nothing will change overnight. So I am taking steps to secure my future income. Starting my masters for one thing. Going to learn massage part time, as another income source as another. I will continue interpreting, but I know it can't be all I do.

I can only hope that things will change in coming years.

But for now, this is the reality.

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