Professionalism, continued

In a previous post, I wrote about professionalism.  In a different previous post, I said I am a professional Japanese-English technical interpreter.  Should I fulfill my role?  Yes, I should.  What is my role?  That is the question.  As I wrote in another previous post, I personally think that my role is to fill the cultural gap between Canadians and Japanese, which is not officially expected.  For now, I dare not to count this.

The term “interpret” have some meanings.  According to Longman (1995), one of the meanings, which my client seems to expect me to do, is “to change words spoken in one language into another” [1].  But my Canadian colleagues expect me to do more.  I’m the only one who talk with everyone in the current workplace, and some Canadians expect me to coordinate some small works that a Japanese supervisor does not take care of.  I enjoy doing it, in fact, and those Canadians appreciate it.  In this way, things go smoothly, but some Japanese coworkers do not like it; they stick to conventional Japanese way of working though it is inefficient and takes longer time unnecessarily. Am I a good professional technical interpreter?  No.  My client expects me to work like an interpreter machine.  I should not work like a coordinator.

Of course, “interpret” has another, primary meaning, which is “to believe that someone’s action or behavior or an event as having a particular meaning” [1].  As I wrote in a previous post, Japanese conversation is like coding and decoding.  I often decode what Japanese coworkers say and then interpret it to English.  Canadians appreciate it, but those Japanese even don’t know that I do it.  Without it, those Canadians should have been confused.  Apparently, I am not a good professional technical interpreter, but I am happy to make things go smoothly.  This is how I contribute for the current workplace.

[1] Longman Group Ltd, Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, Harlow, England: Pearson Education Limited, 1995. 

February 16, 2013Permalink