Spotlight on Golzar, our interpreter of the month for May!
My interpreting journey started about 4 years ago when I was casually interpreting for a friend. Afterwards, my friend said ‘Your language is good, why don’t you do interpreting?’. At that time I was at University, studying something completely different, and it hadn’t occurred to me to try interpreting! I decided to join a few organisations to give it a try and that’s how I got into it. In 2018, I found Clear Voice and said to myself, ‘This is the place I want to be!’
My parents are Iranian and I was born in Iraq. I came to the UK at the beginning of 2003 when I was 18. I spoke Kurdish Sorani and Farsi.
The language barrier when I first arrived was challenging, and there was no access to interpreters at the time. I convinced my husband to come with me and we took English classes together. When I went to enroll, it was obviously very difficult for me to explain why I was there! Eventually, I was able to communicate what I needed and they invited me to start classes.
I was determined to learn English and then go on to get my degree. I was married with a young family at the time, but I was a determined learner and so I managed it. I am still going when it comes to learning and want to do my PHD next!
The main thing I love about interpreting is the ability to make two parties understand each other – it is amazing! As an interpreter, you not only have the skill to translate from one language to another, but you also understand the context and culture of the language (for example, in the UK you say lots of ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, but in other cultures this isn’t done so much).
It is important for me to interpret exactly what the client says but contextualise it so the other can understand them fully. I think, in this respect, it is an art to make sure each understands the other and both are satisfied with the interaction. You can be the bridge, both in terms of language and in terms of culture, between them, which is particularly important at the moment because a lot of interactions are online so many people haven’t been able to connect culturally in the UK yet.
I believe that women should have a voice and so, when I interpret for women who have been through a difficult journey, I support them with all my heart to raise their voice. For me, that is a reward because I was always active in women’s rights and equality. By supporting them to fulfil their basic right to be heard, I feel I am helping them put in a piece of the jigsaw that will eventually help them to integrate in the society.
I haven’t been able to physically meet the Clear Voice team, but I am treated like a part of it. It is very reassuring because I can just pick up the phone and get help if ever there is a problem. As a Clear Voice interpreter, you know that package of support is there; the team are not there to listen in on your calls or criticise you, they are there to support you.
I am proud to be part of Clear Voice, proud of what they do and proud of Migrant Help’s work, too.
Thank you for choosing me as the Interpreter of the Month, it is an honour! I am really looking forward to continuing to work with Clear Voice and supporting the people that come into our care.