The Italian community makes extensive use of these professionals, who are still in great demand to facilitate communication between organisations, businesses and the general public.
Perthite Natalie Ingham is taking her first steps in her career as an interpreter.
She attained NAATI certification (she is also a translator from Italian to English) last year after undertaking a specialised study path.
Where does your love for the Italian language stem from?
I started to take an interest in the language when Italian exchange students came to my high school. I wasn’t studying Italian at that time but I became fascinated with the language, which inspired me to study it at university.
What was your study pathway?
I first studied a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Italian and social psychology. After completing this degree, I decided to take a year-long break from studying and worked within horticulture full-time, as plants are another passion of mine. After that year, I felt ready to study again and I moved to Melbourne to study a two-year Master’s degree of interpreting and translation. At the time, UWA only offered a course in translation, and I also wanted to have the option of being an interpreter. I moved back to Perth after graduating and started my interpreting and translating career.
What does a typical day at work look like?
For me so far, there isn’t a “typical” work day. Sometimes it involves translation work from home, or community interpreting in medical settings. Since I only officially began this career in March 2019 (when I received NAATI certification), freelance translating and interpreting don’t provide enough financial support for me yet, so I also still have a casual job which I go to one to two times a week.
What is the biggest challenge of your job? What do you like the most?
One of the most difficult things about being an interpreter – which is also one of the things I love the most – is the fact that you can never completely know what to expect when you go to work. It’s challenging because there is always room for improvement in different aspects of the job, whether it be contextual or linguistic knowledge, interpreting and translating skills or delivery.
Can you tell us one highlight of your career so far?
A highlight of my career so far is being able to finally put my passion for the Italian language to use in a beneficial way. In saying that, there hasn’t been one single “highlight” yet, but a series of moments in which I have helped people within the community, and have provided a cultural and linguistic bridge between people, which otherwise might not be possible.
What would be your advice to students interested in pursuing a career in this field?
I think that you really need to enjoy or have a passion for the language and the culture that you’re learning about. Personally, I find so much enjoyment in conversing with people in Italian as my job, and helping them at the same time. Even if at times studying isn’t so much fun, the end result for me is worth it because of this.