Terp Tales: The Humanitarian Side of Interpreting – Ahmed Noor
This is our second episode of our “Terp Tales series” and this time we are going to talk about the humanitarian side of Interpreting written by Ahmed Noor!
“Being bilingual is something that many people are not blessed with and when you have such a blessing you are open to many doors and communicate easier with more people. Some research shows that speaking more than one language will give you a better attention span and it will also increase your multi-tasking abilities as your brain will be open to analyze more information more easily. At the same time using this blessing with something like interpreting could help you to develop in many ways as you will be constantly open to learning new things.
I believe that there is much need for interpreters in the Somali community as it is known there are many Somali’s who has emigrated outside the country for the last two decades. For most of the first generation immigrants, it was harder for them to adapt to their new environment and learn a new language, but at the same time it was kind of a good thing for the children as if we look closely most of the second generation Somali diaspora are considered bilingual as it is easier for them to speak both their Somali language and the language of the place that they grew at. The reason behind this is that culture and heritage is very important for the Somali people, therefore you see them very connected to their original language at least inside the house. That has shaped me and played a significant part in my life as I was able to speak three languages from a young age as I was speaking Somali at home and Arabic and English at school, it could be confusing at the beginning but as a young child it is very easy to learn.
That simple fact made me find myself as an interpreter from a young age and I believe it’s the same case for a lot of interpreters, as you will have to sometimes go with a friend or a family member who could only speak their native language and help with speaking and interpret for him or her for most cases. Although I am working as a professional interpreter, but I have always felt like the humanitarian aspect has more influence on the job as most of the time as an interpreter most of the work involves helping another person which could have a positive impact on the interpreter himself, as the satisfaction of knowing that you had helped someone with your knowledge and made their day easier is priceless and it could change you as a person in many ways and at the same time it could develop your personality in a good way.
At the same time I can’t neglect that there are many problems that interpreters in the Middle East and East Africa face as there is no big representations of interpreters in the Health sector and the Government offices, but more and more people are being open to this sector and I believe that with the use of Information technology it could be easier for more people to be helped, and a lot of the gap could be filled.”