Congratulations to Marwa, our September interpreter of the month
Every month we celebrate the hard work and achievements of one of our amazing interpreters. This month’s winner is Marwa, and the entire team sends their thanks for your dedication and the fantastic feedback your work receives. We were honoured to talk to Marwa about why she became an interpreter and what she enjoys about interpreting. We also found out what her most enjoyable call has been. Read on to hear her story…
I started working for Clear Voice in March 2020, which was the first time I had worked as a professional interpreter. Before this I had done some interpreting voluntarily, on an informal basis, but in terms of interpreting as a profession this was the start of my career. I really became aware of interpreting as a career option through helping friends complete their interpreting qualifications.
I am originally from Alexandria in Egypt and I studied Political Science at university there. In 2002 I came to the UK to be with my husband. Initially we thought we would only stay for a few years, but we have been here ever since. He was born in the UK and I have spoken English for as long as I can remember so the biggest shock of coming to the UK was the cold! It was really, really cold. I would say to my husband “Is my nose still on my face, because I cannot feel my nose!” I really remember that from the first year. But now I am obviously used to it. My body must have adapted!
I worked at Eastbourne Hospital as a pharmacy assistant for five years and then took an Access to Higher Education diploma (to refresh my experience of higher education) before going on to study accounting and finance. After this I worked as a contract assistant, again at Eastbourne Hospital, whilst I continued to study for my accountancy qualification. I have almost completed this, but I decided to become an interpreter instead.
What I like about interpreting
I really value the variety that interpreting brings. There is something new every day. It also ticks all the boxes practically for me. I can work flexibly, work from home and have the freedom to set my own hours. It is never boring and allows me to use all my life experience. I know that I’m helping people and that provides a lot of satisfaction. My favourite part of the job is that at the end of the day I feel that I did something nice. For example, at the end of the calls I find the Arab people, especially the older ones, will pray for you when you help them, and I appreciate that.
Interpreting gives me new experiences and new knowledge that I did not have before. There is always the opportunity to learn. I learn about the experiences of so many people. It’s opened my eyes to things I wasn’t aware of and is very enlightening. For instance, I never knew about modern slavery. We all live in our own bubbles but interpreting breaks through those.
Understanding Arabic Dialects
I understand Arabic in all dialects, even the more difficult ones like Moroccan and Algerian. I am from Egypt and the Egyptian dialect is like American English: Movies, songs, culture – most of it is in Egyptian. I am fortunate that therefore most Arabic speakers understand my dialect. But I was also lucky to live in the United Arab Emirates when I was young and this experience introduced me to many other Arabic dialects: Syrian, Palestinian, Jordanian, Sudanese and of course Moroccan and Algerian. This is why I am good with dialects in general. There were some that I struggled with initially, but I made the effort to learn them.
My favourite call
One of my favourite calls I have interpreted was when three Syrian refugees legally challenged the Home Office over refusing to allow them to claim to asylum. I was on the call with the solicitor informing one of them that the challenge had been successful – that the judge had overruled the Home Office decision and granted the right to remain. And he was so happy, he was thrilled. His happiness and the way he reacted was nice, it really made me feel that I had helped someone; that I had played some small part in this.
Working for Clear Voice
I really enjoy working as an interpreter for Clear Voice. The entire team are really friendly and bring a human touch to the work. I’m very thankful for the opportunity Clear Voice give me to help people and to do a job that I enjoy.