Back in 2014, I held a Level-3 Community Interpreting Qualification and I thought it was alright. I enjoyed working for hospitals, schools, and social services although it never really was a full-time job. I, like many newbies in the business, believed that DPSI exams were expensive and difficult to pass, and it would only gain me a few pounds extra for each hour I worked as a Public Service interpreter. Until over a cup of coffee with a French colleague one day, she enlightened me how DPSI qualification allowed her to run her own Interpreting and Translation Business successfully. That conversation changed my perspective forever and I was so determined that I could become one of them, those who have DPSI behind their names.
Passing CIOLQ's DPSI exams in 2017 allowed me to become a full member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) and a full registrant on the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI). I was also able to join the Home Office Central Interpreters Unit and Wales Interpretation and Translation Service (WITS). I also have my own website and I pay my web host designer to look after my SEO. The website itself brings me regular legal interpreting and translation work from UK solicitors.
The Courts and Tribunals also contact me directly when agencies cannot fulfil. Most of the time, I go to court, I receive a compliment from judges and counsels that I am a professional unlike those sent by agencies, they do not interpret, some just sit still because they cannot do simultaneous interpreting, nor do they really know their roles. I was also told that a few of them did not know what ‘bail conditions’ means; one unqualified interpreter even interpreted it as ‘bowel conditions which really upset and confused the non-English speaker.
I have been a full-time self-employed interpreter for many years now and am enjoying it. There has never been 2 days of the same and I cannot think of any other jobs that would fulfil me this much. If you are still thinking about doing DPSI exams, I would say ‘Go for it!’.
Views expressed on CIOL Voices are those of the writer and may not represent those of the wider membership or CIOL.