Amuthan Vethanayagam

Amuthan Vethanayagam

I’m a Professionally accredited interpreter in Tamil. I have been working as an interpreter for TIS National for almost five years. I migrated to Australia from Sri Lanka to pursue my education. After completing my degree at Swinburne University in Melbourne, I started working in the Information Technology and Digital Media industry.

In my spare time I like:

  • watching movies
  • reading technology related articles
  • photography
  • adventure activities
  • working on IT projects that have scope for user experience design.  

In December 2012, due to financial commitments I needed to find an additional job. A friend told me that there was a high demand for Tamil interpreters. As a child, I watched interpreters at conferences doing simultaneous interpreting and thought they were like magicians.

An accidental interpreter

I feel like I am an ‘accidental interpreter’. I had minimal experience and I couldn’t imagine that I would ever have the opportunity to work as an interpreter. However, I always had a passion for languages and I liked learning new words and researching their origin. With a good vocabulary in English and Tamil, and good communication skills, I thought I’m not going to lose anything by trying. I started my interpreting career in January 2013.

The challenging nature of the profession and different working environment inspires me to continue in the industry. It also gives me immense pleasure and job satisfaction. Today I’m proud to be one of the small number of NAATI Professional accredited Tamil interpreters. Having faith in myself and in my abilities made me achieve it.

TIS National is a highly regarded government language agency and they offer flexible working hours and locations. This enables you to plan your time well and use it productively. TIS National interpreters can apply for scholarships for professional development and reimburse the cost of NAATI accreditation examination. Working as an interpreter has given me the opportunity to work all around Australia and also overseas, while meeting other interpreters and clients from diverse backgrounds.

Working with clients from a range of industries means interpreting assignments can be diverse, which makes the job interesting and challenging. TIS National supports its interpreters with an excellent feedback system where the interpreter is informed and appreciated for their good work, and supported in areas where they want to improve.

Eager to learn and grow professionally

If you would like to become an interpreter, you must have bi-lingual proficiency. You need to have broad knowledge because knowledge is power for any interpreter. You need to be positive, have confidence to communicate with others efficiently and always strive to improve. Last but not least, you should be eager to learn and grow professionally. If you want to become an interpreter, talk to someone you know who is already an interpreter and to get information about the career. 

Meeting experienced interpreters from diverse backgrounds has been the greatest thing that happened to me in my interpreting career. They’ve shared a lot of knowledge with me, not only related to interpreting but also about politics, culture, religion, languages, music and art. The knowledge and experiences I have gained from them have strengthened me and made me a better human being. I’m truly grateful to every one of them.

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