Jolanta Sieradzki

Photo of Jolanta

I was born in Poland during the time of communism. The country was being rebuilt after the damages of the Second World War. There were many challenges and lack of opportunities, especially for young people. I was inspired as a child by the life of my father. He experienced a more peaceful and happy life while he worked and lived in England for 12 years, so when the opportunity presented itself to study while learning to become an accountant, I was very happy. A new language as well as experiencing another culture was always very appealing to me.

There were many hardships and in 1981, Poland was close to imposing Martial Law. Despite all obstacles, I was able to fulfil my dream and emigrate to Austria and then to Australia in 1983 with my husband and young son. Knowledge of English proved to be a very useful and practical skill. My passion for the languages, both Polish and English, continues to this day. In my spare time I enjoy reading books simultaneously in Polish and English if a translation is available. It is a great learning tool for me. My favourite topics include: psychology, art and travel, but also novels and detective stories. My interests also include listening to music like traditional jazz, folk and baroque.

I was inspired to become an interpreter after attending medical or other appointments and seeing brochures translated into Greek, Polish, Arabic or other languages. I realised how important and useful it is to help others who do not speak the language. I knew that many people, especially elderly people in my community, would greatly benefit from such assistance. With my love of the languages and a desire to help my community, professional interpreting was an obvious choice for me. I have been an interpreter for 10 years now.

Interpreting gives me an opportunity to experience a wide variety of situations and areas that are not accessible to most people. This includes interpreting assignments offered by TIS National both face-to-face as well as over the phone. When my phone rings after 10pm at night I know that it might be TIS National with an interpreting request to assist with border control at an airport, or an emergency services call. Interpreting is interesting and challenging. It encourages continuous learning and expanding the vocabulary as well as improving interpreting techniques.

When it comes to tips and advice for the new interpreters, I still remember one interpreter who offered me some guidance after working in the field for over 30 years. Always be confident but respectful of others. When talking with agencies and clients before the job starts, don’t get involved with heavy topics like politics, money or religion. It is better to bring a book to read or talk about the weather. When appropriate it is good to ask to be briefed by the professional before starting the interpreting. Have NAATI accreditation and always adhere to the AUSIT code of ethics. Treat staff and agencies that offer you interpreting assignments with politeness and kindness, as they are doing a great job. Always be professional.

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