Tanmoy Debnath

Figure 1: Image of Tanmoy Debnath – Bengali interpreter

I migrated to Australia along with my family in late 2014. Before moving to Australia I lived in my native Bangladesh region for most of my life. I also had the opportunity to live in Sweden and Ireland for academic purposes. I have been to 12 countries in four continents.

Other than Bengali and English, I speak little Swedish, Spanish, German and Hindi.

I am currently a casual academic at the School of Computing and Mathematics, Charles Sturt University Bathurst, and a part time teacher at the Department of Information Technology, TAFE NSW Western. 

In my spare time I like to read, travel, listen to music, and learn new things.

I became an interpreter after I took the NAATI (National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters) paraprofessional level interpreting test in Bengali.

I started interpreting in Australia in 2015 and worked for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (TIS National), the Department of Human Services (Centerlink), and other Australian government and private organisations. I especially like working for TIS National as they are a professional organisation who provide accurate feedback.

Before moving to Australia I also engaged in court interpreting while living in Ireland. 

What tips or advice do you have for someone working with an interpreter for the first time?

  • Be honest and sincere.
  • Follow the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) Code of Ethics guidelines religiously.
  • Sometimes interpreters need to perform their duties in emotionally charged environments which might include domestic violence, crime scenes, court scenarios, hospital operations etc. Although interpreters are ordinary human beings and emotion is part and parcel of every person, it is vital that an interpreter tries to separate his/her ‘emotional’ part while working in situations like these. Otherwise his/her judgement will be clouded and this eventually would affect the quality of work, which in-turn detrimentally affect all parties concerned.  

What tips and advice do you have for a person thinking about becoming an interpreter?

  • Get NAATI certified.
  • Prepare for the examination beforehand. To the best of our knowledge the pass rate of the NAATI interpreting examinations unfortunately is not very high. It would be helpful if an examinee knows what types of questions she/he might encounter during the test and then practice accordingly. 

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