Niema is our interpreter of the month for March
Every month we celebrate the achievements of one of our fantastic interpreters. This month we are proud to congratulate Niema and share her story. Thank you for all your hard work and for all the amazing client feedback we get about you. Read on for our full conversation…
It all started with volunteering
For me, interpreting is something I have done professionally since 2020. Before I started working for Clear Voice I had volunteered as an interpreter with charitable organisations. That’s how I got into interpreting. I helped both Refugee Council and Advonet, an advocacy group based in Leeds.
I came to the UK in September 2015, I grew up in Eritrea. Asmara was my home city. When I left Eritrea, I first travelled to Kuwait where I worked performing admin and translations from Arabic to English. This had given me some experience working with languages professionally, and so I started volunteering as an interpreter in 2016, not long after I arrived in England.
The demand for Tigre interpreting
When I was in Eritrea, I did not imagine that knowing my mother language (Tigre) would help me earning a living, do a job, and help others. My concentration was on English and Arabic, the international languages that everyone said would be needed if or when I left my country. I didn’t expect that, when I came to the UK, I would be able to use the languages I know to help people.
Interpreting is rewarding
I definitely enjoy interpreting, especially when the client is happy. I remember when I was interpreting for someone claiming asylum here and he kept asking for me to be his interpreter, requesting me by name. It really made me happy that he trusted me, that he was happy with my interpreting and that he felt like I was his voice. When you interpret for someone, you should be their voice, communicate what they are truly expressing, and when someone requests you by name, it’s rewarding – it shows you have been doing that well.
Benefits of working from home
Plus, working from home while also being a full-time mom has all the benefits I expected: The flexibility and the ability to see all the incredible milestones. For me interpreting is a good job, but at the same time I feel that I am helping others and that brings me more happiness. When people find someone who can interpret for them, in the languages that I speak, they are very grateful.
Helping vulnerable people
Many of the people I interpret for are very vulnerable; they have been through a lot. There are some similarities to my own story. We have all suffered from the same situation as Eritreans. The specific details may be different, but the major problems are shared. It cuts me sometimes to hear their stories. It really does touch me, as I can put myself in their place and understand where they are coming from. Sometimes it is difficult emotionally to hear these stories. Hopefully, as I am doing my job I am making a difference and change to others.
I have learned languages from a young age. I first started studying English at elementary school and continued to junior and high school. One of my hobbies was reading, mainly novels, and this helped me practice. I used to enjoy reading for example Danielle Steele, although there is less time of that now. When you get married and have kids you give the priority to them!