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My first ever interpreting assignment was a 911 emergency call. On the other end of the line, a non-English speaking woman who spoke very softly in her native language. I visualized her home: a dark, cold and lonely place. She continued to speak very softly with tears running down her face. She explained that her husband turns off the electricity and gas, locks the refrigerator and doors from the outside when he leaves the house. She sits and waits in the dark until he gets home. Today, he forgot to disconnect the phone before he left for work. For an hour, I consoled her while police knocked down the front door with a battering ram.
My first professional interpretation was very impressionable and probably the most important call I ever took. I had the rare opportunity to really help someone. I love my career as an interpreter. It has been over a decade since that 911 call, but I have not forgotten my purpose or the profound difference I can make in people's lives. Interpreting is and will always be my passion.
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