At the Academy of Interpretation (AOI), we believe in celebrating the journeys, achievements, and stories of our students. That's why we're thrilled to introduce our newest blog series: Student Spotlight. This campaign is dedicated to shining a light on the remarkable individuals who make up our community of language learners. Through the Student Spotlight series, we'll showcase the diverse experiences, insights, and accomplishments of our students, highlighting their passion for interpretation, dedication to professional growth, and their experiences with the AOI’s offerings.
Join us as we kickoff this journey of discovery, empowerment, and celebration of the incredible individuals who better our academy and the language services industry. Welcome to the Student Spotlight Series—where every student’s story shines bright! In this first spotlight, we interviewed Christopher Cardoso and asked questions about himself and recent experience with the Professional Medical Interpreter Course.
My name is Christopher or Chris, whichever you prefer. I currently speak English and Spanish fluently, and I also speak a little bit of French and Italian at a basic or beginner level, a level one, I guess you could say.
I am currently transitioning to actual contract work for interpretation here, locally in the area specifically in Harrisonburg, Virginia. I was previously a maintenance dispatcher for Massanutten Resort & Waterpark, which is a vacation resort here nearby from where I am located.
The course I completed with the Academy of Interpretation was the 40 hour, Professional Medical Interpreter training course.
Originally, I was enrolled at James Madison University for a graphic design major and interpretation and translation minor. That was kind of where my interest kind of sparked for pursuing this career further and after I left, I kinda had to find, you know, certain direction and purpose again in my life, both personally and professionally. I was looking for a course to formally introduce myself into the industry and learn about all the aspects of the interpretation profession - specifically, the medical interpretation settings.
I come from a Hispanic background, so you know when it comes to like, family and friends on a not professional level, it’s different. We have these past experiences, you know when you’re younger, of like trying to help, like your mother, you know, through an appointment or anything professionally related. Being bilingual, I could use that skill to bridge different obstacles and difficulties when it comes to, you know the language related issues.
So, a couple of reasons. First – to start off – I guess the flexibility that was being offered, that it was self-taught, and the flexibility when it comes to the payment options. You know, sometimes, we’re not financially able to, you know, pay in full for a course. So, the fact that there was flexibility and options for installment plans was, was really great.
Another reason I chose AOI was the fact that it was the closest course. The fact that you all were the closest accredited organization, for you know the 40-hour training course, which is a pre-requisite for the national certification for CCHI and NBCMI, was great. So, that’s why I decided to pursue this course with you.
There’s a lot of scams out there for this I’ve realized. So, the fact that you all have a platform and continue to build on that platform and offering different recourses with courses and trainings and seminars, and you know, the continue education units. You guys have something really, really great here.
"This is only the beginning of my journey. It was exactly what I was looking for."
The highs were just all the invaluable information that I was able to acquire and obtain. I also really realized throughout the course that there’s so many different aspects and factors that you have to consider and have to keep in mind when interpreting. There’s so many more other factors and situations you have to keep in mind. So that was something that I really, really grasped more of an understanding of going through the course.
Also, there was another thing that did come to mind that kind of stood out that I really enjoyed. There were a couple of educational videos for palliative care that shared direct examples of how to interpret and how not to interpret when you’re in that field. Those were great.
The information was great. I learned a lot, but I think the biggest is that there’s a lot of different things you have to keep in mind to be a successful interpreter. It’s a solid course, a very, very solid course.
I would definitely recommend it to, not just interpreters that are beginners, or that are, you know starting out, but also, I say it’s a very solid course for somebody that maybe at some point in the past was pursing interpretation and then, due to different situations and circumstances, maybe fell out a little bit and kind of just wants to touch up and you know, brush up on their interpreter skills a little bit.
I think it’s great for all levels, you know. Like I said, the information in there and then also with the textbook, it’s great. So yeah, awesome stuff.
Just the desire and willingness to learn and absorb all the information that’s being taught. It is a lot of information. So even now, like with the study guides that I created, and the outline for the final exam for this course – I still have them and I still, you know, from time to time, I still go back and read them. When you’re reading material and learning material through lectures and video recordings, you do have to take the moments and opportunity to look over them once more. Everything that was provided, that was taught – you have to have the mentality to review and really concentrate on what’s being taught and then have the willingness to continue to learn.
There really isn’t a one set path or direction to becoming a professional interpreter. You do have to take the time and dedicate your energy to find the different resources. They’re out there, but you have to look for them. For example – you want to be a doctor. You want to be a nurse. Well, you go to school, and they already have an outlined course of study. But with interpretation, you have to really look for the resources.
I will be starting as a contracted interpreter at Harrison City Public Schools. So that would be in the educational realm or educational setting, which I know it doesn’t correlate completely with medical interpreting, but I am excited. I am also looking to be a contracted interpreter for the Harrisonburg-Rockingham County Community Services Board. That one deals with more medical related assignments and clients.
That’s my goals right now when it comes to interpretation. This is what I want to pursue. This is my direction. This is my purpose. Now, after deciding to not pursue graphic design anymore with James Madison University, this is what I had in mind. I wanted to try this out, go full force, and dedicate my time to that. So yeah, that is what my future holds at this moment.
I feel equipped to go into the field successfully, but I think this course for me was more of a big step forward. You know – it kind of like catapulted me forward into this career path. I learned a lot of fundamentals, a lot of basics, but I think this is kind of the first big step to making me a better and more well-rounded interpreter. I know this is not the end. It’s an always learning environment. You have to always have the desire and be eager to keep learning and engaging with different experiences. You know, build your skills.
So like I said – this is only the beginning of my journey. It was exactly what I was looking for. I’ll definitely will keep you all in consideration for my future courses.
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