In Auslan Interpreting, variety is the spice of life

Diversity is a beautiful thing, and the diversity present within the Auslan interpreting industry is one of its greatest strengths. A few weeks ago, we covered how our interpreters value the opportunity to forge meaningful relationships with their clients, but this week, we want to showcase the incredible variety of work they can find in the Deaf community. 

Our in-house interpreter, Marc Ethan, has been interpreting in Australia and New Zealand for over twenty years, and thrives when he can work a variety of jobs. “Doing a variety of jobs can expand my knowledge and vocabulary, the variety is the spice of life,” Marc says. 

Taking on a wide range of jobs, Marc has gained immense industry experience, but still has his favourite type of jobs. “I love interpreting for musical theatre, as challenging as it is,” Marc says, before revealing that he also loves to interpret comedy and work with LGBTQIA+ people and people from different ethnic backgrounds. “They’re minorities within a minority, and I enjoy working with people who can make a positive difference in the world.” 

“I find the deaf community loving, warm and very friendly”, Marc tells me. “I love to see Deaf people grow and become successful”. In such a supportive environment, Marc knows he can make a positive impact no matter what job he takes. He’s been able to cultivate close relationships with several of his repeat clients, and this allows him a first-hand view of their growth. 

Working so closely with repeat clients means that they can forge a bond outside of interpreting. “My relationship with them is basically mutual respect and knowing when I need to be a professional, and also knowing when I can be myself”. Marc describes himself as a “fun professional”, when he’s out on a job, and says that his clients value him for his personality as well as his interpreting skills.

With such a great variety of jobs available, interpreters can put themselves in scenarios where they challenge themselves and expand their skill sets. Marc believes it’s important to “maintain our qualifications and ensure our skills do not decline,” and that the industry as a whole can do more to support graduate and student interpreters. “There is a high need for Auslan/English interpreters and the more we can nurture the new cohort and support the cohort we already have, the better for the industry.” With more interpreters, agencies like Echo will be better able to provide for the variety of needs that our clients have.

Marc’s travels as an interpreter have given him a unique perspective on his craft and the industry that he loves, and the variety in the jobs he takes keeps him motivated and excited. Some interpreters have nailed down exactly what jobs they want to take, while others are open to trying new things, but one thing is for sure – there’s something for everyone. 

Featured image from Unsplash.

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