A community translator from Birmingham has spoken about the importance of his role to connect asylum seekers with the authorities.
It comes as the world marks International Translation Day today (30th September).
Girma Kebede, a member of the Ethiopian community in Birmingham, explained the importance of his role.
“At the home office, I have had a few translation jobs, he said.
“I remember helping one girl with her asylum application. She was claiming she was persecuted for her beliefs.”
Yelena McCafferty works full time as a Russian translator in Boston and has has worked to assist Ukrainian refugees by translating their documents.
She also directly works for solicitors who work with Ukrainian clients on legal cases.
The university lecturer turned translation manager set up her own business after graduating from Kostroma State University in Russia.
“I spent two years teaching at another university and then fate brought me to the UK where initially I continued my teaching career at Boston College,” Yelena said.
“I did it part-time while also trying to test the translation market and build that side of the language business.”
After two and a half years the enterprise became her full-time job, so she gave up teaching for translating and interpreting.
“Since then I have passed a qualification exam of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting and became a member.
“I received another interpreting qualification – a Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (English Law) and I also did a course in conference interpreting.”
Although Yelena works in both translation and interpreting, she said there was often a misunderstanding of the two elements of her role.
She said: “I am lucky to be both so I don’t take as much offence as others do, but a translator works with a written word and an interpreter works with a spoken word.
“International Translation Day is my professional day. I think every profession should have one and back in Russia they do – they have Teachers’ Day, Notaries’ Day, Students’ Day etc.
“So this day helps me look back, evaluate and realise once again how much translation is about breaking barriers, building bridges, encouraging trade, reaching out, understanding cultures and much more.”
She said that her work does not deal with simple emails as there are automated translators like Google Translator that are always increasing in accuracy.
The translator’s work is never dull; she even had her work appear on cinema screens by translating props.