How long have you been an interpreter?
I started interpreting when I was 15. My dad helped open a Save the Children branch in my home country of Moldova, and, since I was the only one who spoke English, I was asked to volunteer and interpret for the humanitarian relief groups from Sweden, Denmark and Italy that started bringing aid to Moldova after the fall of the Soviet Union. This was my very first interpreting experience and it has been over 35 years since I became an interpreter.
How were you trained? Where did you receive your training?
I went to a school where English as a second language was taught beginning in the first grade, and all the way to high school. I then graduated from a university with a degree in English language and literature. When I decided to become a full-time interpreter in 2010, I also started attending continuing education seminars and workshops in California where I lived at the time. I also started working as an interpreter and learned a lot on the job. I went on to successfully pass the CMI exam in 2013, and then the court interpreter’s exam in 2018. I also added translation to the services in 2017 that I now regularly offer to my clients. Translation is a quite different skill when you compare it to interpreting since it entails managing tight deadlines, and the translation process is different, tedious and requires close attention to details. Although many interpreters also offer translation services, for me, it was something I had resisted for years, for the same exact reasons listed above. Once I learned the process though, it became a very lucrative part of my business.
How long have you worked for HIT Services?
I began working with HIT Services in mid-2017, about six months after I relocated to South Carolina from California.
What was the most memorable/positive interpretation experience that you have had since you began?
GREENVILLE, SC - At the end of 2018, HIT Services was approached by one of the teachers at Carolina High to see if we could provide information for their students who one day hope to enter the medical profession. Ms. Erin Driggers, an instructor in Project Lead the Way at Carolina High School Health Academy, wanted to give her students an opportunity to learn about the profession of medical interpretation as a viable career path. The students also wanted to learn about American Sign Language (ASL) after they had finished a unit about hearing loss. We were very excited at the possibility to make a positive impact in the community by sharing our knowledge about the interpreting profession, and the opportunity to raise awareness about the Deaf Community in our area.
HIT Services invited Mrs. Sherry Williams, Adjunct Professor of ASL and Deaf History and Culture at Converse and Spartanburg Community Colleges, to present and share her expertise about Deaf Culture and History with Mrs. Driggers class. The students had the opportunity to learn that American Sign Language is a complete, complex language, entirely separate and distinct from English. They were introduced to deaf culture and were also exposed to ASL as they saw Mrs. Williams make her presentation in American Sign Language, having Mrs. Terry Rivera, a Certified ASL Interpreter, voice the information.
GREENWOOD, SC - In October, HIT Services, in partnership with Beyond Abuse - a non-profit organization who works to eradicate sexual violence and child abuse in our community - hosted an In-Service for Beyond Abuse staff and their community partners in Greenwood, SC that focused on working with the Deaf Community. The presenters were Roger Williams, Executive Director for SC Department of Mental Health Deaf Services, and Sherry Williams, President of the SC Association of the Deaf. The presentation began with the question, "Who needs an interpreter?" to which the audience responded, “A deaf person.” The presenters then began to sign to each other without voicing into English; the audience was quickly lost. Mr. Williams posed the question again: "Who needs an interpreter?" to which the audience now responded, "We do." This introduction highlighted the need for an interpreter for both parties. The deaf person cannot understand the hearing person, and the hearing person cannot understand the deaf person.
GREENVILLE, South Carolina (June 6, 2017) – Greenville-based HIT Services, an interpretation and translation company, was honored at the Community Works Excellence in Entrepreneurship Event as Minority-Owned Business of the Year. Jeannette Houchens, Founder and President, accepted the award given during Microbusiness Month, a statewide initiative during the month of June.