Studying in autumn 2020 during coronavirus

Eszter Sonyak

Eszter SonyakFreelance interpreter, Capita Translation and Interpreting

BA Translation, 2014

Tell me a little bit about your role now as a Freelance Interpreter. What is a typical day like for you?

There is no such a thing as a 'typical day' for a freelance interpreter as every single assignment is different. Interpreting sessions can vary tremendously from one session to the next.

The majority of my bookings involve interpreting at various criminal courts in England and these assignments are fairly similar. On arrival at the court I sign the interpreters' book and introduce myself to the court clerk who will be signing my time sheet at the end of the assignment. The clerk notifies the court of my arrival then I attend the consultation of the defendant and their solicitor. At the end of the consultation the solicitor informs the clerk that they are ready to proceed and the hearing goes ahead. Often there is another consultation between the defendant and their solicitor following the hearing which I also have to attend. At the end of the final consultation I inform the clerk that I have completed the assignment then I leave the court after signing the interpreters' book once again at the reception.

What skills are most important in your career?

Excellent knowledge of source and target languages, flexibility, discretion, confidence, reliability and good timekeeping.

When looking at universities, what inspired you to apply to Middlesex?

My language combination is quite rare, Middlesex was the only university in the whole country that offered the English-Hungarian option.

What was it about the course that motivated you to apply for it?

I have always dreamed of getting a degree and could not wait to get back to studying after finishing my A levels a couple of years ago. My main goal was to develop my knowledge of academic English to improve my future career opportunities and the modules offered on my chosen course looked ideal and useful to achieve this aim.

What have you enjoyed about the course?

The second year of my degree course was my favourite. I received incredibly helpful feedback from my tutors which not only sharpened my skills tremendously but also gave me a huge amount of confidence. I enjoyed discussing the dilemmas and difficulties of the interpreting and translating profession a lot with those who have been working in this field for years. Their experience and knowledge simply amazed me.

How did you get your foot on the career ladder after university?

I began volunteering for the Metropolitan Police Service in 2009 and continued to provide translation and interpreting services throughout my studies at Middlesex University. The experience and knowledge I had acquired during these years allowed me to build an impressive 'interpreting portfolio' which proved to be extremely useful. The majority of potential employers require at least 400 hours interpreting experience which would have taken a considerable amount of time to gain as a graduate.

What advice would you give prospective students looking to study at Middlesex?

Make the most of your studies and opportunities to improve yourself at Middlesex University because these years will be crucial for your career. My tutors provided invaluable support and feedback throughout my degree course which allowed me to become a successful and confident professional.

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