Interpreter Profile: Jolanta Sieradzki

Jolanta Sieradzki studied English while at university. She was inspired to become an interpreter by her first experiences in Australia, after arriving from Poland in the '80's. Jolanta writes about her role, her commitment to help others, and her experiences as a bilingual speaker.  Her story follows ... 

A new life in Australia leads to a rewarding career  

Portrait of Jolanta Sieradzki, Polish InterpreterI was born in Poland during the time of communism. The country was being rebuilt after the damages of the Second World War. There were many challenges and lack of opportunities, especially for young people. I was inspired as a child by the life of my father. He experienced a more peaceful and happy life while he worked and lived in England for 12 years, so when the opportunity presented itself to study while learning to become an accountant, I was very happy. Learning a new language, as well as experiencing another culture, was always very appealing to me.

There were many hardships and in 1981, but despite all obstacles, I was able to fulfil my dream and emigrate to Austria and then to Australia in 1983 with my husband and young son. Knowledge of English proved to be a very useful and practical skill. In my spare time I enjoy reading books simultaneously in Polish and English if a translation is available. My favourite topics include: psychology, art and travel, but also novels and detective stories. My interests also include listening to music like traditional jazz, folk and baroque.

I was inspired to become an interpreter after attending medical or other appointments and seeing brochures translated into Greek, Polish, Arabic or other languages. I realised how important and useful it is to help others who do not speak the language. I knew that many people, especially elderly people in my community, would greatly benefit from such assistance. With my love of the languages and a desire to help my community, professional interpreting was an obvious choice for me. I have now been an interpreter for 10 years.

Interpreting gives me an opportunity to experience a wide variety of situations and areas that are not accessible to most people. This includes interpreting assignments offered by TIS National both face-to-face as well as over the phone. When my phone rings after 10pm at night I know that it might be TIS National with an interpreting request to assist with border control at an airport, or an emergency services call. Interpreting is interesting and challenging. It encourages continuous learning and expanding the vocabulary as well as improving interpreting techniques.

I still remember one interpreter who offered me some guidance after working in the field for over 30 years. Always be confident but respectful of others. Treat staff and agencies that offer you interpreting assignments.

Story: Talking TIS Spring 2017, published Nov 2017.
TIS National website: www.tisnational.gov.au

Published: 08/12/2017