From one member to another: the only thing that is constant in life is change

By Rachel Lai, Brisbane, Queensland

Photo of Rachel Lai, interpreter

Rachel Lai uses some of her former skills as a project manager to consider how people can adjust to change. (Image: supplied)

Prior to my life as an interpreter, I spent many years as an IT Project Manager working on a variety of change programs that affected organisations and their employees. I was always the one that was implementing the change rather than being the one that was the recipient of it. However, at some point in all of our lives whether it is a life event that happens to us or we resolve to change by undertaking proactive steps such as making a new year’s resolution, change happens. Change is inevitable. Sometimes the change in our lives can be so small that we hardly notice them and at other times they can be so profound that they create major transformations that can be life altering.

So, what about change that occurs to us in our profession?

The landscape and the environment in which we work is indeed changing. We’ve seen the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) being implemented throughout the county and with this change we’ve had to adapt.

We’ve also seen growth in the delivery of Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) services to respond to the demand for interpreters in regional, rural and remote locations across the county and this too is forcing practitioners to diversify their skills beyond language alone and to adapt to new technologies.

So, how can we embrace change?

Here are some useful tips you can use when experiencing change:

  1. Adopt a positive view. Like the heading of the article says, the only thing that is constant in life is change.Remain optimistic and think outside of your own experiences to see the benefits that these changes are making for the community in which you work.
  2. Accept and understand that change happens in all areas of our lives so why would it not be the case in your professional life?
  3. Look at change as an opportunity to learn or discover new things. Rather than focusing on what will change, think of what you could gain from the experience. Given that VRI is a relatively young service in Australia and with many of our language service providers utilising different technology platforms, interpreters could use this as an opportunity to broaden their skills and knowledge working with these platforms and sharing those experiences with fellow practitioners.
  4. Check-in with your peers from time to time. Talk to your peers about how they are coping with the changing environment and get some insight into what they do to cope. Also take the opportunity to share with them your own experience and insight into what you have learnt as this could provide them with valuable assistance at times when they need support or someone to talk to. This is particularly important if you know they often work alone on assignments.
  5. Self-reflect on the changes that have happened to you in the past and how you have responded to those changes. How you have responded to change in the past can help prepare you for it when it presents itself again.
  6. Learn from the experience. Embracing change and learning strategies to keep things in perspective can increase your inner strength and build resilience.

Above all else, as practitioners we must be mindful that the changing landscape for interpreting isn’t to make our jobs more difficult, rather it’s changing to benefit the community in which we serve. By being flexible and adaptable to the changing environment, we can ensure that we can continue to serve our wonderful Deaf community.

Scramble blocks spelling out change and chance

Links and more information

Reproduced with permission: ASLIA October 2018 e-Update

Published: 07/11/2018