Self-Evaluation Questionnaire for Interpreters
The following are the “givens” that are required to become a successful interpreter. If you are not strong in one or more of these areas, further study will be necessary in order to succeed.
- a thorough knowledge of source and target languages
- cultural fluency in each language
- extensive background in chosen areas of specialization
- training in the act of interpreting
- understanding of interpreter ethics for your specific field
- a clear speaking voice
- high energy and responsiveness to changing situations
Beyond the “givens” listed above, the following questionnaire was designed to help you open the door to your professional subconscious. You do not have to share it with anyone. It may assist you in identifying your professional needs and goals and encourage you to act upon them.
Discovering Strengths and Weaknesses in my Professional Role as Interpreter
(I) During consecutive interpreting my strengths are:
- Knowledge of vocabulary
- Knowledge of procedures
- Feeling at ease working with other interpreters
- Feeling self-confident
- Accepting feedback positively
- Having participated in training workshops to upgrade my skills
- Accepting criticism which may arise during the performance of my duties as a professional and not taking it personally.
- Minimizing involvement with clients (patients, defendants, victims, witnesses, attorneys, relatives, etc.)
(II) During consecutive interpreting my weaknesses are:
- Improper use of consecutive technique
- Feeling insecure in my role
- Being unaware of my loss of concentration and the onset of fatigue
- Lack of vocabulary to handle an assignment without proper preparation
- Too inhibited to request a break when too tired to perform efficiently
- Allowing a mistake to remain uncorrected after I become aware of having made it
- Feeling uncomfortable when other interpreters are present in the room
- Too sensitive about criticism or feedback about my performance
- Lack of self-confidence because I have not kept up with my profession by attending seminars
- Use of body gestures to convey meaning when under stress or memory lapse (unable to find the “right word”)
(III) What are my strengths when doing simultaneous interpreting?
- Having a vast and ever growing vocabulary
- Ability to shut out noise
- Ability to overcome boredom
- Ability to concentrate
- Ability to overcome minor difficulties in voice volume or speech mannerisms
- Ability to handle assignments with more than one person requiring an interpreter
- Ability to keep my train of thought without getting confused
(IV) What are my weaknesses when doing simultaneous interpreting?
- I get stuck on some words.
- I need to improve my simultaneous technique.
- I need to spend more time reviewing my performance.
- I am not satisfied with my performance, but I don’t know what to do about it.
- I get too emotionally involved.
- I overwork my vocal cords by: talking too loud, whispering, improper breathing, inability to relax.
(V) How do I see myself in my role as an interpreter?
- I feel positive about it.
- I get professional recognition.
- I feel it’s “just another job.”
- I feel appreciated for what I do.
- I feel I receive fair compensation.
- I feel at ease doing my job.
- I join professional organizations and read all I can about my area of specialization.
- I get involved in local organizations because I feel I can “make a difference.”
(VI) What increases my sense of security while on the job?
- I keep up with changes in the law, medicine, and other fields in which I work.
- I read in my source and target languages to keep up my vocabulary.
- I develop glossaries and share them with my colleagues.
- I attend training seminars regularly.
- I always arrive on time.
- I always dress as the professional I truly am.
- I follow the code of ethics of my profession.
(VII) How does stress make itself known in my body?
- Throat – chest
- Lower back
- Do I find myself making tight fists?
- Is my mouth shut tight, my jaw tense?
- Do I find myself holding my breath?
- Do I take shallow breaths and tire easily?
- Do I perspire profusely when under stress?
- Am I aware of which situations are most stressful to me?
© 2005 American Translators Association with acknowledgment to Karen Vance, the late Ely Weinstein, and the Translation and Interpretation Certificate Program at Bellevue College, WA. (Please do not reproduce this document without the permission of ATA.)