This women’s month, Lexcode’s interpretation arm eQQui takes pride in its powerful roster of female interpreters.

With Ms. Khrysta as our first in featuring our premiere local interpreters in a campaign we’d call “#eQQuiForYou”, it’s high time that we know how “girls run the world of interpretation” as she shares stories about her career so far and the industry itself.

About her interpretation career

I consider life as a school so I welcome all opportunities to learn new and different things. I learn a lot from teaching and writing stories. Doing simultaneous and consecutive interpretations exposes me to many cultures, professions, industries, and fields. It is a great learning opportunity that is why I love doing it. It also allows me to meet interesting people.

What made you pursue a career in interpretation?

Being an interpreter was never in my career plans, but then, none of the really nice things that have happened to me were planned.

After my studies in Switzerland, I worked at the French Embassy in Manila and taught at the Alliance Française de Manille (AFM) on Saturdays. I later taught full-time at the AFM, and they sent me whenever clients requested an interpreter. That started my career in interpretation.

What is your take on the country’s interpretation industry?

The interpretation industry in the Philippines is a growing industry. As long as the country remains politically stable in the eyes of the international community, foreign companies will keep on coming here and international organizations will always be held here. They love our open culture and the fact that most Filipinos speak English.

With globalization as the trend, this industry should keep on growing in the next five years. 

Challenges and setbacks in her interpretation career

Like any other profession, there are challenges to the job of an interpreter. As there is no school for interpreters in Manila, the people in this profession have to learn on their own so that they can meet the standards and expectations of their clients.

Simultaneous interpretation is especially difficult and stressful. Preparation is the key. While delegates take turns in talking on stage, interpreters are talking all the time to interpret for all the speakers. Interpreters need to master the art of focusing and listening. The experience can be so intense that I sometimes feel like my head wants to explode at the end of the day. But with preparation and focus, the experience can be gratifying too.

Often, clients do not seem to understand the importance of supplying, way in advance, the documents that interpreters need to prepare for the event or conference. As I said, preparation is the key to a successful interpretation.

Interesting project or assignment as an interpreter

For me, all projects are interesting as they provide me new knowledge and new friends. But, the most memorable projects were the opportunities that I had to interpret for the late former president Corazon Aquino and her counterpart, Senegalese President Abdou Diouf; former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; and former president Benigno Aquino. But then again, I also had fun trekking in the forest with a couple of researchers from Madagascar.

Each experience was a learning experience.

Other hobbies and interests

I love watching movies during my spare time. I also try to spend time with my 6 dogs and 15 cats.

I spend a lot of time now trying to help the stray dogs and cats of UP Diliman. I call them our community animals. I formed a group called “FRIENDS OF CAMPUS ANIMALS” or FOCA UP, and we organize free neutering. We also conduct an awareness campaign for responsible pet ownership. People have to realize that irresponsible pet owners are causing the increase of the stray animal population in our urban areas. I feel strongly about this so I try to do my part in helping the animals.

Do you have any interesting projects that you’re looking forward to this year?

This year, I would like to finally write and publish the books that I have been planning and dreaming about. They will be books about the bond between people and animals.

What do you wish to achieve in your career?

I am very thankful for all the opportunities that were given to me in my interpretation career. Perhaps it would be fulfilling for me to see that all the policies and plans that were discussed by the government and international organizations in the conferences will be implemented and put to good use so that ordinary people can benefit from them.

Advice for young interpreters

STUDY and prepare well for each project.

FOCUS on the job at hand. Distractions will ruin your concentration and ability to do the job well.

Be THANKFUL for your skills, opportunities, and the people that you meet on the job.

Ms. Khrysta is a professional consecutive and simultaneous interpreter for French, English, and Filipino. She is also a professor of journalism at the University of the Philippines Diliman. As a journalist, she also writes for different print and online publications. She is also the producer and host of a weekly program at DZUP 1602.