Logo of Language LineIt is always a pleasure to attend an event organised by the Office of Ethnic Affairs. They always show great enthusiasm, have nice venues, bring together people with common interests, and provide fine food and drinks for a lunch break filled with light-hearted conversations and industry rumours.

The recent workshop held on Saturday 16 November was not an exception. Registered attendees were welcomed at a desk in the lobby of the first floor of the TSB Building, with name tags, gift/information packs and coffee all ready. The Language Line team even arranged for a uniformed security guard to stand outside the government building to let people in.

The seminar started at 9:30am. People were split into smaller groups sitting at different tables. Language Line Manager Diana Clark launched the event with a PowerPoint presentation, which briefly introduced the Code of Ethics and Risk Management issues for interpreters.

Keynote speaker Vanisa Dhiru, the CEO of Volunteers New Zealand, then took to the stage. As a promising young leader and inspirational business woman, Vanisa talked about her own story and presented the interpreters with ideas about how to develop their personal brand and market themselves.

Vanisa’s presentation contained some interesting pieces of advice, including:

  • Decide who you want to be.
  • Develop some key messages that you want to share with the world.
  • Project professionalism and confidence in your image.
  • Do not underestimate the importance of networking.

Afterwards, attendees were divided into three different groups to discuss interpreting assignment scenarios, which were all related to the Code of Ethics for interpreters. Each group selected one person to report back to the whole group at the end of the session.

A Q&A session followed. The audience was given the opportunity to ask questions to a panel of three: Diana Clark, Vanisa Dhiru and Michelle Hughes from Interpreting Services Ltd based in Palmerston North. A few interpreters asked how to get people to pay for the service when no written agreement was signed beforehand. Others also wanted to find out what the market rate for interpreters was. Unfortunately no answers were provided during the session.

The seminar ended at about 2:00pm with an informal finger-food and networking lunch.