Interpreter Lockdown Stories #5

Interpreter Lockdown Story

When Covid-19 forced us into Lockdown, I was not at home. I was a 100 miles away in my partner’s house and that’s where I stayed for 3 months. This made a difference to my overall Lockdown experience. Although I had company, was really busy helping him with home improvements. I was not in my own home, with my own belongings. This at times made me feel trapped.

Work stopped overnight and I found myself immersed into a technical land mine, downloading multiple platforms, accessing webinars. Discussions on backdrops, the best colour to buy, the best make, what web cam to buy, the best headphones to buy, Ethernet cables, broadband speed, best lighting, new laptops, working space, changing rooms – create a home office, no work, no money, no social life.

Once I overcame all of that, the new normal took place. Working from home has its benefits but cannot replace the interpersonal experience. One day I was working in the garden and received a call asking if I was available to work. I was, of course and needed to be online in 30 minutes. I quickly changed my garden t-shirt for a suitable work top, speedily created a work station in my partners office and waited for the Zoom call. An hour and a half later the call was over. The job went well, I looked professional from my head to my waist, but from that point on, I looked like Alan Titchmarsh. 

This was all a new learning. The webinars and forums are a huge support, one of which we still have. We meet once a month as an information and support group. These also created a relief in me, knowing that we are all in the same boat, sailing the same rough ocean and praying we will see land soon. I was learning on the go, thrown in at the deep end, sink or swim. Along with all the new technology, platforms, webinars etc, I discovered I also need to change some signs to adapt for onscreen. So much to remember, new ways of working, adaptions, new sign space and all this, whilst still trying to interpret in a concise and clear manner. But I did it and somehow, I feel better for the experience.

The government SEISS helped a lot and relieved some of the stress. Before Covid, I spent many hours on the road, stuck in traffic, stressed. My days would start early and I would cover an average of 300 miles a week. Although working remotely is not ideal, I personally, have found it less stressful than spending hours on the road. This was a huge shock for me because I am not techno at all and I don’t really like too much to change. 

The experience has been challenging, with many hurdles, but I overcame them and I am still sane. I have learnt that I can adapt to change much better than I initially thought. I’ve reaped the benefits of the forums for support and will continue to do so. I’ve realised I want to go back to working within the mental health sector (not sure what role yet), alongside interpreting, not instead of, so retraining at some point.

Not sure my story will benefit anyone but I’m sure you can relate to it. Thanks for reading.

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