This is our fourth episode of our “Terp Tales series” and this time we will show you the amazing story of growing up in Haiti and becoming a professional Interpreter by Jean Bosco!
“My name is Jean-Bosco F. , I am fluent in French, Haitian Creole, Spanish and English and I am the proud father of two wonderful children, Christopher 16 and Kimberly. I gave them a nickname which is HAM (Haitian, American and Mexican).
Having been raised in Haiti, my journey into the circle of the family of interpreters started for me at the age of 14 years old. My parents have dedicated their lives working with the poor and the forgotten in the mountains of Haiti. My parents wore many hats in that community. My father was the director of the school during the week, doctor to care for the sick, a judge when there was disagreement between two parties among other title. My Mom would care for the pregnant ladies, the newborn, teaching them how to cook nutritious food and also to read and write.
Many people from different nations had visited us and try to provide resources. There was a language barrier between my parents and them. I begin to find myself in between them with a dictionary on hand interpreting for them. Though, I had not been exposed to protocol or interpreting in the first person, I did my best to convey the message.
Having moved to the United States, I pursued my education in the field of IT for 17 years where I worked as a contractor for the Federal Aviation Administration not knowing that my true calling was to serve as a conduit between two people. Once I figured that out, I began by watching videos about interpreting, the use of first person and the protocol, code of ethics, and culture. I began to practice and study medical terms. Once ready, I applied for my first OPI interpreting job which was in Haitian and French my native tongues. I realized that I love providing that service and began to dedicate more time which began to produce much fruit.
I truly enjoy my profession now because it exposes me to different culture and more importantly having the patience and the ability to meet the LEP at their current level. For example, being a French interpreter does not automatically clear the way to interpret for someone who is from North Africa or from France or Canada. Each of those countries has their own dialect. I have to adjust my French accent according to the LEP’s home country and study the proper way to interpret.
Some of my challenges have been when I have to clean up after a fellow interpreter. Recently, I had to interpret for a lady who did not slept well during the night before and asked her boss to allow her to go home. The company got her an interpreter on the line who interpreted incorrectly what she had to say and that lady ended up in the hospital where she was misdiagnosed. After this fiasco, I was called to interpret for this furious lady. There I had to regain her trust as an interpreter.
Having decided to change my career from IT to now interpreter, I have to say that it has been very rewarding for me. I have interpreted for the Bill Clinton Foundation during the 2010 massive earthquake. I served as an interpreter for Senator Bernie Sanders during a peace conference where multiple countries attended in an attempt to avert going to war with North Korea and most recently for a HBO boxing match in Atlantic City, NJ between Alvarez and Kovalev.
I recognize that I am part of a very important small group of people who has a unique assignment to provide a very important service. Sometimes, I have to interpret a prayer from a chaplain for a dying cancer patient or interpret for a mother who just lost a child. Every call is important and requires attention to details and mutual respect. There will always be a need for an interpreter because the world is a diverse place. No machine at this time can take the place of an interpreter.
At the end, my goal is to make sure that both parties leave satisfied with the service they received.”