My name is Bahja Hassan and I am a Somali interpreter. When people ask me where I am from the first place that comes to mind is Nashville. That has been my home for the past 23 years. I was born in Somalia and have lived half of my life in Nashville, TN. I moved to Minnesota about 3 years ago.
If you would have asked me 3 years ago the question- will you ever work as an interpreter? I wouldn’t know the answer. I mean, yes, I do speak Somali and English but that doesn’t mean I can do the job. As a mother you spend most of your day taking care of your kids and anything else you feel is out of reach. Then I did a little research, and I found out that there’s high demand for Somali interpreting in my community. When I started working as an interpreter a year and half ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect or what type of interpreting I wanted to do.
At the beginning you probably will not know certain things or understand the job. The most important class I took that helped me to understand and got me ready for my job was taking the 40-hours Interpreter Training class.
INCGO has given me the opportunity to make a difference, and that’s my favorite part of my job. My assignments are mostly with children and their families and it is amazing to work with them. I love to give back and make a difference in someone’s life. Interpreting has taught me to be patient and be present, I am here for my community.
As far as goals, I want to get as much experience as I can and try to learn multiple languages. In the future I would love to learn Korean and Spanish.
My advice for the upcoming and current interpreter, make sure you are prepared for your job, take the 40-hours training class. It’s a very big part of how well you will do your job, be on-time, be respectful, and treat your client with dignity. I hope you all enjoy it.