This month, I interviewed Dina Rashad, also known as The Linguist. Dina stands out in the Arab interpreters’ community as a strong advocate for learning, a passionate media interpreter, and a fantastic booth mate! Dina Rashad, the English simultaneous Interpreter at Egypt’s state-owned Nile TV, and the official English Interpreter for Egyptian Presidency (Presidency.Eg), has also supported many international organizations as she interpreted in conferences for the Arab League, the EU, several UN Organizations, as well as the CAF. In the following interview, we zoom into Dina’s career to find out what it takes to be a media interpreter!
I personally Identify myself with Dina as a “true lover” of English. When I received Dina’s answers, it surprised me that she hasn’t studied abroad. As I kept reading, I quickly saw myself in these lines too! That young girl who “truly loved” English and wanted to sound good at it 😊
I hope you enjoy Dina’s interview, and I hope it gives hope to all English language students who read our blog. Dina is definitely a great example of a hard-working student who reached a goal she had set for herself even before she joined college! And she took the right steps to make it come true.
- Can you tell us more about your education and how you found your passion for SI?
I graduated from the Faculty of Humanities, Al-Azhar University, where I studied English Linguistics and Simultaneous Interpretation. As I was fond of the English Language in general, and speaking skills in particular, I had set a goal since I was a young girl to become an excellent English speaker one day! Driven by this goal, I continued to improve my English speaking and conversational skills, exploring more about the English language, its characteristics, its phonemes, and other linguistic features. And only then I realized that I want to be an Interpreter. I was sure that I’ll be capable of playing this role.
- Finding your way as a simultaneous interpreter for a state-owned TV must have been a result of hard work and training. Can you share with us how did you start this journey and how often did you dedicate time for training and practice?
For me, language and Interpretation are the heart and mind I live with, and I really can’t survive without both. It all started with true passion, but I never dedicated much time for formal training. I was however more focused into self-study and reading.
- Can you tell us more about your professional role and media interpretation? How do you deal with challenges in this field?
Media Interpretation is about being ready at all times, excepting the unexpected! In this field, we do have a higher sense of self confidence and regular memory enhancement, and this makes things easier. In my job, I’m responsible for interpretation assignments related to the Egyptian Presidency (Presidency.Eg). This includes speeches, activities, conferences, and high-level visits directly related to the presidency. Since this involves presidential news and live streaming, my colleagues and I are always on call and can be asked to fulfill assignments whenever needed. It is definitely fun, but requires adequate preparation and continuous improvement.
- As an expert, what is the best advice that you can give to interpreters to prepare before an assignment they were rushed into?
Research is a great tool that you can use in these situations. If you are rushed into an assignment, try to spend some time if you can before the task to double check or do a small search online. Use the available search engines to look for related stories or headlines on the topic in you’re A and B language.
- What is the most memorable assignment that you have worked on so far?
There are two unforgettable events that I’m really proud of. The Big Industrial Week Forum was my first-ever conference interpretation assignment! The project shed light on the Rosatom El-Dab’aa Nuclear power station. The domain was very challenging and technical, but it was a great learning experience. The second was when I interpreted for the Egyptian Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly during his visit to Berlin, Germany, and that was my first conference interpretation assignment on air!
- What are the items that I would usually find in your booth?
A few bottles of water , my notebook, my pen, my sticky notes, my sugary gum, my spare headset, and my phone charger.
- How do you evaluate your productivity during COVID-19? Were you impacted by the economic situation? And how do you deal with uncertainty in this difficult time?
COVID-19 led to a new revolution in our industry. However, workflow has been impacted dramatically on all levels. Our introduction to RSI involved a significant time of studying and preparation to familiarize ourselves with technical platforms and requirements, and this took us months until we were able to use these platforms confidently. We still learn, share our best practices as we continue working, and share our experience. This uncertainty in work also made me think of other sources of income that continue to sustain my passion for language and interpretation. Therefore, I designed several online Interpretation courses. I was also a panelist in two different international digital Summits where I represented Remote Simultaneous Interpretation as a new normal amid and after COVID-19.
- RSI proved cost-effective for many clients, especially when interpreters continue to learn to use platforms like Zoom. How do you see the future of RSI? Do you think that clients will continue hiring interpreters remotely anyways even if the health situation improves?
RSI has become a practical and strong mode of interpretation that penetrated the market, and it will remain one of the main modes for a long time. However, I don’t expect it to replace the face to face experience at all.
- You have recently collaborated with ATA’s Arabic language division on a webinar entitled “interpretation industry between illusion and reality,” where you described interpretation as “the higher level” that professional translators can reach if they want to build on “this art.” What is your advice for translators who want to explore the filed of interpretation and how can they build confidence?
Oh, yes indeed! Well, I believe in strategic planning! So, I believe they should evaluate themselves and be precise about identifying their points of weakness and strength. After that, they can kick off their development plan regardless of how long would it take! They should be aware of the market competitiveness and make sure they won’t get in the market unless they are fit for it. Shadowing is highly recommended and self-study tools; a good resource to check from time to time is the UN web TV.