I have vivid memories of elementary school and watching children pretend to be superheroes. Some wanted to fly, some wished to be invisible, and others wanted to read minds. Instead, I wished I had the ability to understand and speak every language in the world. This is not a typical dream that a child has, I don’t think. (If it was the same for you, please forward your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org, and my direct line is 937-223-1415).
I should introduce myself before someone calls Vocalink and asks why some strange person is posting on their behalf. My name is Brenda, and I am part of the recruitment team at Vocalink. I was raised in a bilingual home, learning Vietnamese first. My parents immigrated to the United States before I was born and I can imagine they wanted me to know a bit of my culture and they did it by language. I picked up on English when I was five and I consider English to be my first, even though it is not. Admittedly, Vietnamese has slipped through my brain a bit. However, being a recent college-graduate and moving back in with my parents has forced me to expand my vocabulary and that is a challenge I completely welcome.
I had the opportunity to study abroad in Spain last year and also become relatively proficient in Spanish. I will spare you the details and not flaunt my amazing experience except for one revelation I had while I was there: I decided that wherever I ended up, I had to be around different languages and perspectives. I remember walking down Gran Via in Madrid and hearing English, Mandarin, French, all within less than a mile. It was then that I decided that whatever I decided to put my life into would need to be diverse and rewarding.
Almost like a confirmation from the universe, I found Vocalink my senior year of college. Within my first day, I was talking to amazing people-people who worked in English and spoke Swahili with their families, people who grew up speaking Thai but learned German through school, and many more. I knew that I was in the right place. Language is important to me, it helps me to understand, to critique, to love, and to learn. Plus, I had a French friend who once asked me if I enjoyed Hamlet and I answered “No, I did not have an omelet” that morning. Language is our expression; it is our history, our lifeblood. Unfortunately, it can be a barrier. There are expressions in Vietnamese that I cannot translate into English simply because of cultural context or other implications.
With Vocalink, I am honored to be able to facilitate and narrow the gap a bit. I walk in every morning with hopes that I can get interpreters on board to help build something that connects people to people. My role allows me to motivate others to use a skill they can be proud of having, because it is allows them to do meaningful work. Vocalink is a community. I cannot think of another job where it is actually in my job description to go out in the community, to the nooks and crannies, to the community centers, and to the places of worship, in order to connect with people of different backgrounds.
And so, my friends, you have been warned. We are looking for people who share the same passion and would love to hear from you. If you don’t call us, chances are that I will call you myself.