Honoring our Commitments

by Nicole Pandl

As interpreters, we balance a busy schedule. Considering the wide range of customers that SWITS services, we could be interpreting for an initial appearance in court in the morning, helping an individual apply for insurance by phone in the afternoon, and providing interpretation for an emergency C-section at night. On top of all this, we still have to try to fit in time for our personal lives as well!

Just like us, the SWITS schedulers manage a busy schedule to provide interpreters for a large number of appointments every day. The schedule changes frequently and unexpectedly due to life’s unforeseeable circumstances, and those changes affect our schedules. Because of this, the schedulers need us to be responsive. This means that we need to be quick to let them know our availability when asked, and we should check our messages, emails, and schedules frequently.

When things change, we need to alert our schedulers immediately, so they have time to adjust accordingly, especially if we cannot attend an appointment for which we already have confirmed availability. When this is the case, we need to seriously consider the situation and contemplate the consequences of our decision. Pulling out of an assignment that we have already accepted may result in the cancellation or postponement of an appointment, which could mean that the LEP individual we had committed to serve may not receive his or her needed services. For this reason, we must do everything within our power to honor our commitments.

Lastly, beyond keeping the assignments we have accepted, we can honor our commitments by arriving on time to appointments. For SWITS interpreters, arriving at the scheduled start time is arriving late. We need to be 10-15 minutes early to every appointment out of respect to our clients. However, SWITS understands that the unpredictability of life can always throw a wrench in our well-intentioned plans. Whether you get stuck in a traffic jam or get a flat tire, it is important that you notify your scheduler immediately, so they can alert the clients and plan accordingly.

When we honor our commitments, we provide the best services for our clients and show them that SWITS cares. On an individual level, we also enhance our professional reputation as a courteous and respectful interpreter. This gives our clients confidence in our services, which is important to ensure the best outcomes in every interpreting encounter.