Learner Profile - Amal Kharroub

headshot of learner Amal Kharroub

Languages & Interpreting

17 September 2019

Diploma in public service interpreting (DPSI) Arabic

A bus journey one day with two ladies trying to use their oyster and a short tempered bus driver was the catalyst for starting this course. I explained to both the ladies and the bus driver what was happening, calming the situation down. I discovered that I could deliver information to and between people easily, and I also like to help people. Since then it’s happened on many bus journeys! It also happened a lot when I worked in retail before, when people would put a phone to me and ask me to tell them what the other person on the phone was saying.

I like languages and learn them quickly. I previously thought about becoming an interpreter but didn’t feel confident enough to try, and settled on other job roles. Then I started looking online and came across the Macbeth Centre. I knew immediately I wanted to do the course - even though it was about to start the very next day I was able to speak to the tutor and do the assessment. 

I started the course and although it was just one day a week the tutor was really encouraging, providing extra resources and also suggesting that students meet up with each other - treating everywhere we go as ongoing study and to look at whatever is written in front of you to translate. It was a struggle at the start because it was English and a foreign language but then when we all sat together and practiced, and had mock exams, along with tutor feedback, it all fell into place.

The common purpose of it, the challenges of it, and the discussions we have in and out of class, all correcting each other, was good. It encourages you, as you are all here to be interpreters. Even if it’s only three hours a week in class, it helped me to identify my strengths and believe in myself because people are telling me - you actually can do it!

For me, since starting on the Interpreting course, everything has changed – my entire life has changed. I was hesitant before and wasn’t sure about my abilities. I just wasn’t sure whether I could do it or not. I was intimidated so what I learned is to be more confident, and it has set my path to the future and that has been very important. Even walking, when I go to have my coffee or something. I notice that I am much more confident in saying what I want to say and then I start to enjoy going out more. I enjoy going and talking to people. I think all my life is my learning journey!

At home, I notice my kids are proud of me as well. It impacts them because they see me sitting down and studying, and so they start to study more. Then when I get the results, they say to me: “Mum, you did it!”

Currently, I am busy doing lots of interpreting in a variety of settings including: online, on the phone, and in person within hospital/other healthcare sites. 

My next step is I want to do the Masters in interpreting and translating, or in conference interpreting, and I want to explore with teaching. Ultimately, my dream job would be interpreting in the United Nations. When I am running in the morning somehow I just think of interpreting for Presidents - I don’t know where I get these ideas from!

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