Several of my students are dual-role employees. They have told me that interpreting sneaks up on them, and we have discussed how to work this out.

I created this spreadsheet to help them with this challenge, per their request. Well, I did offer to do it… Interpreting log for dual-role employees

I suggested that they document this. When it comes to meeting the demands of the job they were hired for (which was expected to take 40 hours a week) plus the interpreting they are expected to do, administrators are not always aware that the bilingual work takes extra time.

I have used this type of chart to keep track of jobs, and suggest it as a starting point. It can be modified according to the situation, but I think it keeps track of the basic information needed to have a productive conversation with the supervisor about why the main job is suffering before there is a crisis:

  • How much time was spent interpreting?
  • What exactly had to be done?
  • Who covered? This helps the supervisor see who else was affected by the situation.
  • What was the effect on your main job? It usually takes some extra time to pick up the focus on what we dropped, so we can keep working on that proposal, that analysis, etc.

Often, the cumulative result of these 15-minute assignments helps show the big-picture impact of our new responsibilities. In the results column, it would be good to write down the positive impact of the interpreting assignment!

I hope this helps keep communication clear between dual-role interpreters and their co-workers!