Aman is TikkTalk’s community manager. Aman previously worked as an interpreter, and was also an active user of interpretation services during his time running an asylum reception centre in Otta, Norway. Here, Aman tells a bit more about himself and shares his tips for interpreters.
Aman Tesfamichael has worked both as an interpreter and he has experience using interpretation services. Now he is TikkTalk’s community manager, tasked with creating a community amongst the TikkTalk interpreters.
“My name is Aman Tesfamichael and I’ve worked for TikkTalk since November 2016. My task is to create a sense of community amongst our interpreters”, says Aman, “At TikkTalk, we know that freelance interpreters often miss a place to meet other interpreters, so we want to make sure they have one.”
“TikkTalk is not an interpretation agency, but a tech company. So the way we want to create a community is for instance through events or online discussions”, he says.
“Our internal Facebook group for interpreters, TikkTalkers, is a great example of that. There, we give interpreters a closed forum so that they can share their experiences and help each other.”
Started as an interpreter
Aman does not have an official certification as an interpreter, but he has still worked professionally as an interpreter between Norwegian, English and Tigrinya for the health and asylum services in Norway.
“The fact that I’ve worked as an interpreter, means that I’m familiar with the interpreter working day”, says Aman, “At the same time, we know that there are major differences between certified interpreters, other professional interpreters and bilinguals.”
“One of the most important things we do at TikkTalk is to clearly inform clients about interpreters’ different qualification levels. That way, we can ensure that certified interpreters are always used when certifications are required.”
Aman’s tips for interpreters
The three most important things for those who use interpretation services:
After working as an interpreter, Aman began running an asylum reception centre in rural Norway. Suddenly he found himself on the ‘other side’, and started using interpretation services himself.
“When I ran the asylum centre, I frequently had to use interpreters”, says Aman, “It was definitely a new experience. And I soon learned that three things were particularly important when using interpretation services: availability, price, and quality when committing to an agency.”
“First of all, I had to have access to interpreters when I needed them”, he says, “We tried using interpreters during day time only, but in an asylum centre you sometimes need an interpreter around the clock.”
“Additionally, I was naturally concerned about price. I wanted to know how much of the money I paid went to the interpreter, and how much went to the agency”, he continues.
“Finally, quality and freedom were important. If I were to commit to a contract with an agency, I had to know that they provided quality. But what I really wanted was the option to use the interpreters I wanted, without any contracts or other commitments”, says Aman.
The three biggest worries for those who use interpretation services:
Aman explains that booking an interpreter could lead him to worry about many things.
“The worst case scenario was interpreters not showing up”, he says, “Booking an interpreter was not my main job at the asylum centre. It was a means to an end. So it was very important that the process went smoothly, so I could focus on my actual job.”
“The price could also sometimes be a problem. Of course, you have to pay to get quality will of course cost money, but if the relationship between what you pay and what you get isn’t right, it’s not a good thing”, says Aman, “If you get the quality you pay for, it’s absolutely worth it, though. A good interpreter can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.”
“Also, I sometimes encountered interpreters who were not serious about their job, and who wanted to do more than just interpret. That was bad. And some of the interpreters did not come across as neutral”, he says.
“An interpreter could for instance stop the conversation and tell me ‘he doesn’t understand this and that’ or ‘in our culture, it’s like this’. Then I had to take the interpreter aside and tell him or her to stop.”
Get in touch
Every day Aman talks to interpreters who want more assignments. The TikkTalk marketplace is still new, so the number of assignments increase with every passing month.
“I really want to hear more about what interpreters think about our digital platform”, says Aman, “We always try to improve our services. And the best way of doing it, is to get feedback from the people who use the services.”
If you want to find interpretation assignments through TikkTalk, you can register for free here. And if you have already signed up, or if you have questions about being a TikkTalker, please join our Facebook group.
Three quick questions for Aman:
- What do you do when you don’t work for TikkTalk?
When I’m not working, I spend time with my friends, travelling and exploring Oslo. A lot has changed since I last lived here.
- You have lived in Oslo, Harstad, New York, Asmara and Otta – which place did you like the best?
Of all the places I’ve lived, New York tops the list. There wasn’t enough hours in the day to do everything you wanted to do there. It was really exciting to see and do things you can’t experience in Norway. At the same time, I think there’s a lot of exciting stuff happening in Oslo right now. I see that people get a lot of inspiration from the US and New York.
- Who is your role model?
I don’t have one person I see as my role model. But I always work to reach my full potential and make use of all the opportunities I have. So in a way you could say that a version of me who uses his full potential, is my role model.