Why our service makes professional interpreters ‘cringe’… and we’re proud of it.

The other day, I suggested an expat on a Facebook group might like to try our service and join our user panel to see if we could help remove their language barrier. A few minutes later a professional interpreter replied that they had looked at the service and it make them cringe. Specifically, that in the videos (which you can see on the user panel page linked above), the interpreter (my friend Carla) had so many gaps in their interpretation and didn’t tell either party exactly everything that was said. They went on to demand to know how I could guarantee our users that we used professional interpreters, what code of ethics did they use, and did I realise that the interpreters weren’t actually remaining neutral in the conversation but were acting more like advocates for the user!


myAmigos seemed to have pressed some buttons. My initial reaction was to fire back a post defending my friends, perhaps a little too stridently. I have always been fiercely loyal. Upon reflection, though, I was actually glad that they posted this attack because it cemented exactly how we are different from a professional interpretation service. We do not guarantee our Spanish interpreters are professional – we don’t want to. In fact, we promise a bilingual friend. Hence the name of the service. Some of our amig@s have degrees in interpretation, and are approved sworn translators, or have many years and qualifications in teaching Spanish… but that’s not why we hired them. They are all my personal friends who have the language skills necessary, but more importantly for us, the genuine love of helping others. If all they care about is getting the language correct and remaining neutral in the conversation, as they should according to the professional interpreters’ code of ethics (apparently – I have no reason to doubt the person posting on Facebook, but I haven’t seen the document myself), then we do not want them.

I am the user in the video that so upset the professional interpreter and I can tell you I couldn’t care less that I didn’t understand every word that Carla said to my receptionist at the medical clinic, or vice versa. All I cared about was solving the problem that was stopping me from getting my vaccinations and that is what she helped me to solve. That interpreter who questioned this service was correct – there IS a big difference between a bilingual friend and a professional interpreter. We celebrate that difference!

If the precision of the language is the most important thing for you, please find a professional interpretation service to help. Here, we have bilingual friendly people who understand travellers and expats and who are on your side and want to help you remove your language barriers.

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The UltiMartes – February 2022

It’s that time again. Each month we want to bring you some of the highlights from the myAmigos journey in our quest

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