Hi everyone! Long time no chat. I hope you’re all doing well. As most of you know, I passed the NBCMI oral exam a month ago and am officially certified! I still can’t believe it if I’m being honest. I thought it would be nice to go through and see how we got to this point because it all went by so fast!
I’d say I started my interpreting journey on November 23, 2019. I had just been told I was officially a high school graduate two days prior. I did independent studies, so I was able to finish high school a bit early. I went to an in-person orientation at the Southern California School of Interpretation in Santa Fe Springs, CA. Due to the fact that I didn’t have my high school diploma yet I had to wait to register for anything. On December 12th I took the tests to get my seal of biliteracy, which at the time was extremely nerve-racking. Then on February 20th, I found out I passed the seal of biliteracy testing.
March of 2020 was when everything kinda of took a turn with the coronavirus outbreak. Everything closed down, we had to stay home and what was only supposed to be two weeks became two years. My drive-thru graduation was on May 29th and we had our virtual ceremony the following day. I gave myself a summer break and started the online medical interpreter program on August 19th. It was a nine-month long program which included three courses. Due to it being online, I struggled a lot. I feel it was because I didn’t know anyone else taking the class and wasn’t studying enough like I should have. I believe that having a study partner at the time would have been extremely beneficial. I finished the program on July 19th 2021, and received my certificate of completion. That same day I joined InterpreMed which was honestly the best thing ever. The live practice sessions, scripts, and study guides helped me so much when it came to studying and the certification exams. As I mentioned earlier, having a study partner was what helped me study. Getting feedback and advice from others was what I felt I was missing. After that I started looking into certification and preparing for the written exam.
I took the NBCMI written exam on September 22nd and passed, which was very exciting! I had really bad test anxiety a few days before, but thankfully they let you know then and there what your score was. Immediately after that, I created my LinkedIn account, began attending webinars, and joining the InterpreMed meetings. On October 1st, I created my Instagram account @miriam.interprets. I started creating content about interpreting, terminology, and also networking with colleagues. This was honestly where all the fun began. I started to do livestreams which was so fun and creating content has always been something I’ve enjoyed. I am so grateful for the community I have on that account and all of those I have been able to meet because of it.
After the written exam is the oral exam. Just the idea of it terrified me. I didn’t feel ready to take the exam right away, so I waited as long as I could to be able to study more before deciding to schedule it. I took the oral exam on August 20th, 2022 and unfortunately didn’t pass on the first try. It was even more disappointing because I was so close to passing. I took some time off while I waited to be able to try again. I had to wait three months before being able to reschedule. I started looking into rescheduling in February of this year and wasn’t able to officially schedule until March, which I was a bit disappointed about, but it happens! I scheduled the exam for April 1st and took the oral exam a second time.
Waiting for the results felt like forever, but I was distracted with work and honestly didn’t really want to think about it too much. I was mostly keeping track of how many weeks it had been to know if I should reach out and ask about it.
It was Tuesday, April 25th. I was on my break at work and I was looking online for Star Wars merch and waiting for a coupon code in my email because I wanted to buy a jacket. I was refreshing my inbox and what popped up was the email with my exam results. I was in shock because like I said I wasn’t expecting it. I was informed that I had passed the exam and was now a CMI-Spanish.
So what am I up to now? It’s currently the end of May and I’ve been looking into volunteering and taking advantage of this summer to study and plan out what I want to do. I want to learn more about educational interpreting. It’s crazy to think I’ve been able to do all this in what seems like a short amount of time. I am thankful to the amazing support system that I have, which is my family. I truly believe that if it weren’t for them and the encouragement of fellow colleagues I would have given up. If you told me that at 20 years old (almost 21) I’d have accomplished all of this, I don’t think I would have believed you.