Meet Sultan Arslan
Sultan was born in Turkey and migrated to Australia when she was 15 years old. Moving from Sydney to Melbourne and now residing in Mildura, Sultan has been working with LanguageLoop as a Turkish interpreter for 21 years. Growing up in Australia, Sultan was left to interpret not only for her family members but also for other migrant families in her home town.
Sultan first got into interpreting after taking her first born to a Maternal Child Nurse for a check-up. The nurse commented on her English proficiency and encouraged her to undertake studies to further her skills and pursue interpreting as a profession.
Graduating in 1996 through RMIT, Sultan loves working with schools, and helping people find clarity and reassurance in their situation.
“I used to be a Multicultural Teacher’s Aide before I became an interpreter so I understand the processes involved and can give students―and their parents―a sense of confidence and understanding around their education,” Ms Arslan said.
Like all qualified interpreters Sultan’s job is to interpret the exact conversation between professionals and non-English speakers―however Sultan believes providing the right context for each situation is key.
“I remember once, working for a hospital I literally interpreted ‘hop on the bed’ for a patient and the patient looked at me confused, and asked ‘why? I am not a horse’,” Ms Arslan said.
“After explaining how the interpretation changed the context of the request, we all had a good laugh.”
However, like any other profession there are some challenges that come with being an interpreter. For example as Sultan lives in a rural town with a small Turkish community, she is known to most members of this community on a personal level. This makes it challenging for her to not form personal friendships as it may become a conflict of interest when representing them as an interpreter.
“My family is quite involved in the Turkish community and the local Turkish school so it can be quite challenging at times, however it also allows me to recognise the needs of the community in which I live in and allows me to represent clients with a better understanding.