How to get ready in 15 minutes, but make people think you spent 20

By Aimee Benavides


[coffee break at a conference event]Anyone who knows me would start laughing just reading the title of this blog entry. This is the thought that popped into my head as I was getting ready one hectic morning, knowing I had an hour drive ahead of me to arrive at my interpreting assignment.

In our profession, women outnumber men. I’m not going to get into statistics or reasons why that is, but it is indeed a fact of life. A good number of us have families and children at various growth stages. As an interpreter, I, too, have gone through different stages of my life, and interpreting has remained a constant in the background or foreground for the past 16 years or so.

That hectic morning, I joked with my husband that if you have a long enough drive and use your car’s heating and air conditioning, you can achieve the perfect wind-blown look by the time you arrive at your assignment.  However, I am not going to be giving any style pointers here.  Those of you who know me will be quite relieved to hear that. If the fashion police gave out real tickets, I’d be in front of the judge asking for a fine reduction.  Okay, maybe it isn’t that bad, but as moms (really all parents, but I’m dedicating this one to the ladies), we are busy and mornings are crazy.  After that, afternoons are wild. And did I mention that evenings are also a tad bit hectic?  How on earth do we balance it all?

If the fashion police gave out real tickets, I’d be in front of the judge asking for a fine reduction.

First of all, I have learned that not everyone can have all of your attention all of the time.  I want to be a great interpreter. I want to follow up with clients. I want to catch up on billing and marketing. I also have to go to the store because we are out of milk and, oh dear, what am I going to make for dinner? And by the way, Junior, did you finish your homework?

I assume I’m telling your story as well as my own. Some days are smoother than others and that is one of the reasons I love interpreting, especially as a freelancer these days. It isn’t a wild roller coaster ride every day, but there are plenty of days that are.

I try to make room in my schedule as a buffer for those days when I have to study extra for a conference and travel to a distant assignment.  But, guess what? I don’t love interpreting because of the schedule—I love interpreting because of the interpreting. Working in diverse locations and having different types of assignments stimulates me mentally. That is where my next solution comes in.

Working in diverse locations and having different types of assignments stimulates me mentally.

Make your “me” time continuing education time. Pack your bags and head to the nearest (or farthest) professional conference that catches your eye. Kiss the children goodbye and head out the door. Some ladies head to the spa, others go shopping with their girlfriends. I propose at least one of those girls-only weekends be planned around an interpreting conference.

We work as interpreters because we enjoy the challenges, and when we attend conferences we get better at our craft. I’ve also noticed that people call me Aimee, and not “Junior’s mom.” We get to rub shoulders with people who understand the high we feel when we’re in the zone and people who speak completely different languages are connecting intellectually. When questions come and answers flow.

I belong to several different professional organizations, including ATA, NAJIT, NCTA, IAPTI, and AIJIC. Some of the events that are sponsored by these organizations are close to home and easier on the pocketbook.  But isn’t it cool to think that your “me time” might also be tax deductible?  Whoops—did I just get a bit too practical?



[Aimee Benavides]Aimee Benavides is a Federal and CA Court Certified Interpreter who lives in Fresno, CA with her husband and two small children. That is the simple version, as life is a little more chaotic than that! However she makes time to attend conferences and is a member of ATA, NCTA, NAJIT, AIJIC to name a few.


Image by Cozendo via pixabay.com

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ata-divisions.org/ID/aimee-benavides-how-to-get-ready/


  1. Tereza Braga

    What are your language pairs, Aimee?
    Thanks for a fun and sweet article.
    Tereza Braga
    Conference Interpreter
    Portuguese for Brazil

    1. Aimee

      My language pair is English-Spanish. Living in California means we keep pretty busy. Thanks for your kind comments. Muito obrigada!

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