Before starting her journey at MIIS, Lucía Falcón Palomar worked as an attorney and legal translator in Mexico. She is a sworn legal translator certified by the Supreme Court of the State of Jalisco, Mexico. Lucía has worked for four years as a legal assistant and attorney at several law firms in Guadalajara, Mexico, specializing in corporate and notarial law. In addition to Spanish and English, Lucía speaks French. She is passionate about languages, music and Lucky Charms. She is a big fan of Amélie Nothomb and Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Hercule Poirot’s way of thinking and Michael Ende’s Neverending Story. Lucía adamantly believes that language shapes thoughts.
Currently a second-year student pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Conference Interpretation, Lucía shares insights about her summer internship experience as an interpreter and translator at the District Attorney’s office in New York.
Q1: What were your top 3 criteria as you selected your internship(s)?
First of all, since I am an attorney and a certified legal translator in Mexico, I wanted to intern in the legal field where I could learn from the American attorneys about the American legal system and their work.
Secondly, I want to work on the East Coast when I graduate and I had never been to the East Coast before this summer, so I wanted to know what it was like before actually making the decision to look for a job there.
Thirdly, it was extremely important for me to start networking with potential employers and/or colleagues. I wanted to see what the Federal Court in New York is like, and I also wanted to meet professional interpreters from the DA’s office and the Supreme Court.
Q2: What did you learn about your field during your internship?
I learned extensively about everything I wanted to learn. First of all, I learned how the system works from the inside. This was an extremely valuable takeaway for me, since I am very interested in legal translation and interpretation/court interpreting. When you fully understand your field, you can be a better translator or interpreter.
Moreover, I finally had the opportunity to work in a “real” interpretation setting, where people were actually depending on me in order to communicate and solve their problems. This was an amazing takeaway because it was when I realized that communicating is everything in this field and that being perfect is not what people you are working for are expecting from you: the most important part of this job is getting the message through as accurately as possible.
This internship reaffirmed that I want to be a court interpreter or interpret and translate in a legal setting. I realized how much I like helping people communicate among one another, which motivated me to do a better job in every possible way.
Q4: From the employers’ perspective what does a good intern look like?
Good interns should have a thirst for knowledge. They have to be curious, professional, and always motivated by the passion of liking what they are doing. In addition, remaining humble is always extremely important; understanding that we do not know everything and that we can always learn more, regardless of the experience that we may have.
Q5: Any words of wisdom you would like to share?
I would tell you that the most important thing of being an intern is having the opportunity to get to know professionals from the field you want to work in, to learn from them and to start building your network. Be curious. Do not be afraid to ask questions or to ask for clarifications when you do not understand something. People appreciate this. It means you are interested and passionate in what you are doing. It also means that you want to grow both as a person and as a professional. Stay humble and as one very good interpreter once wrote: “You are not a machine. Think about communicating, rather than interpreting/translating, and do not be afraid to contribute the attributes that make you a unique enabler. But remember that good communicators make it all about their interlocutors. Good interpreters take genuine interest in those on the receiving end.” Good luck!
Have a question for Lucía? You can connect with her via email, luciafalcon(at)yahoo.com or LinkedIn.
Career & Academic Advisor