LanguageLine Spotlight: An Incredible Journey
'LanguageLine is doing bigger and better things by the day' – For this spotlight entry, I had the chance to interviewInterpreter Development Manager Fatema Khanom and learn more about her incredibly varied career at LanguageLine.
What were you doing before joining the company?
"My main job before LanguageLine was within the travel industry as a health and safety executive. I conducted health and safety checks, spoke to hotels and billing companies for trips etc. I enjoyed travelling worldwide, but I had to leave that job because I became a mum. I had to review my career commitments and what I could do. This is when I took advantage of being bilingual and my language qualifications and decided to become an interpreter. And that is when I came across LanguageLine."
When did you come across LanguageLine?
"I started as a freelance interpreter in 2002 and then became a full-time employee in 2004 as an office coordinator/interpreter. I have been here a very, very long time. You know, some would say I'm part of the furniture. Since then, I've worked in many different positions. And currently, I'm working as an Interpreter Development Manager for the company."
What were your first impressions of the company?
"I was really impressed to find out the values of the organisation and the level of quality in the service they provided. The more I learned, the more I wanted to participate. Another first impression that was quite significant was how enthusiastic they were about what they did. Everyone was dedicated to delivering a world-class service from top to bottom because everyone genuinely cared about their job. Which all still rings true today."
What roles have you had since you started?
"Well, I have to say it has been quite a journey! I started off as a freelance interpreter working part-time as a contractor. And since then, goodness me, what have I not done? I worked in the office as a Face-to-face Coordinator. Then I became a Language Resources Coordinator, recruiting and managing interpreters. Next, a Team Leader and eventually a Team Manager. I have seen tremendous changes happen in the company. The fact that I've been able to move from distinct roles is a testament to how the company has supported me."
What would you say is your greatest achievement?
"The most outstanding achievement is recruiting higher numbers of quality interpreters and not depending on quantity alone. Being in a position where we focus on specific and specialised training for interpreters, creating focussed programmes for interpreters and concentrating on quality has been the main achievement. LanguageLine is doing bigger and better things by the day. And this is one of the things that we've done, and I'm delighted and proud to be part of it."
The most challenging thing about the job?
"I think the most challenging part is really related to personal circumstances. Balancing family life and work life. I'm a Mum of two. It really isn't easy to have a family and maintain a career. However, the support and flexibility I've had from LanguageLine to keep that balance has been exceptional. There were occasions where I've had to really think, 'Should I just call it a day and focus on the family?' Managing work, commitments, responsibility, and the family was particularly challenging. However, I'm still here with the proper support, and that's amazing."
What impresses you most about the culture at LanguageLine?
"I'm happy to say that as a woman, who has been working here for so long, my gender has not been a barrier to progression. The traditional concept of a successful career woman is that you must be single, we can't have a family, etc. This concept does not exist at LanguageLine. The company appreciates and supports women for their skills, hard work, and dedication. They see the person beyond their gender, colour, religion, and sexuality. And that is what is amazing. It's one of the big reasons I love working for LanguageLine."
And finally, what do you feel is integral to our success?
"What really resonates with me is the genuine, sincere passion. This passion trickles down from top to bottom. We don't just do things to do them, and we don't cut corners. LanguageLine does what they genuinely believe in and supports employees to develop themselves. It's impressive, and it's all over the company. No matter where we've come from or what we do, the passionate staff of LanguageLine are integral to our success."