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This Week’s Interpreter Spotlight on Nandini Pande, a native Indian who has lived in the United States and Switzerland.
Damla: Hi Nandini, it is a pleasure to speak with you today. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with our community.
Nandini: It’s great to be here!
Damla: Could you start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
Nandini: So I was born in India and brought up all across the country, even in the most remote parts of the country – untraceable even on the most detailed political map! My traveling continued after I got married, as my husband’s job took us to the United States and Switzerland. I hold a Master of Science degree in Microbiology.
Damla: It seems like you’ve been all over and involved in all sorts of things. How did you end up where you are now?
Nandini: Quite true! While living and working in German speaking part of Switzerland, I took it as a challenge to learn the local language and make my stay comfortable. I worked at the Gymboree Play and Learn in Basel, where I could practice my newly acquired German language skills with my pre-kindergarten students! Upon returning to India, I worked as a German language expert in the growing company Knowledge Process Outsourcing for 4 years. Now I work from home as a freelance interpreter and translator so that I can spend more time to my daughter.
Damla: How did you end up interested in an offbeat, unconventional area such as interpreting?
Nandini: I have always been multilingual, surrounded by three or four languages. Switching between languages– Bengali at home, Hindi with friends, English and at school and in more formal settings,came naturally to me. I managed to pick-up Punjabi from neighbours and Marathi in order to communicate effectively with my mother-in-law!
People coming to Switzerland for job assignments from all parts of the world was common. All too often, I found there was a need to bail out a person struggling to find a grocery item in the store, someone unable to communicate with a store associate, or a tourist trying to find which tram or bus to catch! I always had an innate urge to help, after all, it only took a few seconds and a few spoken sentences – and the job was done!