Bridging language barriers
Darlene Irey believes she made a great decision five years ago, when she left corporate America with the goal of finding more meaningful work. “I wanted to make a difference,” she mused. “And what could be more important than helping people to bridge gaps of language and culture, so that they can fully communicate with others?”
Irey serves as a sales executive with the Translation and Interpretation Network (TIN), the premier full-service language provider in North Texas. TIN, which was established in 1999, is an innovative social enterprise of Catholic Charities Fort Worth (CCFW). It works with hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health providers, schools, immigration offices, the court system, and social service agencies, connecting them with trained and certified interpreters and translators.
TIN currently offers the services of approximately 400 trained contractors representing fluency in 75 languages, including Spanish, Vietnamese, Burmese, Arabic, Farsi, and French, among many others.
“I try to imagine myself as someone who cannot understand English,” Irey said. “How alone and scared I would feel, but then to have someone who knows your language speaking for you, connecting with you — that is a powerful gift.”
Susan Avila, TIN’s director of operations, also serves as a Spanish language interpreter. “I have worked in children’s hospitals, in courtrooms, places where it is very satisfying to see how this work makes such a positive impact,” she said. TIN linguists also serve in larger settings, offering simultaneous interpretation at conferences, some of which involve services in multiple languages for thousands of participants from all over the world. Glowing praise from clients for the courtesy, professionalism, and excellence of TIN translators is a consistent source of satisfaction to the entire TIN network, she added.
That network is constantly growing, explained TIN’s senior director, Meti Dibra. “Since day one, our focus is upon excellence, and we see the positive results of that commitment. We are proud to say that our linguists are rigorously assessed and trained, and we offer continual training to both our team members and our clients,” he said.
Dibra points out that TIN profits are all given back in support of CCFW and its mission to eradicate poverty. “Many of our interpreters were refugees who were resettled through Catholic Charities and have now achieved self-sufficiency and a sense of great pride through their important work with TIN,” he said. “Our role is multi-dimensional, as we work to support that self-sufficiency, and to continue to give back to our community.”