Ms. Iman El Zayat; Home Country: Egypt; Position: Arabic Interpreter/Translator

Name: Ms. Iman El Zayat
Home Country: Egypt
Position: Chief of the Arabic Section

Ahlan! Hello! I'm Iman El Zayat (say "el za-yyat"), Chief of the Arabic Section. My Section is part of the Arabic & Russian Division of TGS. We translate Fund and Fund-related documents and provide interpretation - through Interpretation Services - for the various functions which the Fund organizes or participates in, such as the Annual and Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank, and the courses organized by the IMF Institute. What's the difference between a translator and an interpreter? When I rewrite a document written by a Fund economist in another language, I'm translating it. When I work with real people speaking to each other in different languages during a Fund mission or meeting, I'm interpreting for them.

Who is the IMF? The Faces behind IMF Functions
The faces behind IMF functions    


Before I came to the Fund in 1997, I taught translation and interpretation in Cairo, besides working as a free-lance interpreter and translator. I've always liked to know where I stood internationally, so I'd take exams to measure my skills. I saw an ad from the IMF in an Egyptian newspaper and I thought, "Why not apply?" I sat for a competitive exam and passed through several screenings after which I received the job offer from the Fund.

We belong to one of several language divisions at the Fund, representing all the languages we publish materials in. Our work here is very specialized and highly challenging. Fund Economists come up with new terms to describe economic ideas, situations, and measurements every day. For example, so many new terms related to the stock market and financial derivatives are not in the Arabic literature yet, and we need to deal with them. Also, some technical words in English cannot be translated into one word in Arabic and you do your best to be as brief and informative as possible. It's challenging, but also very, very interesting.

Our main concern is to provide quality output as fast as possible. Our job is to translate documents written by economists in English, either to go to the public outside the Fund or for the benefit of the people here at the Fund. Sometimes it actually gets too complicated. In fact people in other departments in the Fund are so busy that sometimes they don't realize how long it takes, and how much research is required to produce a high quality translation, so they need their documents translated almost immediately. It is a fact, though, that those people are themselves often under tight time constraints.

Ms. Iman El Zayat
"In my effort to produce quality output, I read as much literature related to our subject matter as possible in Arabic and English."

"In our effort to produce quality output, we try to read as much literature related to our subject matter as possible in Arabic and English."

I also represent my Section in the Terminology Working Group where all language divisions participate. We meet on a weekly basis to discuss new terms, decide on what to add to the database, and prepare glossaries and specialized bulletins for the benefit of the translators and interpreters.

In my effort to produce quality output, I always try to read as much literature related to our subject matter as possible in Arabic and English. My team and I also consult with economists in the Fund to clarify any given economic concept, and with Arab economists in particular to decide on the best way to express it. Internet resources also help a great deal in this regard, as do, of course, the many references in our library here at the Fund.

I really like the multinational environment of the Fund, as well as the opportunity to specialize in such a vital field in such an important international organization. It is also very satisfying to feel that I'm contributing to a clearer communication between the Fund and its member countries. Therefore, I really enjoy whatever challenges that come with the job.

Ma'assalama! Goodbye!


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