Honored by the San Jose and Saratoga City Councils

Honored by the San Jose and Saratoga City Councils

India West – April 1, 2015: Saratoga, Calif. — Gurdeep Kaur Chawla has been interpreting for 25 years, a job that has presented her with many awards and opportunities, including the honor of interpreting for President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Obama’s visit to India last January for India’s Republic Day ceremonies.

Recently, the Indian American was honored in a commendation ceremony organized by the Saratoga City Council in February to recognize her contribution to her community. A similar commendation ceremony was organized by the City of San Jose Mar. 24 at its city hall, which was attended by numerous professionals and city officials such as councilmember Ash Kalra.

Chawla’s journey started in India when she saw a position open up to translate for the Indian Parliament while she was studying at St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi. Given her strong background in languages, she decided to try out the job, and eventually became an interpreter for the Lok Sabha, giving up her original desire to become a professor at her alma mater.

Chawla worked very hard, taking various tests and learning interpreting techniques from professionals in the field. She also had to learn new terminology and language needed for political interpreting.

She told India-West that she would spend hours watching the proceedings of Parliament, recorded herself interpreting radio news and other programs, and listened to her performance to improve her interpreting accuracy.

Chawla explained that interpreting is a very respectable job.

“You are working in the political arena, witnessing history in the making, learning about new research and current affairs. Interpreting is also a demanding job, in which you work simultaneously, with no time to think or to consult anyone else,” she told India-West. “It involves multitasking in its truest sense: listening, analyzing and speaking all at the same time.”

Chawla spoke about the appeal the job had for her because of the profuse amount of opportunities in the field.

She moved to the U.S. in 1996, with her husband, a successful IT entrepreneur. When she is not travelling for various international conferences, she works as an interpreter in federal and state courts and big law firms.

Chawla has interpreted at the G20 Summit, the United Nations, Madison Square Garden, the World Bank, the Canadian Prime Minister’s Office, the Department of Defense, and multinational companies like Warner Brothers, Pfizer, Merck, Pepsi, Herbalife, MDRT, Amwa, and Kyani.

When asked about her trip to India last January to interpret for the high-profile diplomatic tour, she told India-West, “It was a matter of huge pride. I was honored and humbled to be interpreting for the highest of dignitaries for world’s two leading democracies.”

Previously, Chawla had interpreted for Modi when he spoke at Madison Square Garden last September in New York City, and at the Council on Foreign Relations as well as at the U.S. India Business Council at that time.

She also accompanied Secretary of State John Kerry during his January trip to India, while simultaneously mourning the death of her father who had passed away due to terminal cancer earlier that month.

Chawla founded the Indian Languages Services LLC ten years ago, which provides interpreting and translating services with new technologies. The company hosts a range of languages and is also expanding to incorporate European languages.

Chawla lives in Saratoga with her husband, a daughter who is studying in the University of California system and a son starting high school this summer.

Source: Niharika Jain, Special to India-West – www.indiawest.com