Jodi Upton, ED:K-12

Region II: Ringgold, GA

YOUTUBE LINK: https://youtu.be/S0aMD_hcj7A

Hello! My name is Jodi Upton. My sign name looks like coffee with a “J” – because I am addicted to coffee! I live here in Ringgold, Georgia – in the northern part of the state, right around the Tennessee state line. While I live in Georgia, I work in Tennessee. I first joined RID as a student member back in 2008, and became a certified member about five years ago. I work full time as an educational interpreter, and part time for a local college in Georgia. I also do some freelance interpreting, and I am very involved in theatrical interpreting, which I love!

My favorite thing about being an interpreter is…

Working as an EIPA proctor and meeting new interpreters. I enjoy helping to ease their testing anxiety and making friends from all over the southeast. I also am a workshop junkie. Along with my colleague, Daniel Eimers, I helped to establish Southeast Interpreters Network, a group that provides professional development opportunities at little to no cost for interpreters all across our area. In the past 5 years, we have done a full 9 CEUs for attendees and have met hundreds of new faces in the area. I love being able to support other interpreters because I myself didn’t feel a lot of support from other interpreters when I came into the field.

In my interpreter survival kit I have…

Breath mints, a change of shirt – just in case of a spill, a pair of sneakers (in case of a last minute job requiring closed-toe shoes in a warehouse), deodorant, ibuprofen, band-aids. and safety pins.

If I weren’t doing this I’d…

Still be working as a paraprofessional in my daughter’s school system. I started working in her elementary school a long time ago, and there I met an interpreter and became interested in interpreting. So, I left my job to go back to college and got my degree for interpreting. If I had not gone back to school for that degree, I would probably still be working in elementary education.

When I’m not interpreting I enjoy…

Musical theater – not only interpreting for the stage, but also going to see my daughter’s college performances. I also love Harry Potter, reading, and baking!

My best piece of advice for new interpreters is…

Find a good mentor to help you through the in-between years after your ITP and before certification. I remember when I graduated, it was tough finding a job because I needed certification and it was tough to get certification because I needed to practice and train. It’s so important to find a good, strong mentor. My world changed when I found a mentor who encouraged me and was willing to provide feedback, both positive and negative. It changed my life. Surround yourself with skilled interpreters – they will bring you up.

My favorite quote is…

“Your children make it impossible to regret your past.”