Should You Wear a Suit?

Happy Friday, dear colleagues! Today's quick post is meant for interpreters, especially court interpreters, and the answer to this very simple question should be: yes.

We put on suits for you. Photo by Ulf Buchholz.
Oftentimes in our profession we battle with the fact that we might not be perceived as true professionals by others, which is disheartening. However, we haven't always done ourselves a favor by not sticking to some basic rules of business, and one of them is professional dress. We've seen plenty of underdressed court interpreters, or interpreters who reveal too much, or interpreters who wear clothes that are too tight or simply inappropiate for professional situations. One of the ways we can ensure that outsides to the industry take our profession seriously is by dressing professionally--we have to advance the industry from the inside out. And dressing professionally is something that we can very easily do. You don't have to spend a fortune to look good, and just get a few suits that fit well and have "court" written all over them. In fact, you do want to get mistaken for an attorney, as that is usually a good sign (Judy gets addressed as "counsel" at least once a day).

So what say you, dear colleagues? How about we advocate for the professionalism and importance of our industry without having to say a word? Clothes might sound trite in the big scheme of things, but they are key and also very much contribute to first (and second, and third) impressions. So the next time you ask yourself the "Should I wear a suit question?" we have an answer for you: yes, put on that suit and go interpret and conquer. Save the comfy outfits for home and the tight and revealing choices for a night on the town.

We'd love to hear your comments.


Yael Cahane-Shadmi on October 28, 2016 at 1:52 PM said...

I completely agree! I feel that dressing professionally is essential whenever we're in a professional environments (conferences, trade shows etc.). It's a way to signal to our clients - and potential clients - we take ourselves seriously and pay attention to detail.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on October 28, 2016 at 2:15 PM said...

@Yael: Thanks for reading and for commenting. Yes indeed--professional clothes sure are a message to the world at large that we take what we do seriously. Excellent point. And yes, dressing professionally at conferences is key, too. We think you are never overdressed in a business suit. Unless you are throwing out the first pitch at a baseball game, that is... :)

SoJez on October 29, 2016 at 5:14 AM said...

As a court interpreter I completely agree. For me wearing suit is a no-brainer. I want to be viewed as a professional who respects the court, my profession and myself. I've seen other interpreters in short, skin-tight dresses, baggy MC Hammer type pants and acid wash jeans. It doesn't bode well for the rest of us but I can only worry about my own appearance and, hopefully, that prevents me from being compared to everyone else. Also, suits make getting dressed in the morning SO easy! Prior to becoming a court interpreter worked for a government agency with a very lax dress code. Jeans and sneakers were the norm. Now I consider my wearing a suit everyday a uniform of sorts and that makes deciding what to wear infinitely easier.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on October 29, 2016 at 8:35 AM said...

@SoJez: You put that very eloquently and make some excellent points -- thank you very much. Ah, sigh, don't even get us started on some of the tight and low-cut outfits we have seen in court. Not professional indeed. And we totally agree that getting dressed in the morning is a breeze with suits. It might sound strange, but we love seeing our neat rows of freshly dry-cleaned suits and tops ready to go for another week in court. And yes, there's something comforting about well-fitting uniforms, isn't there? Makes you feel like you can take on anything. Thanks for reading and for commenting.

EP on January 28, 2017 at 9:47 AM said...

Nice suits. You two look great. I usually work at home, though, so I'm lucky if I even get dressed decently by lunchtime as it is!

Alexander on March 19, 2017 at 10:34 AM said...

Even I do agree with your views, dressing professionally is essential whenever we're around a professional environment like conferences, events, professional seminars etc. It's a nice way to convey to our clients that we take our profession seriously and pay attention to every minute detail.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on March 19, 2017 at 10:52 AM said...

@Alexander: Yes, for sure! Wearing a suit always sends a strong signal, and we think they are indeed also important for conferences and other professional events. Thanks for reading and for commenting.

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