Meet some of our people who make it happen!
Said El’Khishin : Interpreter – Arabic
I have been providing Arabic interpreting services for ONCALL for the last 15 years. I have played an important role in delivering language services to people with limited English and assisting them to access important community and health services.
One of my proudest achievements is the conferencing interpreting work that I have done over the years – it is fast paced, challenging and I really enjoy it! I am always ready to assist and really like helping people. One funny story I have to share happened many years ago during a Work Cover hearing. Another much less experienced interpreter accidentally misunderstood what the plaintiff said. The plaintiff had said “I picked up the tyre and put it on the desk.” This was accidentally interpreted as, “I picked up the cupboard and put it on the money safe.” This occurred because in the Lebanese Arabic dialect, the information was different. Thankfully I spoke the same language as the plaintiff and helped to clarify the misunderstanding. The less experienced interpreter was very grateful and the judge presiding the case praised me for my assistance.
When I am not at work I enjoy getting outside into the fresh air – you will often find me enjoying life on my farm in Nutfield.
Laurice Erian: Interpreter – Arabic
I am a highly experienced Arabic interpreter and translator I have been working for ONCALL for decades! I love working for ONCALL, that’s why I have been here for so long. I am proud to work for this organisation and I really love seeing ONCALL grow and succeed. I have in depth experience working on a variety of assignments including interpreting in legal and court settings, I have worked across all courts and tribunals and I have years of experience working within the magistrates court and the supreme court in Australia. In addition to this, I have also worked on assignments with the Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police.
During my time at ONCALL I have worked as an interpreter on multiple criminal and sexual assault cases which can be difficult and challenging for some. I love these complex and challenging cases. I thrive on the challenge and I do not shy away from interpreting difficult content.
ONCALL is like my extended family and I am proud to work for them. They care about their interpreters and are not just an agency – they really are very supportive of their interpreters. They listen to your concerns and work respectfully with you to help resolve matters. They take the interpreter’s feedback back to the clients and actively listen to you and try to make your experience working with them a positive one.
I am looking forward to more interesting and challenging roles in the future and can’t wait to continue delivering great service.
Alex Fairie: Bid and Communications Manager
I work as Bid & Communications Manager in ONCALL’s Growth & Partnerships Team. I look after all tenders and external communications as well as support marketing and growth initiatives within the Asia-Pacific region. I am also a qualified translator (French into English).
My journey with ONCALL began 8 years ago. I had been working in the language services industry in the UK for several years and wanted to move to Melbourne after visiting in 2012. I did my research and learned more about ONCALL, the largest language service provider in Australia with head office in Melbourne and so contacted directly – 2 months later I was appointed as the UK Manager and opened the ONCALL London office in 2013. 2.5 years after that, in 2016, I achieved my dream and moved to Melbourne to work in the head office.
I love working for ONCALL as we support so many different clients working across multiple sectors that the work is always varied, interesting and rewarding – we also often get to see the direct impact our services have for our clients. I have lots of fun and collaborative colleagues too!
One of my job highlights include moving to the other side of the world whilst still supporting ONCALL with its international growth and also seeing the range and volume of clients and interpreters and translators we now work with in Europe, where my journey with ONCALL began.
I am a true polyglot and have learned at least the basics of several languages including Spanish, German and Mandarin – I am also fluent in French! I love travelling and think you can learn a lot about a culture by understanding the way in which language is used, as well as helping you to get by and understand where you are going!
Neela Kareemy: Interpreter – Dari
I am a NAATI certified interpreter in Dari and a NAATI recognised interpreter in Farsi, Hindi, Urdu and Hazaragi. I have a genuine passion for languages and believe that language fosters connection within communities.
One of my earliest memories as an interpreter is travelling across to the other side of Melbourne for my first ever interpreting job. It took me almost two hours to get there, but I was so eager to work as an interpreter that it didn’t really matter where I had to travel to do it – I was just thrilled to have the opportunity to give it a go! Thankfully it was all worth it – I achieved a great result and was able to really help the family that I was interpreting for. The experience was really positive and rewarding – it gave me a sense of achievement. It further amplified my desire to work in the language services industry as an interpreter as I was very keen to help people using the multiple languages and dialects that I know.
ONCALL has strong working relationships with its interpreters and I really like that about this organisation.
ONCALL are trusting, understanding and respectful and that’s why I’ve worked for them for the last decade.
Chris Ngo: GM- Operations, Australia
What initially attracted me to ONCALL was their growth journey, they are now the largest private language services provider in Australia, I was inspired by the ONCALL story and I wanted to be part of a growing organisation that valued both their internal staff and their interpreters and translators. I also wanted to make a difference by working in an industry that supports our culturally and linguistically diverse communities, as I have family who have been personally affected by language barriers. Since working at ONCALL, I’ve learnt to say hello in 7 different languages and the list is continually growing!
I enjoy working with a great team of people who truly care about the industry, our clients and the communities we serve. It’s a very diverse environment and it’s always interesting speaking with interpreters and translators and learning about their culture. Our organisation has a family feel to it that is well balanced with our innovative mindset and our focus on community outcomes
One event that I am particularly proud of is when we received a request at short-notice for a rare language for a client and CALD in NSW. They had a Migration Review Tribunal booked months in advance but the original interpreter from another provider had cancelled at the last minute. The client reached out to ONCALL for help. The only other qualified interpreter resided in Western Australia and the booking was due to commence the following day. If they couldn’t secure an interpreter the tribunal would be delayed several months.
Another issue was that it was a long weekend so interpreters were reluctant to travel. I called the interpreter directly and asked for a favour, to which they committed to getting on a plane in WA that night, to arrive in NSW after midnight in order to undertake the tribunal booking that morning. The client was very impressed with how quickly the interpreter was able to commit to ONCALL and how efficiently we were able to meet their needs.
Kon Priaris: Interpreter – Greek
I have worked for ONCALL for over 15 years as a NAATI certified Greek interpreter.
I have extensive interpreting experience working across a broad range of settings. Although there were plenty of other agencies out there, I was initially attracted to ONCALL as other interpreters in the field spoke highly of the professionalism with which ONCALL treated its interpreters, including the management style and the working conditions provided, so I thought ONCALL would be a great place to work.
I’ve been very happy whilst working for ONCALL – everyone is so helpful and accommodating. One of my proudest achievements was on one occasion whilst working in Shepparton, a local man that was born in Greece had passed away. I had to try and get in touch with his family back in Greece this meant that I had to make many phone calls and navigate through a lot of bureaucracy to try and track the family down. It was a difficult process but I was successful in the end and the family members in Greece were very grateful that I went to these extra lengths to get the news to them.
When I am not at work I love the sea – in particular I enjoy sailing, fishing and spending time with my family.
Giuseppina Pungitore: Interpreter – Italian
I am a NAATI accredited Professional Italian Interpreter. I first joined ONCALL in 2009 as I had spoken with colleagues through my training at RMIT and it came up consistently as one of the larger and better agencies to work for when it came to interpreting work.
What I like most about working with ONCALL is that I’ve always been treated respectfully as an integral member of a large team. I have always been able to communicate any concerns when necessary and issues are resolved professionally and in a timely manner. Over the years, I’ve forged excellent working relationships with the team.
I can think of one recent “highlight” which makes me quite proud regarding my work.
During the COVID lockdowns, I began making my own “lexicon journals,” particularly regarding legal terminology, which is the field I most enjoy. Some months ago I was interpreting at a matter with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal which was incredibly sensitive. I was able to approach the assignment with extra confidence and in a calm manner even though it was quite challenging. I felt that every person present understood each other perfectly – for an interpreter, that’s an excellent feeling! I was later informed that the member presiding the hearing had written to ONCALL praising my work and professionalism.
Music is my escape mechanism and my passion. To this day, I frequent live gigs and concerts. You’ll have to look up QOTSA if you’re curious about one of my favourite bands!
Lauren Shannon: Senior Customer Service Officer
I joined ONCALL because I wanted to assist people who are non-English speakers or have limited English to access important services quickly and easily. Whether that be a counselling session, or advice about a medical procedure or legal advice. When I joined ONCALL I didn’t realise that there was such a high demand for a wide variety languages and what a wonderfully culturally diverse country we live in.
What I like about my role at ONCALL is working on the more challenging bookings for rarer languages or dialects with fewer interpreters. It brings me great satisfaction to know the person requiring the interpreter can be helped in communicating their needs. My colleagues and the management team are really supportive, friendly people and I enjoy working with them very much. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I receive positive feedback from a client.
I have a keen interest in languages. I have been studying Italian for 5 years. I also studied at a language school in Florence and found it so enriching – I hope to be a translator once I’m fluent!
Theresa Souvannasing: Lao and Thai interpreter
I am a NAATI certified Lao and Thai interpreter with ONCALL and I have been working with ONCALL since 1995. I was initially attracted to the role as it was an avenue for me to use my language skills to help other members of my community to access important health, legal and community services. I am passionate about helping people and creating a better society. I like helping people get good outcomes and I enjoy working with like-minded colleagues and clients to bring positive change. I am proud of the work that I have done over the years to assist hundreds of people access vital services.
Away from work you will find me enjoying traditional Lao folk dancing. I love performing and have danced at many multicultural festivals and events. I love dancing so much that people often tell me I am the last person to leave the dance floor!
Rikki Stamatis: Capability Advisor
Every day brings new challenges from onboarding new recruits to creating support materials for our systems and processes to managing and supporting our Professional Development program. One thing I really enjoy about working at Oncall is the people I get to work with every day, there is a real sense of camaraderie and wonderful a family atmosphere in the organisation.
One of my proudest achievements whilst working for ONCALL has been the successful launch of the Professional Learning Program for practitioners. We have received excellent feedback about the program and have been able to support many practitioners with what has been delivered so far. Within the first 3 months we’ve had over 1,900 practitioners’ register and over 3,000 attendances in the sessions across all of our programs – we look forward to that continuing to grow.
Outside of work I enjoy cooking and love trying new recipes from all different cultures.
Tian Yue Sun : Interpreter and Translator – Mandarin
I work as a NAATI certified translator and interpreter in the Chinese / Mandarin-English combination and I’ve been working for ONCALL since February 2012.
I approached a number of agencies at the conclusion of my training. ONCALL was the first to respond and built great rapport with me right from the very beginning. Over the years, I’ve been entrusted with important work that enables me to grow as a person, as well as a language professional. I’m also delighted to witness ONCALL’s growth and be part of that journey. I feel well supported by members of the booking team, who liaise with clients on my behalf. I like the flexibility of the work that I do and I am excited about the recently launched Professional Development (PD) program here at ONCALL. This program helps to set ONCALL apart in terms of providing practitioners with free access to workshops that not only enhance skills but attract PD points for NAATI recertification.
I enjoy working in criminal trials – I find the complexities fascinating, but I cannot really single out one particular job highlight. The diverse range of assignments I receive and the people I meet create infinite scenarios and possibilities. In my 10th year interpreting and translating, I still thoroughly enjoy my work.
When I am not at work, I enjoy music. I picked up the violin again recently. I’m amazed by how much violin playing resembles interpreting. The mechanisms of sight-reading music vs sight translating; faithfully interpreting and conveying ideas of musical composition verses speech. It’s hard to believe that I learnt some of the biggest lessons about communication from my violin teacher, yet it makes perfect sense.
Jerome Yagabarum: Senior Finance Manager
I joined ONCALL because I have always wanted to work for a business that makes a difference in the community and people’s life. My team is amazing and my leaders have always made me feel valuable. Going to work is always a joy. ONCALL is pretty much my second family. There are always new and interesting projects underway in the business and we’re always looking for ways to innovate.
I’m particularly proud of the work that I’ve done on the development of our new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and its implementation. It was a massive project that went over 1.5 years. I am very grateful to have had an opportunity to contribute to the project and brainstorm with some of the best in the tech and the language industry.
Outside of work, I am a soccer coach for Berwick City. Currently coaching a group of happy and energetic 12 year old kids. They keep me on my toes. They never miss an opportunity to remind me that I was born in the 80’s and that I apparently drive the same car as their great grandmothers. Great kids!
“I’ve always been treated respectfully as an integral member of a large team. I have always been able to communicate any concerns when necessary and issues are resolved professionally and in a timely manner.”
“One thing I really enjoy about working at ONCALL is the people I get to work with every day, there is a real sense of camaraderie and a wonderful family atmosphere in the organisation.”
“I enjoy working with a great team of people who truly care about the industry, our clients and the communities we serve.”
“ONCALL is like my extended family and I am proud to work for them.”