I have a confession to make – I am an introverted interpreter.

“But wait!” you may be thinking.  “How is that possible?  Doesn’t an interpreter at the Vancouver Aquarium stand in front of people and talk all day?  How can an introvert be an interpreter?”

I’m glad you asked!

An introvert is not necessarily a shy and reserved person. Personally, one of my favourite parts of my job here at  the Aquarium is meeting new people, especially those who have travelled from around the world to be here. Though my coworkers would probably describe me as shy when I first started working at the Aquarium, it is possible to find introverts with personalities that are associated with a stereotypical extrovert, and vice versa.

Amazing staff at the Vancouver Aquarium

Madeleine loves connecting with guests at the Aquarium.

A significant portion of my workday involves public speaking and I genuinely love it! There are many people in the public eye who have described themselves as introverts, including Laura Bush, Emma Watson, and even Albert Einstein.

What makes someone an introvert then? An introvert is a person who gains energy by spending time alone, and whose energy is depleted by being with people. Introverts also tend to spend time thinking, and are quite focused on what they’re feeling.

Some scientists have noted that introverts’ brains work different than extroverts’. An introvert’s brain often has a high level of activity and so they may become easily-overwhelmed by a lot of external stimuli. Introverts’ brains also seem to be more sensitive to the neurotransmitter dopamine.

It is a delight and privilege to be part of the team of interpreters at the Vancouver Aquarium, and each one of my coworkers brings something different to the table in terms of skill, personality and knowledge. Introverted interpreters often bring a listening ear to the facilities that they work for. They also offer good one-on-one time, because they thrive in interactions with smaller groups.  Introverted interpreters bring sensitivity and thoughtfulness to their work.

In order to be the best introverted interpreter that I can be, I need to ensure that I am getting my daily dose of me time to recharge, and that I am operating within my limits. We all have different strengths and different weaknesses, and the fact that I gain energy from being alone does not disqualify me from being in my profession, it just makes me prioritize and better schedule my day better. Together, all of us interpreters work hard to make the Vancouver Aquarium an amazing, engaging and inspiring place!

If you’re interested in learning more about job openings and volunteer opportunities at the Aquarium, visit the career section of our website.

Blog post by Madeleine who started out as an interpretive intern at the Vancouver Aquarium in February, 2011, and two months later had the honour of becoming an employee.  These days, she can often be seen gazing at the Pacific spiny lumpsuckers in the new Stanley Park’s shores exhibit, or watching the ancient sturgeon swimming in the Strait of Georgia exhibit.


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3 Responses

  1. Dorothy Young

    Great blog Madeleine! Your explanation of an introvert is spot on. Vanaqua is fortunate to have you working there while you educate and inspire guests! Love the sturgeon you are lying on 🙂

  2. Elaine Bell

    The best explanation of my type of introvert ever! Thank you so much, and thank you for the work you do at the Aquarium!

  3. Doug Robinson

    Great to read your blog, Madeleine. Congratulations on your work at the aquarium.


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