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August 25, 2021

Nabil Cherif’s interpreting business mentors JCCC students like he once was.

Nabil Cherif had been all over the world—Tunisia, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, England, Switzerland and Cyprus—before landing in Kansas City in 2000 to attend JCCC.

The Tunisia native found himself exploring multiple subjects, from information technology to political science and even cooking classes. The goal, while earning his associate degree, was to become comfortable with the English language and boost his fluency in French and Arabic.

“I was on a journey of exploring,” said Cherif. “Education, applied knowledge and personal growth are guiding forces in my life.”

While attending the University of Kansas, Cherif embarked on a varied career. He also decided to visit multiple U.S. states to better understand American culture.

Bridging the Gap

It was on one of these trips in 2007 that Cherif found his calling. In San Francisco, while looking at the Golden Gate Bridge, the phrase “nothing better than being understood” flooded his thoughts. It was clear to him that he could use his language, vast travel experience and cultural knowledge to create a business that offered interpreting services. Soon, Bridging the Gap Interpreting was born.

While Cherif was originally running the company out of his car, service requests quickly took off. Today, Bridging the Gap Interpreting maintains an active local network of over 250 interpreters and translators in more than 100 different languages.

Cherif is passionate about helping people communicate effectively across language and cultural barriers. His goal through his work is to make people feel understood and respected and to know that they are valued.

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Cherif and his wife Emily pictured here at the United Nations.
Emily also had a huge hand in creating Bridging the Gap Interpreting.

Connecting With the Career Development Center

When Bridging the Gap Interpreting was looking to fill a role, Cherif decided to return to his JCCC roots. He reached out to Leslie Washington, Coordinator of Intern and Employment Relations at the Career Development Center.

“We connected over the phone and he began to tell me his story of how JCCC helped him acquire his degree and start his path as a business owner,” she said. “Nabil was passionate about his desire to pay it forward and help other JCCC students.”

Washington worked with Cherif to get his company set up in the Career Development Center’s JobLinks system and discussed ways for him to mentor and support JCCC students through the Career Development Center's job shadowing program.

“He is a joy to work with,” she said. “We continue to collaborate on ways to provide students opportunities.”

Mentoring Students

Cherif greatly enjoys mentoring and wants to share as much as he can. He trains them in the process and knowledge of interpreting, translation and cultural sensitivity. In addition, he prepares students for the field by going through possible scenarios in the industry.

“There’s an incredible sense of satisfaction to see someone's mind and eyes open to new information and the practical use of it,” he said.

Richard Morehouse, an associate of Cherif’s, believes everyone can benefit from his friend’s mentorship.

“In my opinion, Nabil is an excellent example of how JCCC can take the best of a person’s strengths and help them develop into leaders. The most significant aspect of Nabil that I have seen is his generosity of spirit,” Morehouse said. “I am amazed by his abilities to connect with others, which is why I believe he is such a good mentor.”

Cherif was able to build his education at JCCC into a full-fledged career and use his knowledge to mentor the next generation of interpreters. To him, JCCC is more than a college; it’s a network of opportunity.

“I am so grateful for the JCCC experience,” he said. “I will always love this school.”

Find Your Tomorrow

What career is calling you? Visit the Career Development Center in SC 252 to explore different fields and schedule a job shadow. You’ve got a lot to offer the world!