Certified vs. Qualified Interpreter

Professional Bilingual Business Entrepreneur

Elite Services 4 You (IL Interpreters) understands that many businesses and corporations that require interpreting and translating services are not aware of specific qualification requirements or contracting laws.

Did you know that there are many interpreting agencies that don’t follow strict guidelines for providing professional and proficient services?

A report done by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics for 2008-2009 found that 22 percent of interpreters and translators are self-employed.  

If that is true, are agencies requiring them to verify a business license, qualifications, and certifications?

I would like to explain a few things about this particular industry – in order to help potential clients make the right choice in choosing an interpreting services company.

What is the difference between certified and qualified?

Elite Services 4 You (IL Interpreters) has established a contract, with characterization for these terms that correlate directly with a definition given by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Certified interpreter is a person who has passed the California Court Interpreter Certification Examination and who have fulfilled the corresponding Judicial Council requirements are referred to as certified interpreters.

The state personnel board also provides a certification test for medical and administrative hearing interpreters for California. Qualified interpreter is a person who is not a certified interpreter and who speaks the language to be translated into English fluently and who speaks English fluently and that poses a minimum of 2 years of interpreting experience.

What are Interpreter Rates?

Interpreter Rates vary by state, type of appointment, experience, qualifications, and so many other factors.

The Court system established different rates for in-house interpreters, just as freelancers have established rates for themselves based on their experience and the number of years that they have been in the industry.  Unfortunately, many interpreters will increase their rates based on a fellow interpreter. 

Businesses must recognize rates should be based on certification, qualifications and also whether or not the client requires a certified interpreter vs. a qualified interpreter. 

In most cases a certified interpreter is not required; therefore businesses should NOT have to pay a certified rate.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics wrote: There is currently no universal form of certification required of interpreters and translators in the United States.Although different states have implemented oral and written tests to verify capabilities, there are still many interpreters that base their experience and qualifications from translating for family members and having grown up in a bilingual household.

Elite Services 4 You (IL Interpreters) would also like to point out that the term “certified” can be misused by the interpreters and many will claim they are certified to gain a higher rate of pay – when in reality ONLY have a Certificate.

When Elite Services 4 You searches for their information in databases to verify certification, we are unable to locate their name.  There is a list available to the public with the names of persons who are deceased, retired, or de-certified –no longer certified to interpret in the court systems. Often times interpreters will continue to claim they are certified, maintain a high pay rate, and agencies are unaware that they are using an interpreter that is not capable of providing excellent service.

As the industry continues to grow with the diversity of our nation, Elite Services 4 You (IL Interpreters)  has implemented a strict screening process for interpreters and translators that will push this industry into a level of professionalism it deserves.

A teacher within their first year of teaching does not have the same rate of pay as a tenured instructor; the same should be established for interpreters and translators, right?

If there are counties that require a business license for independent contractors then it should be implemented and not overlooked by agencies, businesses, doctors, lawyers, etc…

Why? Because just like employees, there is more and more “Independent Contract Interpreter both Certified and Qualified”, claiming to be Employees of the agency or the contracting party, meaning that more and more Law Suit abuse is occurring within this industry. That is why setting standards are very important to our agency, although management takes high measures in implementing these steps “employees” will not always adhere, causing problems for the agency.  We try our best to be an agency, who will NOT overlook requirements just to attain an interpreter for an assignment. We go the extra mile to ensure that our clients receive what they deserve.

***Although I no longer offer other languages or operate as an agency, I’m happy to assist you in verifying Interpreters skills, qualifications, etc…Contact me for more information about verifying an interpreters credentials, skills and qualifications…***

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