Interpreter Role vs. Bilingual Advocate

Learning when to advocate and stepping out of your interpreting role

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What is the Interpreter role and Responsibilities

As an interpreter for over 15+ years, I’ve seen time and time again interpreters stepping out of their Role as Professional Interpreters and into the Role of Bilingual Advocacy…

As we all know, it’s a No! No!

Unless, the patient’s health, well-being, or dignity is at risk!

The Role as an Interpreter is to Bridge the Language Gap in Communication; We are just the “Voice”.

The Role of a Bilingual Advocate is to help bridge the gap of inequality and power between patients and providers.

Bilingual advocacy = Interpreting?

Interpreters and Translators have existed for centuries, but Bilingual Advocacy is a relatively new practice that is in the process of being recognized as a “profession” in its own right.

Bilingual Link workers/advocates, interpreters, community interpreters, and translators are all titles for bilingual workers who are most commonly employed and provide language support to the users (both from the minority ethnic communities and from the health and social care agencies).”

Therefore, keep in mind that these are two (2) different Roles that SHOULD NOT be mixed, and here’s why!  

Advocates as Interpreters

Being bilingual is a great skill to have, but “Only qualified and trained individuals should serve as interpreters.

Nevertheless, sexual assault victim advocates who are fluent in languages other than English are sometimes asked by police, prosecutors, and other professionals to provide interpretive services for victims.

In these cases, “even if the advocate is a qualified interpreter, it can be difficult to maintain the boundary between the interpreter’s role and the sexual assault victim advocate’s confidential role.

However, if an advocate serves as an interpreter, the advocate becomes a part of the investigative process and may end up having to testify in the best interest of the victim. Thus, an advocate must not serve as both sexual assault victim advocate and interpreter, and must explain the possible consequences to the victim before ever serving as both advocate and interpreter.”

Advocate and when to


Advocate and Liaison



It’s the LAW TO PROVIDE an Interpreter to Limited English Individuals!

Interpreter Advocate


If you are bilingual and want to Start a Career as a Professional Interpreter then I highly recommend that you Sign Up for my Introduction to Interpreting to learn the Do’s, Don’ts, and the Good, Bad, and Evil of the industry.

Moreover, if you want a successful Career and Business that will Grow and Succeed then it’s important you Avoid Putting your Career and Business at RISK, or the lives of others! Get Trained!

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