All staff and educational interpreters should have the training and basic qualifications as required by the state (if any) and by the interpreting industry (if any) in order to provide professional services in any setting and industry, do you agree?
Now, although there are many Interpreter training programs offered through institutions of higher education nationwide, and some prospective interpreters may also have a Bachelor of Arts in Interpreting, let me tell you that I still don’t think it’s enough and that’s because they don’t have the experience and or skills to be able to render and provide the services of a professional and experienced interpreter.
Now, keep in mind that most companies, agencies, don’t require certification, and sometimes they don’t require experience, but I still strongly believe that any business hiring and/or contracting a bilingual staff member to perform the duties of an interpreter should require at least a minimum of 2 years of professional interpreting experience, training as well as other requirements.
As stated before being bilingual is just not enough to perform the duties of a professional interpreter, but it is a “stepping stone” and a path to becoming a great, professional interpreter, as long as you have the right training.
As a professional interpreter and former CEO I know the ins/outs of this industry, I know the requirements, and what it takes to provide professional and ethical interpreting services. I also know that many interpreters, agencies, businesses will hire/contract just about anyone (just to book the assignment) which in return can potentially put your business and the LEPs at RISK!
Let me tell you that even with my 19years of professional hands-on experience and training I still don’t have the capabilities to provide interpreting services for every business sector or setting. That is why I can guarantee you that I will ONLY ACCEPT assignments that I feel that I am qualified and experienced to do.
Unfortunately, I cannot say the same thing for many companies, they THINK that just because an individual is a bilingual or certified that they are able to perform and provide interpreting services in all sectors, unfortunately, that is NOT the case!
Another problem is that companies think interpreters are “dictionaries” and many companies expect you to know every single term, industry, etc, unfortunately, that is not the case). Therefore, when hiring or contracting an “interpreter” you need to make sure they have the skill sets, language industry terminology, training, etc…