Interpreting Certifications: Understanding How and What It Means to Be Certified
What is a certified interpreter? A certified interpreter is an interpreter who has passed a valid and reliable certification exam administered by an independent entity. It’s important to keep in mind that many individuals may complete certificate programs in interpreting as well, but that does not mean they are certified. It’s very accessible to become an interpreter in the United States, it’s just a matter of completing the job. Certification is available in the United States for judicial interpreters, medical interpreters, conference interpreters and community interpreters. The need for each type of these interpreters is extremely high, and many businesses are the country have found that by having quick access to certified interpreters, their customers, clients, or patients are much happier.
Today, we’re here to discuss the different types of interpretation certifications and how you can get started.
Judicial Interpreters: Interpreters providing services in the state courts are generally required to be certified or qualified by their state’s Administrative Office of the Courts. This type of job is extremely important, after all, you’re interpreting a serious case that could define someone’s future, prove someone guilty or non guilty, or interpret a speech made to the judge and the jury. The majority of the states have pooled their resources by joining the Consortium for Language Access in the Courts, sponsored by the National Center for State Courts. This is great information to check out if you are interested in becoming a certified judicial interpreter.
Medical Interpreters: One of the most important and high demand jobs there is when it comes to the interpreter industry. Medical interpreters are a key component of the care team when assisting persons with limited English proficiency. Medical interpreters are required to be well-trained in both English and their target language, as well as in the field of medical interpreting. Certification for medical or healthcare interpreters is available through two different organizations, the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters and the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters. An example we will use to show you the requirements to apply for a national certification as healthcare interpreter through CCHI are as follows:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have at least a U.S. high school diploma (or GED) or its equivalent from another country
- Complete a minimum of 40 hours of medical interpreting training (academic or non-academic program)
- Possess linguistic proficiency in English and the primary language for which you are seeking certification
As for Conference Interpreters and Community Interpreters the credentials aren’t as specific when it comes to where you need to get your certification from. But remember, you are not getting a “certificate”, you are getting certified.
Interpreting has had a stretching history, and has evolved beyond recognition throughout the years. The more certified interpreters, the more this industry grows.
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