What Is a Community Interpreter?

When it comes to professional interpreting, specialization matters. You need someone who’s not only a trained interpreter, but has a deep knowledge of the field they work in. Just as you wouldn’t hire a lawyer to treat your illness, you wouldn’t bring a legal interpreter to a medical exam. So, what is a community interpreter and when would you need one?

Types of Community Interpreting   

Community interpreting is an umbrella term for interpreting services that are performed in community-based settings. It includes medical, legal, educational, and other types of social services interpreting.

Like most professional interpreters, community interpreters often have specialized training in one or more fields. For example, someone can be both a community interpreter and a certified medical interpreter or legal interpreter. However, there is a distinction between someone who has interpreter training in a given field and a community interpreter.

Community interpreters typically work with immigrants, migrants, and refugees who need assistance navigating public services. That means community interpreters must have a deep understanding of how a system works—in addition to their field of expertise. For example, a community medical interpreter may work with refugees who need to apply for free or low-cost medical care.

When Do You Need a Community Interpreter?

As noted above, you’ll typically need to hire a community interpreter when someone needs help navigating public services. Yet that’s not the only reason you may want to work with one. Community interpreters have an in-depth knowledge of the local culture, which can be a major advantage in certain scenarios.

Let’s use legal interpreting as an example. It’s unlikely that a legal interpreter in San Francisco will understand the relationship that a Los Angeles immigrant community has with local law enforcement. But a community interpreter may know that people in the area distrust the police, and can help improve cooperation during an investigation.

Whether or not you decide to work with a community interpreter will depend on your needs and how quickly you need access to one. When it’s an emergency or you need someone on short notice, it may be best to hire a remote interpreter, regardless of their location.

How Boostlingo Can Help

As you can see, finding the right interpreter can be a difficult task. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever with Boostlingo. When you use our interpretation platform, you can instantly connect with an interpreter over-the-phone, via video remote, or schedule an onsite appointment. Plus, you’ll gain access to the Boostlingo Professional Interpreter Network (BPIN) of interpreters who speak over 200 languages.

Think Boostlingo may be right for you? Start your free trial today!