Needs and Challenges
Develop procedures to enhance the availability of qualified interpreters and bilingual specialists through recruitment, training, credentialing, and utilization efforts.
Qualified interpreters and language professionals are an essential part of a successful language access program. Therefore, the development and efficient use of language professionals is a key priority to most jurisdictions. At the Summit and in Action Step 5, jurisdictions explored strategies to develop procedures to enhance the availability of qualified interpreters and bilingual specialists through recruitment, training, credentialing, and efficient utilization efforts.
Strategies to Recruit Interpreters
In order to meet the demands of growing and fluctuating LEP populations, jurisdictions must proactively engage in the recruitment of interpreters. The majority of jurisdictions (32 out of 48) report that they have implemented recruitment strategies for interpreter candidates.
Jurisdictions have employed a diversity of creative efforts, activities and programs to recruit qualified candidates, including outreach to colleges and community groups, an array of marketing materials targeted at different groups, online outreach (Twitter and Facebook), summits and seminars, scholarships, etc.
Below are details of jurisdictions’ efforts that they provided in the survey.
Outreach to Colleges, Community Groups, and Agencies
Seminars, Summits, and Information Tables
Marketing Materials – Brochures, Press Releases
In addition to recruiting qualified interpreters, training existing interpreters, language staff, and potential interpreters is of great importance. Seventy-five percent of jurisdictions report that they conduct trainings for interpreters working in the profession. (Fig. Q22.) They hold comprehensive trainings that may include language access policies, ethics, and/or continuing education. These efforts serve to improve the knowledge and skills of language professionals on an ongoing basis, and thus improve the program’s language services.
Seventy-three percent of jurisdictions reported in the survey that they conduct trainings for interpreter candidates. (Fig. Q23.) These states train interpreter candidates prior to certification or credentialing in an effort to increase the overall pool of qualified language professionals.
Credentialing and Qualifying Interpreters
In order to ensure the use of interpreters and language professionals with the level of knowledge, skill, and ability necessary to interpret court interactions, it is recommended that courts adopt standardized assessment procedures for the credentialing of state court interpreters.
In the survey, 85% of jurisdictions responded that they credential interpreters. (Fig. Q19.) Sixty-seven percent reported that they categorize interpreters based on test scores into different levels of qualification. (Fig. Q20.)
Jurisdictions typically select various levels of credentialing based on interpreter competency. The most commonly used levels are Certified, Registered, and Master. Out of the 32 jurisdictions that qualify their interpreters, 29 use Certified, 23 use Registered, and 9 use Master.
However, jurisdictions reported also using a variety of other levels of qualification. All of the levels noted, along with the most common ones from the multiple choice selections, are listed below in the table.
Jurisdictions provided more detail and definitions of their respective qualifications: