Howdy all, I’ve got another batch of questions.
This time, however, they’re all about interpretation.
Before you keep reading, though, you first should decide whether you want to become a translator or interpreter.
Once that’s decided, then you can look into what it takes to become an interpreter.
Over time I’ve received many questions about interpretation, so I’ve collected the most popular ones and provided answers below so that you can get some insight into this field in case you’re interested.
Interpretation Questions and Answers
Here is the list of questions about interpretation, and my responses to each:
Becoming a Spanish Interpreter
Ana Asked: I am interested in becoming a Spanish Interpreter, but I do need to know what are the first steps I need to take. For example, what classes do I need to take for the area I am interested in pursuing? I am mostly interested in working with Sacramento or Yolo counties or perhaps one of the federal courts. Please tell me where I should go to pursue this goal and accomplish my goal as a Spanish Interpreter.
My Answer: There are a few avenues you can go down, but the best place to start is probably your local community college.
Interpretation programs often have an articulation agreement with a local community college.
This means that the coursework you take at the community college will be accepted towards your degree at the interpretation program.
Additionally, many community colleges offer lower-level interpreting courses that can give you a taste of what the profession is like and help you decide if it’s the right fit for you.
As far as specific courses go, you will want to take classes in Spanish (obviously) as well as classes in interpretation theory and practice.
Some programs also require or recommend that you take courses in other subjects, such as psychology, sociology, or political science.
These classes can help you better understand the context in which you will be interpreting and the people you will be working with.
I would also recommend that you become involved with your local interpreters’ association.
This will give you a chance to meet other interpreters and learn about the profession.
The California Association of Court Interpreters (CACI) is a good place to start. They have a website with lots of information about the profession, as well as a list of interpreter training programs in California.
You can also find information about interpreter training programs on the website of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators.
Jennifer Asked: I have been speaking Spanish for 13 years and I would really like to be certified. Can you please help me know what to do? I live in Florida.
My Answer: There are a few different certification options available, but the most common one is the National Certification of Healthcare Interpreters (NCHI).
To be eligible for the NCHI, you must have completed a 40-hour training program and pass a written and oral examination.
There are many different training programs available, both online and in-person.
You can find a list of NCHI-approved programs on their website, and once you have completed a program, you can register for the examination.
The NCHI is not specific to Spanish, but there are also a few language-specific certification exams, such as the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters’ Spanish Language Healthcare Interpreter Certification (CHI-Spanish).
To be eligible for the CHI-Spanish, you must have a certain level of proficiency in Spanish (usually demonstrated through a language test), as well as experience interpreting in a healthcare setting.
You can find more information about the CHI-Spanish on the CCHI website.
When I Grow Up
Alondra Asked: I want to be an interpreter when I grow up. I know how to speak Spanish and English but I need some information on how to become an interpreter. Any advice?
My Answer: The best way to become an interpreter is to complete a formal training program. There are many different programs available, both online and in-person.
You can find a list of interpretation training programs on the website of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators.
Some programs may require that you have a certain level of proficiency in Spanish (usually demonstrated through a language test), as well as experience interpreting in a healthcare setting.
You can also become involved with your local interpreters’ association. This will give you a chance to meet other interpreters and learn about the profession and set you up for an interpreter career with a good salary.
It’s awesome that you have been wanting to do this for so long!
Gabriel Asked: I just moved to Canada and I am interested in finding out what type of certification is required to work in Canada as a Court or Medical Interpreter. Is there a state Certification or Federal?
My Answer: In Canada, there is no single national accreditation or certification system for interpreters. However, many provinces have their own provincial association for interpreters, which may offer certification or accreditation.
For example, in Ontario, the Association of Translation Companies of Canada offers a voluntary certification program for translators and interpreters, which is recognized by the provincial government.
In Alberta, the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta offers a certification program for court interpreters.
There is also a national organization, the Canadian Association of Translation Companies, which offers a voluntary accreditation program for translators and interpreters.
You can find more information about interpretation certification and accreditation in Canada on the websites of the provincial associations or the Canadian Association of Translation Companies.
Getting a Degree
Isabel Asked: I’m currently a junior this year in high school and want to be an interpreter when I graduate. I’m also bilingual and was wondering if I should go off to college and get a degree, and if so, where? Where would it be cheaper but at the same time really good?
My Answer: That’s amazing that you’re in high school but already thinking about your future career! There is no single path to becoming an interpreter, but many interpreters have a college degree.
Some intepretation training programs may require that you have a certain level of proficiency in another language (usually demonstrated through a language test), as well as experience interpreting in a healthcare setting.
If you’re not ready to go to college, you can always get interpretation training by volunteering, working as an intern, or taking online courses.
Many different colleges and universities offer interpreter training programs. Some of these programs may be cheaper than others, but there is no one “cheap” program that is also “really good.”
You’ll need to research the different programs and decide which one is the best fit for you.