Community Interpreting is interpreting done at a community level in the legal, medical, and public service sectors. Governed by the same principles of practice and standards as other settings for Interpreting (i.e. Conference, Business), it has taken many years for the field of Community Interpreting to be acknowledged as a profession. With its origins in the non-profit sector, Community Interpreting has now become a distinct skill set that merits professional and financial recognition.
Still in a growth stage, Community Interpreting is an emergent field in the Language Industry, one of the fastest growing industries worldwide. Canada, regarded as a leader in Community Interpreting, has contributed to its progression by promoting the establishment and acceptance of a set of governing standards and practices as represented by the National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services. The Canadian Language Industry Association works in collaboration with many organizations and service providers that promote Community Interpreting as a distinct and critical area of the language industry. Some key stakeholders are:
The Ontario Council on Community Interpreting – OCCI The mission of the Ontario Council on Community Interpreting is to be the body that oversees and regulates the accreditation of interpreters working in the community and public service sectors in Ontario. www.occi.ca
Critical Link International - CLI Critical Link International is an international, non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the field of Community Interpreting in the social, legal and health care sectors.
The Association of Professional Language Interpreters - APLI APLI (Association of Professional Language Interpreters) is an organization for all qualified and trained interpreters in Canada, dedicated to the improvement of the profession for community interpreters, service users and service providers, creating a shared environment, to support and minimize work related issues.
Steady on the road to progress and recognition, the Canadian Language Industry Association is working diligently to ensure that Community Interpreting receives its well deserved professional recognition. The road ahead will involve:
• Conformity Assessment and Certification AILIA-NSGCIS
• Public awareness and education: workshops, webinars
• Support for the expansion and recognition of the Language Interpreting Training Program
• Industry consolidation through continued strengthening of Canada’s Language Industry
The NSGCIS is one of the very few standards in PSI covering all fields. And this may be considered as an asset because its approach is comprehensive, as previously seen, and also because it conveys a sense of unity within this diverse field (Pöchhacker, 1998), making things easier for outsiders and enhancing the image of the profession. Of all the PSI deontological documents reviewed, NSGCIS was the most thorough. This is largely due to the fact that it includes references not only to interpreting, but also to ethics and sociology. Thus it offers an overview of the interpreting task and the different levels of action, therefore stressing the degree of complexity PSI entails and the need to involve other participants.
A wide array of choices exists for bilingual individuals wishing to enter the profession of Community Interpreting. While courses may vary in length, many still hold true to teaching the fundamentals of interpreter training, and all post-secondary level certificate programs require a passing grade in a language assessment test.
With initial development beginning in 2004, the Language Interpreter Training Program is now offered at a range of post-secondary institutions in the province of Ontario. Originally launched in September 2006, this certificate program offers foundational skills development for bilingual individuals interested in working in the medical, legal and social service, and domestic violence sectors of community interpreting. Developed after a long consultative process with key stakeholders through a Curriculum Advisory Committee representing interpreters, colleges, non-profit organizations, buyers of services, the public and private sectors, this program has continued to develop and adapt to meet the needs of a changing industry.
Course Content and Objectives
The Language Interpreter Training Program is a Certificate program of 180 hours' duration, intended to develop foundational skills required for Community Interpreters. The LITP integrates theory, principles, and concepts with practical application and skills development. The 180-hour program offers an introduction to spoken language interpreting, skills development practice, consecutive interpreting, sight translation and note-taking, simultaneous interpreting, as well as a focus on setting-specific interpreting.
With a focus on Standards of Practice and Ethical Principles, this program provides students with real-life situations in a class-room setting.
Institutions offering the Language Interpreter Training Program (LITP)
Visit OCCI Ontario Council for Community Interpreting for programs available in your area and for more information.