Formalizing community interpreting standards: A cross-national comparison of testing systems, certification conventions and recent ISO guidelines

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Abstract

Community interpreting has become a global phenomenon, and the need for standard assurances of practice is being met by credentialing systems that certify a community interpreter through testing and/or training. This paper examines credentialing systems in Australia, Canada, Norway and the UK and poses the questions of whether the spread and development of testing systems has led to a widening of the skills now required for community interpreting, and whether testing alone is a means for the demonstration of all of these skills. Some attributes of credential candidates are pretest admission prerequisites. Testing alone is the common pathway for community interpreters in Australia and Canada to gain certification, while in Norway training is a co-requisite for higher-level certification, and in the UK, it is strongly recommended. Training allows a degree of specialization in the areas of health, law and public services that are a feature also of Norwegian and UK certification. At a supranational level, the recently released ISO Guidelines for Community Interpreting also list as required attributes the ability to simultaneously interpret, negotiate cross-cultural pragmatic and discourse features, manage interactions, and formal training. These further skills are likely to be best ascertained through training that is co-requisite or supplementary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21 - 38
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Interpreter Education
Volume7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • commuinity interpreting
  • standards
  • certification
  • ISO guidelines

Cite this

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title = "Formalizing community interpreting standards: A cross-national comparison of testing systems, certification conventions and recent ISO guidelines",
abstract = "Community interpreting has become a global phenomenon, and the need for standard assurances of practice is being met by credentialing systems that certify a community interpreter through testing and/or training. This paper examines credentialing systems in Australia, Canada, Norway and the UK and poses the questions of whether the spread and development of testing systems has led to a widening of the skills now required for community interpreting, and whether testing alone is a means for the demonstration of all of these skills. Some attributes of credential candidates are pretest admission prerequisites. Testing alone is the common pathway for community interpreters in Australia and Canada to gain certification, while in Norway training is a co-requisite for higher-level certification, and in the UK, it is strongly recommended. Training allows a degree of specialization in the areas of health, law and public services that are a feature also of Norwegian and UK certification. At a supranational level, the recently released ISO Guidelines for Community Interpreting also list as required attributes the ability to simultaneously interpret, negotiate cross-cultural pragmatic and discourse features, manage interactions, and formal training. These further skills are likely to be best ascertained through training that is co-requisite or supplementary.",
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AB - Community interpreting has become a global phenomenon, and the need for standard assurances of practice is being met by credentialing systems that certify a community interpreter through testing and/or training. This paper examines credentialing systems in Australia, Canada, Norway and the UK and poses the questions of whether the spread and development of testing systems has led to a widening of the skills now required for community interpreting, and whether testing alone is a means for the demonstration of all of these skills. Some attributes of credential candidates are pretest admission prerequisites. Testing alone is the common pathway for community interpreters in Australia and Canada to gain certification, while in Norway training is a co-requisite for higher-level certification, and in the UK, it is strongly recommended. Training allows a degree of specialization in the areas of health, law and public services that are a feature also of Norwegian and UK certification. At a supranational level, the recently released ISO Guidelines for Community Interpreting also list as required attributes the ability to simultaneously interpret, negotiate cross-cultural pragmatic and discourse features, manage interactions, and formal training. These further skills are likely to be best ascertained through training that is co-requisite or supplementary.

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