Community Interpreting 101

June 4, 2019

What is community interpreting?

The International Standards Organization, ISO, established criteria 13611:2014 with recommendations for community interpreting during oral and signed communication that enables access to services for people who have limited proficiency in the language of such services. According to the ISO, community interpreting is “bidirectional interpreting that takes place in communicative settings…among speakers of different languages for the purpose of accessing community services”.

Community interpreting is a type of interpreting used in community-based settings and situations. In communities with greater numbers of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) speakers, community interpreting brings language access to populations experiencing language barriers with public services. Interpreters facilitate communication between parties who speak two different languages. They do this by interpreting, translating and re-communicating both verbal and written messages from one language into another. This includes both spoken languages and sign languages. The interpreter is not responsible for what is said by either party but is responsible for ensuring that everything that is said is communicated accurately in the other language.

The role of the community interpreter is to deliver, as faithfully as possible, messages transmitted between persons who do not speak English and service providers in a diverse range of health, social and community service settings.

Community interpreters work in a variety of settings including:

What is required of a community interpreter?

  • Language and interpreting skills. A community interpreter must have a high level of fluency for linguistic conversion from one language to another.
  • Cultural competence. A community interpreter must possess superior cultural competency to interpret in a variety of settings for a variety of subject matters.
  • Adherence to the national interpreter Code of Ethics

We are so excited to officially launch our Community Interpreting Division. Based on client requests and market growth, we are poised for exciting success across community interpreting. Since launching the division in January, we have successfully recruited more than 400 interpreters and continue to actively recruit more every day! Interested in working with us? Click here to let us know.