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National Standards for Interpretation Services



 

The AILIA Certification based on the National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services (NSGCIS) provide for the highest level of professionalism and reliability on the part of interpretation service providers, thus inspiring confidence among clients that AILIA accreditation represents an assurance of quality.

Published by the Healthcare Interpretation Network (HIN) in 2007, The National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services (NSGCIS) was created with the support of Critical Link Canada (CLC), the Language Industry Association (AILIA) and the Association of Canadian Corporations in Translation and Interpretation (ACCTI).

The creation of the standard was guided by joint efforts from many stakeholders, including a committee composed by 24 members representing organizations across Canada from government, academia, professional orders, non-profit and private sector.

Since its publication, the HIN Standards have gained international attention in the U.S., Europe and Asia. A number of professional associations and consortia, including the International Organization for Standardization, are using this document as the foundation for the development of their own standards of practice in Community Interpreting.

In early 2010, AILIA announced a new certification program developed for Interpretation Service Providers (ISPs) under the National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services (NSGCIS)

The National Standard Guide specifies the requirements for the provision of quality community interpreting services to ensure reliability in the provision of such services nationwide.

Community interpreting (also known as institutional interpreting) is usually done in the consecutive mode in a dialogue-like interaction. It enables communication between Limited English/French Proficiency speakers (LEP/LFP) and providers of public services such as:

  • Healthcare
  • Government agencies
  • Community centres
  • Legal settings
  • Educational institutions
  • Social services

Interpreters working in this type of setting usually interpret from source to target language and vice-versa.
The Standard Guide applies to Community Interpreting only.

Adopting this Standard Guide at the national level is crucial to achieving professionalization in the field.

Goals of the Standard Guide:

  • Promote the highest quality of interpreting when adopted for assessment, training, hiring, performance monitoring and possible future professional recognition.
  • Provide clear and consistent definitions of the characteristics and competencies of a qualified community interpreter.
  • Educational tool / Common base of understanding among interpreting parties.

What does the National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services –NSGCIS- include?

  • Scope
  • Definitions of interpreting terminology
  • Human resources requirements
  • Interpreter’s Skills and Competencies
  • Interpreting Competence
  • Linguistic Competence
  • Research and Technical Competence
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Responsibilities of Interpreting Parties
  • Clients
  • Interpreting Service Providers-ISP
  • Roles and Responsibilities of Interpreters
  • Settings
  • Annexes
  • LITP Standards of Practice and Ethical Principles
  • Language Classification Working Languages
  • Professional Associations
  • Healthcare Interpreting

the NSGCIS ensure:

  • Uniformity in assessment, training, hiring, performance monitoring, and possible professional recognition.
  • Consistent definition of the characteristics and competencies of a qualified interpreter.
  • Improved access to reference and background material.

NSGCIS establish ethical principles for interpreters:

  • Accuracy and fidelity
  • Confidentiality
  • Impartiality
  • Respect for persons
  • Maintenance of role boundaries
  • Accountability
  • Professionalism
  • Continued competence

NSGCIS cover:

  • Definitions of interpreting terminology
  • Human resources requirements
  • Settings
  • Responsibility of clients, interpretation service providers, and interpreters.

The essential skill of the interpreter is the ability to interpret from source to target language. Competencies shall be demonstrated by a post-secondary education, preferably a recognized degree in interpretation, translation, or a related field, the completion of a language proficiency test, and documented experience in the field.

The interpretation service provider is responsible for hiring qualified interpreters, ensuring they understand the context, and have access to documentation and other resources to enable them to perform their function.

The role of the interpreter is to facilitate communication by conveying a message as faithfully as possible between two parties who do not share a common language. He/she is not to elaborate, explain omissions, disclose information between parties, filter communication, react to, or participate in, discussions, adapt the register, intervene as mediator or explain cultural differences.

 The client is responsible for providing as much background information as possible on the subject matter. During discussions, they must speak clearly, without jargon or slang, and address the party, never the interpreter, who is to remain unobtrusive.

With the adoption of national standards comes the opportunity to define expectations and assess performance. Clients can be confident that any accredited interpretation service provider will employ professionals who have the qualifications to meet or exceed expectations and will adhere to, and be bound by, the requirements specified in the National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services.