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National initiative for standardization and professionalization of community interpreters

Overview

The Interpreting committee of AILIA has a national initiative for standardization and professionalization of community interpreters who work in medical, legal and social services settings. The project relates to educational standards and recognition.

Since there are many similarities between the interpreting industry and the teachers of English as a Second Language (TESL), the TESL program approach will be applied with required modifications to meet the interpreting industry requirements.

The current DRAFT was written in consultation with colleges and professionals working in the interpretation field. Tactical outline to implement TESL Ontario/Canada model to Community Interpreting industry (PDF, 378 Kb)

Frequently asked questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about the national initiative for standardization and professionalization of community interpreters:

AILIA’S ROLE

Q. What is AILIA’s role in this initiative?

AILIA stands for Canada’s language industry and strives to help resolve issues on a national scale, including the challenges the community interpreting sector faces. AILIA has been promoting and supporting the professionalization of Community Interpreting for several years and has played a key role in the creation of the National Standards Guide for Community Interpreting Services (NSGCIS) (download the Guide, PDF format, 145 Kb) and in its promotion and recognition for accreditation.

Q. Why is this initiative an AILIA priority?

AILIA is proud to promote and support Canada’s multicultural society by ensuring that all Canadians, including those with limited English and/or French proficiency, have equal access to services and understand the nature of those services. There are increasing liability issues involved in not providing adequate community interpreting services on a professional scale. AILIA also considers the trend of increasing qualification requirements for interpreting services while driving prices down to be a priority issue. The adoption of standards will establish certain human resources requirements that will improve working conditions for professional interpreters and make it more attractive for them to stay in the profession.

Q. What was AILIA’s Interpreting Committee’s role in this initiative?

The AILIA Interpreting Committee requested input from its members, which include leaders of other language industry associations (Interpreting Services Providers, Critical Link International, a board member of the Healthcare Interpretation Network, and representatives from the academic field.) AILIA is also planning to organize national, inclusive roundtables for consultation purposes.

Q. What are the goals of AILIA in relation to community interpreting?

AILIA is committed to facilitating a national collaboration in order to reach the common goal of professionalizing the community interpreting sector which includes the adoption of standards, training and accreditation.

COLLABORATION

Q. How will AILIA coordinate a national engagement and consultation process?

Industry stakeholders will have a few opportunities to provide input in person, as well as by teleconference or Webinar.

Q. Can non-profit organizations provide input?

Yes. Roundtable discussions will be open to stakeholders independently if they are for profit or non-profit organizations. Although participation in AILIA committees is reserved for AILIA members, the consultations will take place at the roundtable level where every effort will be made to make them inclusive and engage equal representation from all the sectors (academia, for profit ISP, non-profit ISP, government organizations, professional associations and purchasers.)

Q. Who has voting privileges at AILIA?

AILIA has reserved the right to vote to language industry private sector companies. However, in an effort to engage all stakeholders, AILIA created “Associate” and “Partners” categories, allowing non-profit organizational members to participate in committee meetings.

TACTICAL OUTLINE QUESTIONS

Q. When did AILIA begin working on this plan?

Achieving the goals of the Tactical Outline has been a top priority of the Interpreting Committee since inception (2009). It comes from previous work done by its members in other committees such as the ACCTI roundtable discussions (2004-2005), the curriculum development committee (2005-2006), the Healthcare Interpretation Network committees (2004-2010), etc.

Q. What consultation process lead to the development of the DRAFT Tactical Outline?

The development of the Tactical Outline is the result of the Interpreting Committee work as well as of years of involvement in the different initiatives of a wide variety of stakeholders. The consultation process started in 2004 and involved discussions held during various committees meetings in which AILIA members have actively participated. Most recently, consultations were held with a number of colleges offering interpreting training.

Q. How will the DRAFT Tactical Outline be used?

The Tactical Outline is the first step leading to a new consultation process to be organized by AILIA in the near future.

Q. Can the English proficiency test be changed to be of a higher level?

The Tactical Outline is open to scrutiny and can certainly be amended, as required.

Q. Is there a list of current community based training organizations?

The current list is here. The majority of institutions are from Ontario, and AILIA is looking for input from stakeholders to make the list as comprehensive as possible.

VISION ON ACCREDITATION

Q. Why were the Professional Orders deemed not to be an ideal solution?

Their requirements for certification are not aligned to what is currently attainable in the community interpreting sector. While there are similarities between community interpreters, conference interpreters, translators, revisers and terminologists, their differences also need to be respected and acknowledged.

Q. How will this accreditation system work with efforts regarding designated titles for interpreters?

The plan creates a structured framework which can be relied upon by the Professional Orders to grant designated titles to interpreters with higher levels of accreditation. Recognition for the broad range of qualifications for currently practicing professionals is the basis upon which higher levels of professionalization are encouraged.

Q. Is AILIA interested in regulating interpreters?

No. AILIA has taken the initiative to draft a solid foundation to create a viable framework for proper recognition of the profession to satisfy all major stakeholders. Regulation is not within scope of this initiative.

Survey results

An online survey was conducted in April among the stakeholders of the language industry in order to gather comments about the initiative. Here are the results.

1. Were you aware that there is currently no national method of assessing interpreter qualifications and proficiency in the legal, medical, social services and other contexts a community interpreter is required?


French

English

TOTAL
YES
14
58.3 %
39
76.5 %
53
70.7 %
NO
10
41.7 %
12
23.5 %
22
29.3 %
Number of respondents
24
100 %
51
100 %
75
100 %

2. Do you see the value in allowing customers to objectively select the level of quality interpreter required, and for interpreters to be paid for their level of recognized qualifications?


French

English

TOTAL
YES
20
83.3 %
46
90.2 %
66
88 %
NO
4
16.7 %
5
9.8 %
9
12 %
Number of respondents
24
100 %
51
100 %
75
100 %


3. Do you feel this plan can help provide Limited English and French Proficiency people in Canada more consistent levels of quality interpretation services between regions and vendors?


French

English

TOTAL
YES
18
75 %
39
76.5 %
57
76 %
NO
15
20.8 %
9
17.6 %
14
18.7 %
Number of respondents
23
95.8 %
48
94.1 %
71
94.7 %

4. Are you interested in helping to improve upon and/or implement this plan?


French

English

TOTAL
YES
15
62.5 %
36
70.6 %
51
68 %
NO
8
33.3 %
12
23.5 %
20
26.7 %
Number of respondents
23
95.8 %
48
94.1 %
71
94.7 %

To contact AILIA about the National initiative for standardization and professionalization of community interpreters, send an email or follow this link.