Community Interpreting Level 3 Assign (1) Understanding the Role of Community Interpreter

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In this assignment we will discuss what is community interpreting, the role of the community interpreter, the skills the community interpreter has to have. It will discuss also the different settings and professionals involved in community interpreting as well as the different forms of interpreting and their employment.

What is Community Interpreting?

Community Interpreting has been defined in various ways but it could be simplified to being “….a specific type of interpreting service which is particularly vital in communities with large numbers of ethnic minorities, enabling those minorities to access services where, due to the language barrier, they would otherwise find it difficult”.(1)

The First International Conference on Interpreting in Legal, Health and Social Service Settings has defined community interpreting as follows: “Community Interpreting enables people who are not fluent speakers of the official language(s) of the country to communicate with the providers of public services so as to facilitate full and equal access to legal, health, education, government, and social services”.(Ref. 2)

From the above definitions one can say that a community interpreter is a professional who mediates between two or more persons with different backgrounds and languages; one is a member of the community (client) and the other is a member of the public sector (service provider), helping both sides to interact positively and to their mutual satisfaction.

Role and responsibilities of community interpreter:

In a given session, a community interpreter may have to switch between different roles because every client will have different needs. The interpreter could act as conduit, clarifier, communitybroker and in some cases an advocate (Ref5).

They are often given little time to prepare for work in a given situation. Therefore, they must possess the required skills and information to respond effectively to their client's needs in a particular context....
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