Speaking When It Counts - Community Interpreting For Those In Need
Being the voice for your neighbors when they can’t speak up for themselves is the idea that encompasses aspects of Community Interpreting – because nobody should be denied help simply because they can’t speak the language.
Interpreting isn’t always the glamorous jet set life one imagines when thinking about the UN interpreters that get to travel Europe. In fact it can be quite the opposite when interpreting for those in need in community situations, but these are often the situations where the most help is needed and where interpreters can have the greatest impact. Take an emergency shelter in Minnesota that cares for victims of domestic violence with primarily Asian and Pacific Islander heritage. In order to provide these women with the help they need, the staff must be familiar with various languages including Korean, Cantonese, and Hindi, as well as English in order to communicate with lawyers, housing offices, employment offices, and other institutions they need to in order to get the women back on their feet.
They also must be aware of cultural differences that are key factors in providing victims with the levels of comfort they need to recover (such as traditional foods they might find comforting). Homeless shelters and food banks are also likely to require interpreting services, as the population of America becomes more diverse and the number of poverty stricken individuals unfortunately shows no drastic signs of decreasing. Here in Boston organizations like the Refugee and Immigration services utilize community interpreters daily to provide people with low proficiency in English, legal, medical, and various educational and standard living services.
The stories you’re interpreting won’t always be pretty, in fact they may be downright horrific. But the impact you as a community interpreter are making on the lives of people who may otherwise not be able to get the help they need is the light at the end of the tunnel. As a community interpreter in these types of situations you keep alight the flame of hope by allowing people in your community to get the help they deserve.
Be a voice for those in your community, begin your career as a community interpreter today with our Business & Community Interpreter Training Program, designed to teach you the necessary skills to speak up in a variety of situations from local to professional settings.
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