How Community Interpreting Touches Lives

Imagine yourself in a situation where your very livelihood is at stake, but you have no way of discussing your needs with those in charge. This is often the reality of immigrants and refugees who find themselves completely cut off from communicating with their surrounding community due to language and cultural barriers.

Interpreting often brings to mind medical offices, court rooms, or large conferences; however, while these can be encompassed by community interpreters, a large portion of this type of interpretation is done outside of these settings.

Community interpreters act as liaisons between LEP individuals looking to participate in every-day events or to access vital services.

They also aid in immigration and naturalization processes, as well as act on the front line in conflict and disaster zones where refugees need to be able to communicate with English speaking officials. They are often used by nonprofits, as well as public organizations and for profit companies.

It’s easy to say that all interpreting impacts those it serves, and community interpreting is no different in the ways, both large and small, that it touches people’s lives.

Where Are Community Interpreters Needed?

Community Interpreting touches livesCommunity interpreters are vital aids in a broad variety of situations. Everything from parent-teacher conferences to aiding U.S. soldiers’ communication with locals in combat zones will require the work of an interpreter.

In Boston where our Community Interpreter Training Programs are based, we often see demand for community interpreting services for Haitian Creole, Brazilian Portuguese, Latin American Spanish, and Russian speakers who are underrepresented in their towns and localities.

Community meetings have high needs for interpreters to bridge the gap and include LEP community members into vital discussions about improving health, education, housing, public spaces, and general living conditions.

Without interpreters, the LEP communities run the risk of their needs being ignored, or policies being enacted that adversely affect them.

Interpreter needs in medical and legal situations are also quite high, along with those for religious services, social services, and schooling.

Around the world, disaster areas where individuals suddenly find themselves displaced or forced to move to areas where their native language isn’t spoken require interpreters to help people survive. These could be caused by war or natural disasters including earthquakes and hurricanes.

Community interpreting affects almost every aspect of life that native speakers take for granted. An easy way to understand the scope is to imagine yourself going through a usual week – how often do you have to communicate with someone in order to get something done?

In the instance of LEP individuals, all of these communication points and more would be virtually inaccessible without an interpreter. Bilingual speakers are often used to aid when there is no access to a professional interpreter, but this can come with its own issues as often communications aren’t interpreted 100% accurately without some sort of community interpreter training.

How Does Community Interpreting Directly Affect Lives?

Community InterpretersOne example of how community interpreting touches lives is by simply explaining to LEP individuals the resources that are available to them. Often times, individuals who aren’t able to speak much English aren’t aware that there are interpreters to help them. As such they avoid accessing vital services or requesting help, or find themselves subject to poor living conditions simply because of the language barrier.

This is common when looking for housing. Regulations, rights, and standards regarding renting or buying a property are different in the United States than in other parts of the world. Immigrants often find it difficult to access housing options, or else sign contracts that they don’t fully understand, simply because they are unable to communicate with landlords and real estate agents.

Interpreters would be of great use in these situations, as not only would they be able to help the LEP individuals and property owners communicate, but they could explain common practices for renting and home ownership in the U.S. to the potential buyers.

Why Should You Pursue Community Interpreter Training?

Community InterpreterCommunity interpreters are assets to both LEP individuals, and the local area in which they work.  For the local communities having interpreters allows LEP and English speaking groups to communicate, making the breakdown of stereotypes easier. It also allows for more participation by LEP groups in the local economy, which benefits businesses, government, and residents alike.

The relief for people who are unable to speak a high level of English that comes from knowing there is someone who can help them access housing and other necessary services while they work on their English is immense. Often the smallest bit of assistance can relieve stress that accompanies an immigrant’s transition into a new culture.

Language Connections offers a 7 week Business and Community Interpreting Certificate Program that teaches bilingual individuals the skills and ethics required to be a professional community interpreter.

The Community Interpreting Program is taught by experienced interpreters, and covers situations including interpreting for state agencies, local government, unions, advertising firms, police departments, news media and more.  Class sizes are small, and cover 6 common languages to the Boston area including Arabic, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and more.

Interpreters are a bridge between LEP individuals and their communities – pursuing community interpreter training means pursuing a career in helping individuals access the vital services they need, and helping them assimilate comfortably.

If you are looking for a career that directly helps those around you, community interpreter training may be just what you’re looking for.


Get the necessary, in person training in order to become a competent professional interpreter. Register now for one of our interpreter training programs: Medical Interpreter Training, Legal Interpreter Training or Community & Business Interpreter Training.

See the course schedule here:  Schedule >>>

Contact us for more information:
Phone:(617) 277-1990

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Yana Fisher

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