How to Maximize Your Impact as a Community Interpreter During COVID-19

Community interpreting is often overlooked as conference interpretation services’  less-professional younger sibling, but COVID-19 has more than proved the need of these services. In the U.S., a rather high amount of COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations are disproportionately attributed to communities of large populations with limited English. Your services as a community interpreter are vital, and here are some tips to help maximize your impact and aid.

Advertise Your Specific Services as a Community Interpreter

Work as a community interpreter is vital in situations where language impedes communication, especially between the public and service providers. Needless to say, there’s a vast array of services under that umbrella, many of which are essential. Legal interpreting services, educational, medical, social security--the list goes on and on, making it all the more difficult for those in search of help to narrow down and find what they need. Clarity is important, not only in the job of interpreting itself, but in the advertisement of it as well. Especially in the emergency, last-minute situations that occur surrounding COVID19, it’s important for clients to be able to get to the right professional interpreter at the right time. 

Negotiate your Needs as a Community Interpreter

Though not every situation is so desperate, too many clients assume that effective interpreting can be done in any situation. In an occupation where it’s necessary to be in as direct conditions as possible, functioning as simultaneously as possible, this is simply not the case. Moreover, with the dangers of COVID-19 and in-person contact, most interpreting has moved to virtual. While this may have opened up scheduling for some and gotten rid of commute limitations for others, it puts effective interpreting at risk. It’s hard to work as an interpreter for meetings effectively when distracted by sound interference, wi-fi delays, and things going on in the background. Most clients aren’t aware of how directly these affect your work, or even the best ways to prevent them, so it’s important that you as the community interpreter suggest the online platforms, environments, and needs that must be met to ensure good service.   

Know Your Limits as a Community Interpreter

The virus may have increased your opportunity for work. However, it’s vital to know your limits. Even with in-person interpreting, research has shown that under the strenuous conditions of simultaneous interpreting, one can easily overload their brain. The subsequent fatigue can decrease the quality and accuracy of your work. Add this to the strain of working in front of a computer all day, and it becomes that much more important for community interpreters to take frequent breaks and organize their schedule around their mental health. 

Community interpreters play a valuable role in many everyday aspects of communication. Here at Language Connections, we can help you to find a variety of such services, including conference interpreting services, business interpreters, government interpreter services, corporate interpreter services, and more.

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

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Phone: (617) 277-1990

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Robert Sanborn

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