After a few weeks of silence, I am back with exciting news on medical interpreting in the U.S.
The National Consortium on Interpreting on Health Care (NCIHC) has just released the National Standards for Healthcare Interpreter Training Programs, which sets guidelines for formal preparation of bilingual and multilingual individuals who wish to enter the healthcare interpreting profession. While these standards are expected to change as the profession evolves, they are intended to provide a common and consistent base of knowledge and competence aspiring health care interpreters should have.
These guidelines benefit program developers and administrators, trainers, interpreter candidates, consumers of interpreter services, and anyone else concerned about interpreter quality. The standards are articulated around the areas of program content, instructional method, and program operation. They address knowledge and skills that should be taught, teaching and learning methods that can be used, and issues related to the operation of programs, including program design, admission requirements, instructor qualifications, and student assessment.
The Standards for Healthcare Interpreter Training Programs is the fourth of a five-step strategy set forth by NCIHC to contribute to the development of the healthcare interpreting field. The strategy started in 2001 with the publication of a conceptual paper on the role of health care interpreters. It continued with the National Code of Ethics for Interpreters in Health Care, published in 2004. Next came the National Standards of Practice, released in 2006; followed by the National Standards for Healthcare Interpreter Training Programs, which were released a few days ago. The next and final step is certification, where efforts are already being made.
These are exciting times for healthcare interpreters and the interpreting professional in general in the U.S. Click here for the NCIHC Naional Standards for Healthcare Interpreter Training Programs.