What's required for fluency?
Interpreting requires specialized expertise. While proficiency in English and in sign language is necessary, language skills alone are not sufficient for an individual to work as a professional interpreter.
Becoming an interpreter:
- Is a complex process that requires a high degree of linguistic, cognitive and technical skills;
- Takes a committed individual to not only achieve certification but to also maintain and increase the skills needed;
- Requires physical stamina, endurance and the ability to emotionally handle an assignment and adhere to confidentiality; and
- Necessitates a great knowledge of the English language and the ability to speak clearly, be audibly heard and to portray the feelings and emotion of the speaker, whether they are voice or sign interpreting.
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires the provision of qualified interpreters in a variety of settings. It states that "To satisfy this requirement, the interpreter must have the proven ability to effectively communicate..."
One important measure of an interpreter's proven ability is professional credentials. Credentials are obtained by taking and passing an assessment of your skills. RID provides testing for national certification. For the state of Texas, certification is provided by the Board of Evaluators of Interpreters (BEI) a division under the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services-Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services.