In Many Courtrooms, Bad Interpreters Can Mean Justice Denied

Patricia Michelsen-King was observing the proceedings in a Chesterfield, Virginia, courtroom a few years ago when a man shouted in Spanish from the back of the courtroom, “I didn’t rape anybody!”

Michelsen-King, who teaches Spanish interpretation at Virginia Commonwealth University, said the outburst was the result of bad translation from his court interpreter. Though the man was accused of running a red light, his interpreter told him he was accused of a “violación”… keep reading

The difference between “qualified,” “certified” and having a certificate… and more FAQs

Some interpreters say they are “certified.” Is there a difference between qualified and certified interpreters?
A certified interpreter is an interpreter who is certified as competent by a professional organization or government entity through rigorous testing based on appropriate and consistent criteria. Interpreters who have had limited training or have taken a screening test administered by an employing health, interpreter or referral agency are not considered certified. Some programs offer a certificate of completion, but this does not equal certification.

A qualified interpreter is an individual who has been assessed for professional skills, demonstrates a high level of proficiency in at least two languages and has the appropriate training and experience to interpret with skill and accuracy while adhering to the National Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice published by the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care.
— Read on www.ncihc.org/faq-for-translators-and-interpreters

Medical Interpreter Training

1. What does KITA provide for medical interpreter training?

KITA provides a 64-hour class called Core Medical Interpreter Training (CMIT). For more info, click here.

2. How is this class set up?

You can expect to spend 4 days in class (2 full weekends) and to spend 32 hours on an online component.  You will have access to the online component for approximately 2-3 weeks. You must commit to this schedule in order to earn the certificate. Should unforeseen circumstances occur you can complete the requirements during our next class.

3. Where is this training offered?

This training is regularly offered in Lexington, KY.  Trainers are also located in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH.

4. When is this training offered?

KITA offers this class 2-3 times in Lexington, KY. Please check our website (www.kitanonprofit.org) to learn of future training.

5. What is the cost of this program?

CMIT requires a third-party language assessment in English and in one target language in order to be accepted into the program.  This test, done over the phone, will cost $70 for Spanish, $80 for core languages and $115 for rare languages. It is only necessary to take and pass one language assessment test in order to be admitted to the CMIT. The cost of the class is $450.

6. What is the passing score of the language assessment?

The assessment you will take is called Communication Skills Test-Health Care Version. You will receive a grade in English and a grade in the target language.  You must receive a minimum of 75% in both languages for a passing score. You will be tested in medical vocabulary in both languages. This is done to assess your baseline medical vocabulary knowledge. Your score on this portion will not count against you.

7. How will the language assessment be set up?

KITA will submit your name, phone number and email to LanguageStat. They will contact you for payment, to set up the phone exam date and time, and to give you a list of 200 medical words from which to prepare.  You must be available at the time of the call or you may be charged and have to pay a second time.

8. What happens after I pass the language assessment?

You will receive the results via email. Once it has been determined that you are a qualified candidate for the CMIT we will send you a link for payment.

9. Can I take the language assessment in more than one target language?

Yes. If you are willing and able to pay for additional assessments, they can be arranged prior to the CMIT for the prices listed above.  The costs will increase once you are no longer a CMIT candidate.

10. How can I pay for the CMIT?

Preference is via credit or debit card, but contact us if you need to make other arrangements. We do not offer payment plans at this time. Full payment must be made prior to attending the class.

11. Does KITA offer any financial assistance for this training?

KITA wishes to support the aspiring interpreter whenever possible.  We are sometimes able to offer scholarships, mostly in the amount of $150. Please contact us for more information.

12. Will I be a certified interpreter after taking this course?

No.  Through the CMIT (and all other such courses 40 hours or more) you will earn a CERTIFICATE OF ATTENDANCE. This, along with the language assessment, will make you a minimally qualified medical interpreter in the language(s) in which you were assessed.  During this training you will learn the process of becoming a nationally certified medical interpreter.

13. Will I be able to interpret in other venues after receiving this training?

This training will prepare you to interpret in medical settings. You will also be able to use this training in social services and educational settings.  You will NOT be qualified to interpreter in legal/court settings. If you are interested in becoming a court interpreter for the state of Kentucky, click here.

14. Can I be put on a waiting list for future CMITs?

Yes. Send us an email with your name, email and phone number and we will contact you.

Member Spotlight: Lynn Fors

KITA would like to congratulate founding board member and current Vice President and Program Committee chair Lynn Fors for being given the Amici Linguarum (Friend of Languages) Award by the Kentucky World Language Association.

This award is presented to an individual or organization not directly involved in the teaching of world languages that has made a significant contribution to our society through their efforts to increase and promulgate both a love and appreciation for, as well as the ability to communicate in a world language among all citizens in the community, the state, and ultimately the country.

In addition to her language access advocacy work, Lynn is an entrepreneur who recently founded Access Language Services. Check out her website and latest blog post here.

If you have a KITA member that you would like to see in the spotlight just contact us at help@kitanonprofit. Be sure to put “Spotlight” in the subject line and a brief description of some of the candidates outstanding qualities or contributions in the message field.