The personal benefit of being a certified court interpreter in a State that is not a member of the Consortium. You better read!
May 7, 2012 § 2 Comments
You probably think the title of this article is wrong, but it is not. During my career, I have worked and lived in States of this country, the United States, where there is no consortium interpreter court certification, and in States that are members of the consortium. Of course, at first sight, the comment by most colleagues is: You are better-off working in a State where they have and enforce court certification, and that is true as far as continuing education, certain quality-control of the services provided by those interpreters hired by the courts, and the fact that most, not all, of these consortium certified court interpreters are better than those who are not certified.
You would say, at least they approved the certification exam that the other interpreter failed, and you would be right. The thing is, I am not writing about that type of benefit. The benefit I am referring to is the benefit that you, as an individual, professional federally certified court interpreter have when you work with clients, in and out of the judicial system, who cannot tell apart those court interpreters that they see working at the courthouses every day. In a State where there is no consortium certification you can go to the client and point out that the other interpreter has no certification whatsoever, that your federal certification is not easy to obtain, and that from the start, that puts you in a better position to provide a better-quality interpretation service. It also gives you an argument to negotiate a higher fee. In Consortium States we often run into the problem of having to explain the difference between the two certifications, and even when we succeed, some clients may be tempted to retain the services of somebody less qualified because after all, a certification is a certification, and “how much different can it be?” Of course the problem is greater when you factor in the “grandfathered” interpreters who did not have to pass the consortium certification exam.
Of course, you are now going to tell me that once the client sees you in action she will fall in love with your work and will hire you again; surely, you will now say that some State certified interpreters are good, and some federally certified are not that great, no doubt some of you could mention that the quality level of those State interpreters in non-consortium States is even worse… I agree with all those observations, all I am saying is that if you are a federally certified court interpreter living in a non-consortium State, look for this added benefit and exploit it. It has worked for me. Please tell me what you think of this perspective, and please do not write about how State certified interpreters are good, or bad, that is not the topic of this piece.