Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I've got some research to do . . .

Last night, instead of having a regular class on Deaf Communication Studies, those from my Monday night Interpreting I class joined those from my Tuesday night class to listen to a presentation by people from the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (KCDHH).

They presented a lot of really beneficial information for those of us who are working toward certification as interpreters, including the fact that even with new regulations that will be going into effect in the next couple of years, those who volunteer to interpret in the Church are not subject to the regulation of being certified. However, those who are paid to interpret are required to be certified.

My question: "If my church decides to pay me to interpret, do I have to have a certification?" (BTW, the issue of payment has not come up at my church yet because there is currently no one for me to interpret for.) All I was told was that this was a good question and that they didn't know the answer. They said I'll have to research that question to find the answer. Whoopie.

So, now, I have some research to do. I'm only a first-year student, so it's not like I don't have time to acquire the skills I would need to be certified, but if certification is a requirement that I have to meet, I'll need to know what level I need to be certified at.

Certification levels are given a rating of 1 through 5. Currently, all levels are allowed to interpret, but a level 2 or above is preferred. Under the new guidelines, those with a level 1 or 2 would be given a "transitional permit" to work, but must attain at least a level 3 in order to have a full working certification. Most graduates of Interpreter Training Programs in Kansas attain a level 2, because it's only a two-year program. KCDHH is trying to turn it into a four-year bachelor's degree program, which would, potentially, raise the average graduate's certification level to at least a 3.

As it is, I don't think I'm certifiable yet. If I am, I'm only at a level 1, at best, because I haven't gone through as much training as I need to, and my skills need a lot of refining. I can, however, carry on a good, lengthy conversation with the Deaf and hard-of-hearing, but at this time (compared to working interpreters), my sign language vocabulary is very limited, and my receptive skills and voicing skills need a lot of work.

If, for some reason I don't need to even think about what level I can certify at in order to be a (paid/unpaid) church interpreter, that's fine, but I still would like to try to attain at least a level 3, eventually. That way, I know that I'd be in good shape to interpret elsewhere, too, if the opportunity presented itself.

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