Being a Community Interpreter definitely has no dull moments. Every encounter is very unique. My setting consists of education staff, medical staff, psychologists social workers, therapists, administrators, parents, and students among others. Due to a variety of needs, the modes of interpreting often changes depending on the setting, thus, allowing me to stay sharp on my modes. I take my role very seriously (I'd like to think most professional interpreters do) and it's taken our organization a number of years to change the organizational culture when it comes to language interpreters. We've moved on (for the most part) from, "can you help translate this very quickly?" to "How long would it take to for you to help translate this?" or from, "are you the translator?" to "are you the translator, I mean interpreter?" (insert high-five). Hey, it's the little things that matter most right?
Trained, professional interpreters are slowly but surely beginning to plug their way into community settings and inevitably bringing their training with them. One can only hope that these trained individuals find their way into schools systems so that we may then, collectively, begin to bring awareness of the profession and its importance within our educational systems. If you are currently in a school district that still continues to be challenged by understanding the difference between a bilingual employee and an interpreter; I encourage you to take part in a community interpreter training and begin to have honest conversations to help raise the bar in your organization.