Within Germany, a wide range of training courses are available for people interested in obtaining a professional qualification as community interpreters. However, these programmes vary widely in terms of their scope, learning goals and content, requirements and examinations – as do the evaluation and quality assurance measures provided for such courses.
The sheer variety of qualifications on offer not only makes professionalisation more difficult for interpreters in the community but also discourages potential candidates interested in completing these kinds of programmes.
In light of these facts, a scientific research project has developed a set of ‘Quality standards and minimum require-ments for the training of interpreters in the community in Germany’ (Breitsprecher et al., 2020). In developing these training standards, researchers have drawn on a comprehensive scientific database that identifies and evaluates more than 400 (inter-)national skills training programmes, as well as an analysis of results obtained from focus groups and one-on-one interviews. As a final step, a multi-phase national consultation was launched, involving both experts and interest groups, with the aim of defining, discussing and agreeing quality criteria on the basis of the preparatory work. These quality criteria provided a contextual starting-point for implementing the current professionalisation project.
Development and evaluation of a curriculum providing a minimum qualification for interpreters on the basis of the above-mentioned minimum quality standards
As part of the three-year AMIF project ‘Qualification ‘Interpreting in the Community’. A professional qualification for interpreters working in healthcare, social services, local authorities and education’, goals were achieved with the aid of the following modules:
An interdisciplinary Advisory Board , consisting of experts and relevant interest groups, provided constructive and critical support for training programme implementation.
The project results were presented at the symposium "Qualifying Interpreting in the Community" on the 26th of June 2022 and at the national conference "Interpreting in the Health and Community Sector: Perspectives, Qualification & Future Developments" on the 23rd and 24th of September 2022. More detailed information can be found here.
500 units each 45-minutes including self-study periods, a short internship, exam preparation (using interpreting roleplay as a methodology). (Half of this is organised in a classroom setting.)
People who have been asked to interpret using German and one (or more) relevant working languages in various organisations or who would like to work in this capacity in the future.
After completing the course, participants will have a solid grounding in the theory and practice of interpreting, and will also be aware of the necessary skills and codes of practice employed in this profession. Furthermore, they will be able to name and explain relevant legal frameworks and other constraints, especially as applicable to healthcare, social services, local authorities and education. Participants will be able to analyse and label role assignments and dynamics in an interpreter-mediated conversation. They will be able to identify, distinguish between and compare various behavioural patterns, so as to take and justify appropriate, situation-specific decisions for (their own) interpreting work. They will be able to evaluate and give feedback on (their own) approaches to interpretation.
Helping interpreters master day-to-day challenges: seven-month work-study course or three-month full-time course in Hamburg. A basic introduction to the profession was provided, including interpreting modes, techniques and strategies, language skills, cultural skills, the role(s) of the interpreter, professional ethics, trauma and self-care, legal frameworks, freelance interpreting and a guide to the various scenarios where interpreting is used. The course covered both the theory and practice of interpreting.
Candidates who wanted to participate in the qualification course had to fulfil the following criteria:
The minimum number of participants per course was 12, the maximum 20.
The course concluded with a practical and oral examination. Participants were issued with a certificate stating their examination grade.
The total course were covered by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund as well as contributing project partners.