IFRP Partners Complete 40 Hour Interpreter Training

April 02, 2012

Last month 35 partners of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights’ (ICIRR) Immigrant Family Resource Program (IFRP) participated in a 40 hour Interpreter training sponsored by ICIRR and the Language Access Resource Center of the DuPage Federation on Human Services Reform.

Through Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act all federally funded agencies are required to provide language access to anyone who is Limited English Proficient (LEP). By providing professional interpretation in over 56 languages, partners of the IFRP help the Illinios Department of Human Services (IDHS) meet this obligation. In addition, this language assistance ensures that kids don’t get cornered into acting as interpreters to their parents, which can potentially end up being uncomfortable and even traumatizing for the child and the adult. It also ensures that a proper interpretation is done which is critical to the client/customer’s complete understanding of the situation.

At the training partners learned training techniques, the ethics of interpreting, the importance of terminology and the role of culture in the interpreting process. Also, one of the messages conveyed at the training was that being a bilingual staff person does not equal being a trained interpreter. As one trainee put it “this training was very useful because one who is bilingual thinks they are doing a favor or something good when interpreting for someone but don’t think of the consequences. The training allowed me to see interpretation and translation as a specific field or a specialization rather than just something any person can do.”

The IFRP is a network of 39 ethnic community-based organizations across Illinois dedicated to providing equal access to health and safety-net services for immigrant communities. IFRP is administered by ICIRR and funded by IDHS. IFRP partners have the significant role of being professional interpreters between LEP clients and staff at mainstream agencies, especially at the Family Community Resource Centers (FCRC) of IDHS.

Every year ICIRR trains IFRP staff on interpreting and translating in a professional setting, thus making sure that their client’s rights to language access are being met.