Interpreters in ASLI
An interpreter is someone who is (at least) bilingual but also has the ability and training to be able to work between two languages and facilitate communication between people. As a trained interpreter you can become an Associate or Full member of ASLI although you do not have to be an interpreter to become either an individual or corporate affiliate of ASLI. Those enrolled on a training course that is recognised by ASLI may join ASLI as Student members.
There are 3 different types of membership of ASLI: Student membership, Associate Membership and Full Membership (MASLI). Each category represents a different stage along the journey of becoming an interpreter. Interpreters should be aware of best practice documents and legislation that is relevant to the areas they work in (please see here).
Whilst it is understandable that, due to the shortage of interpreters, associate members often work alone, ideally the associate member should be working within a supportive environment with an interpreter with her or his full professional status offering supervision and monitoring of their work.
We would advise that associate interpreters also have a mentor so that they can discuss issues that arise with someone of greater experience than them. Further guidance on associate members accepting appropriate assignments is available here.
If an associate member were working in a situation where 2 or more interpreters are required, we would advise that at least 1 of those interpreters should have achieved her or his full professional status.
Situations that involve complex language, and/or the consequences of which will have a serious effect on the participants, including legal work (especially police interviews), consultant medical appointments, mental health situations, etc. should not be undertaken by associate members working alone.
If the associate member is unsure as to her or his suitability for an assignment s/he should seek appropriate advice from an interpreter with their full professional status. This could also provide a good opportunity for the associate member to shadow a more experienced interpreter and gain greater insight into the situation.
The full member (MASLI) is someone who has achieved her or his full professional status and is expected to be able to judge or seek appropriate advice as to whether s/he is able to undertake an interpreting assignment; some assignments can require additional specialised training, e.g. legal work, etc and shadowing a more experienced interpreter is often an invaluable way to gain greater insight. We would also advise that MASLI interpreters have a mentor so that they can discuss issues that arise and undergo continuing professional development.