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Interpreter quality is the lifeblood of on-demand interpreting.

It is imperative that language service providers (LSPs) have a sophisticated method for recruiting the finest interpreters in the world to meet your needs.

When evaluating interpreter quality, it is helpful to break the subject into four sections:

  1. Interpreter recruiting
  2. Interpreter new hire training
  3. Quality assurance, monitoring, and ongoing development and support
  4. Procedures and policies to ensure safety and security of information

In this article, we will address interpreter recruiting. 

Questions to Ask

These questions will establish the LSP’s commitment to sourcing quality candidates. For each question, ask for proof: “What evidence can you show me to validate your answers?”

  1. Are candidates required to pass a language proficiency test?
  2. Can you describe the content of the test(s)?
  3. How were the tests developed? Have they been validated by third-party experts?
  4. How are the test results evaluated?
  5. What are the qualifications of the evaluators?
  6. Are candidates required to pass background checks and drug screening tests? What is included in the background check?

DOWNLOAD: eBook: 5 Critical Criteria for Selecting Your On-Demant Interpreting Partner

What to Expect

Here is the information you should expect to learn as a result of asking these questions.

  1. Are candidates required to pass a language proficiency test?

The purpose of this question is to determine if candidates have the required base level of language proficiency to be successful.

  1. Can you describe the content of the test?

Best-in-class LSPs require tests that include skills, such as:

  • Bidirectional language proficiency from English into the target language and the target language into English
  • Ability to understand written and spoken grammar and syntax in the target language
  • Knowledge of industry-specific terminology
  • Accuracy and completeness (memory retention, note-taking, and conversion skills)
  • Knowledge of interpretation protocol
  • Customer service skills
  1. How were the tests developed? Have they been validated by third-party experts?

Best-in-class LSPs typically have their tests validated by third-party industry experts to maintain the integrity and effectiveness of the testing and to ensure that the tests measure what they are intended to measure.

  1. How are the results of the test evaluated?

Best-in-class LSPs score the tests using a combination of electronic and human evaluation by skilled raters. Because language is nuanced and representative of cultural norms, it is important to have the language proficiency elements of the tests scored by human evaluators.

  1. What are the qualifications for the evaluators?

This question establishes the competency and skill level of the assessor.

  1. Are candidates required to pass background checks and drug screening tests?What is included in the background check?

Best-in-class LSPs understand that the integrity of the candidate is important, given the often sensitive or valuable information and situations that the interpreters are required to handle.

Download the Checklist

Our Checklist for Choosing a Language Services Provider walks you through the process of evaluating which interpretation or translation service is appropriate for you. It simplifies your decision-making and makes it easy for you to compare and contrast potential providers. 

About LanguageLine(R) 

LanguageLine has been the world leader in innovative language-access solutions since 1982. The company sets the global standard for phone, video, and onsite interpreting, as well as translation of the written word. LanguageLine is trusted by more than 30,000 clients to enable communication with the limited English proficient, Deaf, and Hard of Hearing communities. LanguageLine provides the industry’s fastest and most dependable access to more than 35,000 professional linguists in 290-plus languages — 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Please do not hesitate to contact us

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