Many people within the BME communities have a specific skill and advantage of being bilingual. This natural skill should not be underestimated. With BME communities being overrepresented in unemployment figures nationally, their language skills could be used to their enterprising advantage.
Community interpreting is a specific type of interpreting service which is a particularly vital service in communities with large numbers of ethnic minorities, enabling those minorities to access services where, due to the language barrier, they would otherwise find it difficult. Situations where such interpreters are necessary are typical include medical, educational, housing, social security and legal areas.
The community interpreter has a very different role and responsibilities from a commercial or conference interpreter. S/he is responsible for enabling professional and client, with very different backgrounds and perceptions and in an unequal relationship of power and knowledge, to communicate to their mutual satisfaction
The project will enable participants to learn vocabulary/ terms used by job centres, health departments, education, benefit agencies and Home Office, practice different types of interpreting including consecutive, note taking and on-sight translation.This will help them to improved access to services for people with English as a second language
Members of the community ask for support in appointments (hospital and doctor’s appointments, Immigration services, benefits or housing meetings) and we can translate for them. We will also be able to translate information (such as health leaflets, personal correspondence) for our members. Organisations and agencies contact WAD for this service also. We are able to translate around 10 different languages.
West African Development and the Worker’s Education Association offers an accredited Community Interpreter’s course which recognize and accredit bi-lingual skills, increasing basic skill levels in the Community and giving people confidence to progress to further study and employment.