Civil Rights: Limited English Proficiency Resources
Interpreter training resources
Agencies receiving federal funds are required to establish a language policy and a plan indicating how they will serve individuals of limited English proficiency and meet the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Qualified interpreters are one source of language access. Qualified interpreters will have proficiency in both English and the target language; demonstrated knowledge in both languages of relevant specialized terms, concepts, and cultural issues, and abide by an interpreter code of ethics.
Individuals who wish to interpret should obtain training in order to meet their professional responsibilities to clients and agencies. Agencies may contact trainers in order to arrange for interpretation training for the staff or contracted interpreters they use.
National interpreting resources
- Migration Policy Institute
- National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers
- National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC)
- National Interpreter Education Center
- National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS)
- Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc.
Language access resources
The following are Wisconsin Department of Administration language translation and interpretation contracts. Contract information for each is available on VendorNet.
- In-Person Interpretation Services for American Sign Language (ASL)
- In-Person Interpretation Services for Foreign Language
- Statewide Telephone Interpretation Services
- Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) Services for American Sign Language (ASL) – this contract can also be used for foreign language video-remote interpreting
- Written Foreign Language Translation Services
Cards and posters
- I Speak cards (PDF)
- Language interpretation poster, P-00417 (PDF)
Medical and court interpreter training
Agencies receiving federal funds need to ensure limited-English clients have access to adequate qualified interpreters in order to provide quality services and meet the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act 1964.
Individuals who wish to be community, medical, and court interpreters need to obtain appropriate training in order to meet their professional responsibilities to clients and agencies. There are two types of training available in Wisconsin: community/medical and court.
Wisconsin medical interpreter training
- Medical interpretation is a specialty, with national standards and a code of ethics. Most large cities have accredited training programs in medical interpretation.
- Medical interpretation involves not only a specialized vocabulary, but also an interpreter who is empathetic to the patient’s situation and comfortable in handling intimate and emotional content.
The quality of health care often depends as much on the interpreter as the provider.
As the immigrant and refugee population becomes increasingly diverse, the challenge of providing adequate medical interpreters becomes even more challenging. The following vendors have been providing medical interpreter trainings for immigrant and refugee languages to those seeking to become medical interpreters (all links exit the DHS website):
- International Institute of Wisconsin (IIW)
- Ragir Consulting, Inc.
- Southern Wisconsin Interpreting and Translation Services (SWITS, LLC)
Wisconsin court interpreter training
This program covers the fundamentals of court interpreting. It is designed to give participants an overview of the needs and expectations of the court, with emphasis on ethical conduct, legal terminology, court procedure, and basic legal interpreting skills. It includes small group practice exercise to develop interpreter skills. It is appropriate for both foreign language and sign language interpreters.
After the training, an interpreter can take a multiple-choice exam covering English proficiency, interpreters’ code of ethics, legal terminology, and a translation, which are offered about eight weeks after the training.
Oral certification exam
When an interpreter passes the written exam, they next must take the oral certification exam. This exam tests the interpreter’s ability to interpret in the three modes of interpreting, simultaneous, consecutive, and sight translation in a legal setting. Only interpreters who successfully complete the orientation, written exam, and oral certification exam—and who meet the character and fitness requirements—are eligible for Wisconsin certification.
Cost of training
Agencies are encouraged to contact the Office of Refugee Assistance Services Program Section in Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) and/or contact the vendors directly.
After successfully completing either training, interpreters will appear on the roster of trained court interpreters.