Dreaming Big and Aiming High
by: Susan Swancey, EIPA 3.6 - NIR Interpreter Coordinator
When I first started in my interpreting career in 2001, there were many options for becoming a certified interpreter: CI/CT, Oral, NAD, RID, QA, EIE. The last two were from the state of Florida. I’m not sure they were offered in other states but I’m sure there were equivalents in other states. Over the years, some of the tests were retired and replaced with new tests. We’ve seen a lot of changes and growing pains. I was a part of those growing pains. I then decided to put aside the testing until things smoothed out. While things were still up in the air with the NIC, I researched other ways to become certified. Here are the other options to have feedback and to see where strengths and weaknesses are.
Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment. This test focuses on the education system. It provides excellent feedback. There is a written portion and a performance portion. Here is the link to investigate more if this is the route you want to take. Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment – EIPA (boystown.org).
The Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Board for Evaluation of Interpreters. It is based in Texas and focuses also on the education system. This test is not provided in all states. Some states don’t recognize it. There is a written portion and a performance portion. Here is the link to investigate more if this is the route you want to take. BEI Testing | Texas Health and Human Services
This is the National Interpreter Certification. Administered by CASLI now. There is a written and a performance portion. Here is the link to investigate more if this is the route you want to take. Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (rid.org)
Even though I’ve been in the field of interpreting for close to 20 years, National certification has been elusive. I’ve taken the QA and the EIE. I’ve taken the EIPA and I’ve even taken the NIC. I’m not a stranger to test taking. I can blame not passing on the test not being fair or other things, but I need to put the blame where I am. I took some tests as just a practice to see what it was like, so I didn’t go in blind. I took the NIC, the first time, when it was just introduced, and no workshops were given and no one understood what the grading rubric meant. Yes, I’m dating myself, but I went in knowing I wasn’t going to pass. The second and third time I THOUGHT I went in prepared. Guess I needed a little bit more practice. So why tell you all of this? Why dredge up the past and pick at old scars? Because I’ve decided to bite the bullet again and take that certification test AGAIN. This time with intentions of passing it.
I’m making myself a SMART goal and really going to work on improving my areas of concern. This blog will feature monthly skills that I will work on and what I’m using to improve. It will showcase different websites that are great to practice voicing and signing. I may also find some good mentors. So come on this journey with me and see where it leads us.