Are there any laws in the United States that regulate the translation/interpreting profession?
Thread poster: yolanda Speece
yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
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Sep 29, 2006

regulate the Translation/Interpreting Profession?

What about laws in different states?

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2006-09-29 15:48]


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:05
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For court interpreters Sep 29, 2006

AFAIK there is the Court Interpreters Act of 1978. It applies only to court interpreters. Then there are the state requirements, also for court interpreters.
I am almost certain there is no other legislation applying to translators and/or interpreters in general.


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yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
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What does Sep 29, 2006

AFAIK stand for?

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Liliana Roman-Hamilton  Identity Verified
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it stands for Sep 29, 2006

as far as I know= AFAIK

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Marketing-Lang.  Identity Verified
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As Far As I Know Sep 29, 2006

AFAIK

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yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
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Thanks for the clarification Sep 29, 2006

So the Act only applies to Interpreters in the Courtroom setting and nowhere else?

[Edited at 2006-09-29 17:30]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
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The Act Sep 29, 2006

I recall that you have asked about this subject before. The Court Interpreters Act of 1978 applies only to the US Federal Courts, and one must be certified to be eligible for employment as a Federal Court Interpreter. However, the Federal Courts also make use of non-certified interpreters on a freelance basis when no certified interpreters are available; they are paid about one-half the regular freelance rate.

I was certified by the US Federal Courts in 1981 after going through their exam process, but I do not work for them. Information on that process is available on the Net.

Many states including Texas have their own examination and licensing programs for interpreters in their courts. In addition other state agencies in some states, and perhaps also in the case of healthcare interpreters, can have such programs.

The Act (Federal) applies specifically to Interpreters in the Federal Courtroom setting, but as a translator I have found that it is a great advantage when documents must be translated for use in court; it is often required by the client.

In summary, (AFAIK), the only regulation in the US is for interpreters (not translators) working in specific agencies or settings and only for specific languages, mostly Spanish.

On an overall basis, and to the general public, it is an unregulated profession in the US.


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
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The standard laws apply. Sep 30, 2006

As others have noted, there are no laws (at least as far as I know) specifically regulating the interpreting and translating profession. The Court Interpreter Act of 1978, strictly speaking, regulates the use of interpreters by the courts, not the interpreters themselves. There are laws in various states that regulate the use of interpreters in various settings (such as medical and court settings) but not the interpreters themselves.

That said, you, like any other small businessperson, are subject to various laws. You may need a business license in your local jurisdiction, for example. You may not misrepresent yourself (e.g., by falsely claiming that you are certified by the ATA for translation from Finnish to English). If you haven't already done so, I recommend hiring an attorney for an hour or so and discussing this with him/her. The peace of mind is worth it.


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yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
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That is what I am trying to find out. Sep 30, 2006

Where are the licenses needed?

I know about the court interpreter laws, as all of the lovely prozians have pointed out.

However, I wanted to know if there are any types of licensing or certificates needed for translators in any other field.

If they exist, what are they and where are they needed?

I guess what I am asking is if there is anything other than the Court Interpreters Act.

Because what I am understanding in essence is that there is no "licensing", per se. If you don't want to work in the courts, do you need licensing elsewhere such as hospitals, schools, doctor's offices, attorney's offices, police departments, etc.

There is certification to interpret in the courts. There is no other state regulated licensing other than court interpreting.

Am I understanding this correctly?


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
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Ask your potential clients and the Chamber of Commerce Oct 1, 2006

yolanda Speece wrote:

Where are the licenses needed?

I know about the court interpreter laws, as all of the lovely prozians have pointed out.

However, I wanted to know if there are any types of licensing or certificates needed for translators in any other field.

If they exist, what are they and where are they needed?

I guess what I am asking is if there is anything other than the Court Interpreters Act.

Because what I am understanding in essence is that there is no "licensing", per se. If you don't want to work in the courts, do you need licensing elsewhere such as hospitals, schools, doctor's offices, attorney's offices, police departments, etc.

There is certification to interpret in the courts. There is no other state regulated licensing other than court interpreting.

Am I understanding this correctly?


Basically, that's accurate, AFAIK. But you may need a license to conduct business. (Fairfax County, VA, for example, requires you have a license if your gross receipts are over $10,000, whether you're doing translations, cutting lawns or knitting sweaters to earn this money.) And if an interpreter's license is required (and I know of no place where it is), your potential clients will have penalties for using unlicensed interpreters, so they will know about the requirements. So if you visit the Chamber of Commerce, a hospital, a school, a doctor's office, an attorney's office and a police department and ask them about such requirements, you'll probably find out about any requirements that exist.

[Edited at 2006-10-01 01:02]


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teju  Identity Verified
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FYI Oct 1, 2006

Yolanda, I looked at your profile to try to get an idea of where you live. I saw references to the Brownsville area. If you still live in Texas, the link below will give you more information about the license court interpreters must have in the state. At the bottom of the page there's an email address where you may write if you have more questions.

As my friend Henry has already mentioned, many clients prefer to have someone doing their translations who has a state or federal certification. The problem is that those type of certifications are for court interpreters, not translators. It's very confusing for the public. The people who created the license in our state of Texas did not consider that interpreting and translating are two different professions. Actually, most of my friends who are court interpreters like me, are not translators. Yet clients are told that if a translation is going to be used in a court setting, the translator must be a Texas licensed court interpreter. Go figure! We've got a long way to go in Texas. That's why I admire everything the state of New Mexico is doing for interpreting, they have created an interpreting advisory board that works closely with the state Supreme Court in Santa Fe to improve and regulate the profession. Saludos,

teju


Licensed Court Interpreters
This is the home page for the Licensed Court Interpreters program administered by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
www.license.state.tx.us/court/court.htm - 12k - Cached - Similar pages
[ More results from www.license.state.tx.us ]


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yolanda Speece  Identity Verified
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See this is why it may appear that even though I asked the question Oct 1, 2006

there are others who can benefit from it!

Tell me more about the regulation going on in New Mexico. That sounds interesting!

Does anyone else know anything about that?


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teju  Identity Verified
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Write to me Oct 2, 2006

yolanda Speece wrote:
Tell me more about the regulation going on in New Mexico. That sounds interesting!

Yolanda, if you write to me, I can give you my friend's phone number. I have no doubt that she will answer any questions you may have. Saludos,

teju


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