ASL Update, December 29, 2016
I have recently become aware that Gallaudet University administers the American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI). Please click here for more information. Gaucha Translations does not administer this test.
The ACTFL scale gives spoken language proficiency guidelines for different skills, and there are tests for each skill. How does each skill apply to interpreting? The following skill descriptions are taken from the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines 2012
An interpreter will not interpret any better than the lowest score in obtained in the interpreter’s two working languages. For example, using a numerical scale based on the ILR, if an interpreter has a 4 in one language and a 2 in the other language, the interpreter or translator will not be able to interpret or translate anything more complex than level 2 material.
Listening is an interpretive skill. Listening comprehension is based largely on the amount of information listeners can retrieve from what they hear and the inferences and connections that they can make. […]The Guidelines […]are intended to describe what listeners understand from what they hear.
Interpreting from both languages: Before interpreters can take notes or interpret a message, they must be able to listen to it and understand it. This test evaluates an interpreter’s ability to do exactly that. Recommendation: test in both working languages at Advanced Mid to match the speaking level required by the National Board.
The Guidelines describe the tasks that speakers can handle at each level, as well as the content, context, accuracy, and discourse types associated with tasks at each level. They also present the limits that speakers encounter when attempting to function at the next higher major level.
These Guidelines can be used to evaluate speech that is either Interpersonal (interactive, two-way communication) or Presentational (one-way, non-interactive).
Interpreting into both languages: Interpreters speak to people in a different language, and must be able to communicate different types of content effectively and accurately. Recommendation: test in both working languages at Advanced Mid as required by the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters.
Reading is an interpretive skill. Reading comprehension is based largely on the amount of information readers can retrieve from a text, and the inferences and connections that they can make within and across texts. […] These Guidelines […]are intended to describe what readers are able to understand from what they read.
Sight translating from the source language: When interpreters perform sight translation, they must understand the written text in the source language. Recommendation: Test in the language most likely to be read from (generally English). Superior or distinguished recommended, because the texts are often technical in nature.
The Guidelines describe the tasks that writers can handle at each level as well as the content, context, accuracy, and discourse types associated with the writing tasks at each level. They also present the limits that writers encounter when attempting to function at the next higher major level.
Writing for the patient in the target language: Though writing for the patients or clients is not technically part of the interpreters’ job description, it is often expected by those who hire interpreters. Recommendation: test in the non-English language. The office staff will do the writing in English. Advanced Low level recommended.