In November of 2021, we announced the brand-new InterpreMed Ambassador Program, in which we connect our members with volunteer interpreting opportunities with worthy non-profit organizations serving the LEP (limited English proficient) community.
Through our live medical interpreting practice sessions, the InterpreMed team has the unique opportunity of seeing aspiring medical interpreters in action, enabling us to identify talented individuals who are prepared to put their skills to use in the field. The Ambassador Program seeks to make the most of this opportunity by connecting eligible members with volunteer interpreting opportunities with charitable organizations serving the limited English proficient community.
Remote Volunteer Opportunities for International Medical Interpreters
As of February 11, 2022, the Ambassador Program is officially open to all international members with our existing Ambassador Program Partner: Access Now. All future Program Partners will be able to specify whether they require U.S. residence in order for prospective Ambassadors to be eligible to volunteer with their organization. As always, in the spirit of being inclusive of all interpreters, we will encourage all future program partners to open their doors to international volunteers. The InterpreMed team is confident that, with our comprehensive nomination, screening, and training process, we will be able to connect our Program Partners with the best volunteer interpreters, regardless of where they are located in the world.
International Interpretation in the U.S.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a drastic increase in the utilization of remote (VRI/OPI) interpretation in the United States. But, even before the pandemic many remote interpreters providing interpretation services to healthcare systems within the United States were doing so from outside of the U.S. We only expect to see the use of international interpreters in the remote mode increase in the coming years. Despite this fact, while interpreters located within the U.S. often have a wealth of volunteer interpreting opportunities to hone their skills in the field, interpreters in other countries oftentimes don’t have the ability to do this, let alone in the healthcare system of the country in which they will likely be rendering the majority of their interpretations.
This results in nothing less than a catch-22 for remote medical interpreters outside of the U.S.: they provide a large percentage of remote interpretation for the U.S. healthcare system, yet aren’t offered the same opportunities to practice their skills in the context of that system before starting a job as a remote interpreter for U.S.-based companies. This results in many remote medical interpreters outside of the U.S. learning on the job, oftentimes with very few supports or applicable training. Ultimately, this catch-22 creates an environment that can potentially negatively impact patients with LEP in the U.S.
Empowering International Interpreters
At InterpreMed, we see it as part of our mission to provide professional development opportunities for all interpreters, empowering them to provide the highest level of professional service to patients who rely upon them. This is why we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity our Program Partner is extending to our international members, and are looking forward to providing them the support and guidance they need to make a difference in U.S. LEP communities.
If you are an international (or domestic U.S.) interpreter looking to connect with volunteer interpreting opportunities and would like to learn more about the InterpreMed Ambassador Program, please click here for more information.