Observing briefly trained, non-certified interpreters at work: Risk Analysis


  • July De Wilde Ghent University Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication Groot-Brittanniëlaan 45 B-9000 Gent Belgium http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4936-955X
  • Ella van Hest Ghent University
  • Pascal Rillof Flemish Government Integration Agency
  • Lies Van Poucke Flemish Government Integration Agency




public-service interpreting, assessment, risk analysis, non-certified interpreters, interpretación en servicios públicos, evaluación, análisis de riesgo, intérpretes no certificados


The exceptional migratory flows in 2015-2016 have entailed several challenges for the Flemish public service interpreting sector, including a mismatch in supply and demand, a shortage of interpreters for lesser-used language varieties, and government budget constraints. In order to meet these challenges head-on, the Flemish Government Integration Agency, responsible for certifying public-service interpreters, has set up a research project designed to determine whether, and under what circumstances, briefly trained volunteer “language assistants” (LAs) could offer a valid additional form of language mediation. First, participants were trained and evaluated when interacting, mainly through role plays, with fellow trainees. Second, their interpreting performances during real-life service provision interactions were video-recorded and assessed. The LAs’ interpreting performances were assessed predominantly as unsatisfactory, with the main risks being linked to low interpreter competence, language proficiency, and deontological awareness. Those findings have been addressed in a follow-up project, by increasing the required CEFR level of Dutch and by changing the content of the training.


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