Interpreter Resources: Educational Interpreters

This guide points to different types of interpreting and library resources.

What is an Educational Interpreter?

The image is a photograph of a grey-haired teacher dressed in black pointing to the green board and an interpreter with short brown hair and mustache who is dressed in black and interpreting.This is from the Classroom Interpreting website. Classroom interpreting is more than just knowing how to sign competently. Interpreters must process language quickly and accurately, and they must think about spoken English and sign language simultaneously. Interpreting is also about being able to support the educational goals and outcomes as defined by the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).

Interpreting for children and youth is different than interpreting for adults. Childhood and adolescence involves development in many important domains – cognitive, social, and linguistic. Schools foster many forms of development, not just learning classroom content. By working with a student, all adults automatically become role models, language models, and disciplinarians as well as many other roles.

Educational interpreters have a big job, and there are few road maps. The interpreter is an important member of the educational team, with a responsibility to help implement the student’s IEP and maximize learning. The word “educational” in the title “educational interpreter” is an important distinction. It means working with a developing child, and this is reflected in your everyday practice.

This section describes issues related to interpreting for children, with a focus on social interaction and learning. It describes the role of the classroom interpreter, the skills needed to be an effective interpreter, resources helpful to interpreters, learning issues of students who are deaf or hard of hearing, and training opportunities.

What Does an Educational Interpreter Do?
Interpreters and Children

Preparing Effective Interpretation
Collaborating with the Educational Team
Professional Conduct Guidelines
Professional Organizations and Resources

EIPA Tests and Certification

Holders of this certification have demonstrated the ability to interpret or transliterate classroom content and discourse between students who are deaf and hard of hearing and students, teachers and school staff who are hearing.   Certificants have demonstrated EIPA Level 4* skills using spoken English and at least one of the following visual languages, constructs, or symbol systems at either an elementary or secondary level:

  • American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Manually Coded English (MCE)
  • Contact Signing (aka: Pidgin Signed English (PSE) or English-like Signing)
  • Cued American English (CAE) (aka: Cued Speech)

The examinations for this certification are developed and maintained by the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA)  and are administered by Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. This credential has been available since 2007. See the Classroom Interpreting EIPA section for more information.

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