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Is English-to-English Testing the Answer?

Check out the below article about a project the CCHI is currently tackling! It involves English-to-English testing. Depending on how this study turns out, the CCHI could add on an English only interpreter performance exam to the existing CoreCHI™ certification that would be available to interpreters of any language – it will be exciting to see what happens! 

Perhaps the most misunderstood aspects of interpreting, among those who are unfamiliar with interpreting, is the fact that being bilingual (or multilingual as is the case with many interpreters) is not an interpreting skill in and of itself. At a minimum, bilingual skills are necessary, but the skill of interpreting is, in fact, not a single skill at all. It is a series of skills that, when working in harmony together, allow the interpreter to convey meaning between two languages and facilitate communication between two (or more) people.

In healthcare and other interpreting settings, the interpreter’s competencies include skills that have either no direct correlation to language proficiency or are not exclusive to language proficiency. Some of these competencies include knowledge, cognitive skills, and personality traits.

Professional interpreters are acutely aware that skills such as memory recall, active listening, message analysis, and speech quality are just a few of the subskills that are essential to rendering a successful interpretation. While these skills are among the critical competencies for interpreters, they do not necessarily require knowledge of a second language. This raises several questions regarding the feasibility of testing performance-based interpreter competencies.

Is it possible to test an interpreter’s performance-based competencies using a monolingual modality? If so, how could this be done? What will the research demonstrate? Those are the questions that CCHI has begun to explore.

In the Fall of 2017, CCHI held several focus group calls and interviews with 40 national experts on healthcare interpreting and/or interpreter testing. The complete summary of these discussions is published in the paper Assessing Healthcare Interpreting Performance Skills in and English-to-English Format, which is available to the public on the CCHI website at the Publications page.

In June, CCHI continued this EtoE (English-to-English) Project by convening the EtoE National Task Force Panel of 22 experts who have been working under the guidance of CCHI’s psychometric consultant Dr. James P. Henderson of Castle Worldwide/Scantron Corporation. The Panel’s goal is to provide recommendations to CCHI about the types of items to include in the English only interpreter performance exam. These recommendations will be the foundation of the research study CCHI is planning to conduct and will be publicly available.

The EtoE study will be conducted with volunteer candidates applying for the CHI™ certification. The study participants will take two exams – the English only performance exam and the regular, dual-language CHI™-exam in Arabic, Mandarin or Spanish. The comparison of the results will inform us if there is a correlation between the two tests. If a valid correlation is found, the English only performance exam will enhance the existing CoreCHI™ certification by providing performance testing to interpreters of any language.

To stay current on the developments on this project and discover how you might participate in this groundbreaking research, sign up to receive CCHI’s newsletter or connect with CCHI through LinkedInYouTubeFacebook, or Twitter.

For the original article titled “EtoE Project National Task Force,” see the CCHI May-June 2018 Newsletter here.

Related to: Interpreter/Translator News, Medical Interpreters

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