Original Articles

Sourcing and maintaining a pool of suitably skilled interpreters for educational interpreting at a tertiary institution

DOI: 10.2989/SALALS.2008.
Author(s): Johan Blaauw


In addition to utilising dual- and parallel-medium instruction for its lectures to a very limited extent, the North-West University, as part of its language management programme, opted for relatively large-scale simultaneous interpreting as a delivery mode in some of its classes, initially only on its Potchefstroom campus. This service expanded tenfold, from an initial 24 interpreted periods per week to approximately 240 periods just over 2 years later. For a relatively small campus, given the low numbers of simultaneous interpreters generally available, establishing and maintaining an interpreting service of this magnitude posed a serious challenge. This article (in a case study format) describes, firstly, the recruitment and selection, and secondly, the training of a pool of interpreters to staff an educational interpreting service. The increasing demands with regard to recruitment, selection and training, from the Telkom Pilot Study, through the relatively small Engineering Interpreting Project to the fully-fledged University Interpreting Service, are discussed. The conclusion reached in the article is that a suitably skilled pool of interpreters for a fairly large interpreting service can be sourced and maintained, even if only basic initial training takes place before selection, provided that this training is followed by comprehensive and continuous in-service training, with extensive quality control, based on the collection of actual interpreting product data.

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