Welcome to the Community Language Aide List
What is the List?
This list is a public service to help agencies and community members connect regarding language and cultural assistance needs. If you are looking for someone to help with interpreting or to talk to about a language or cultural group, you can contact anyone on the list directly. Any person who contacts Refugee Assistance & Immigration Services (RAIS) and asks to be listed will be listed without screening. However, RAIS does list useful additional information which might help you select the person(s) you wish to call.
Why do you call people Community Language Aides?
Many of the individuals on this list are bilingual people in the community with other jobs. Most are not first and foremost interpreters. However they are bilingual people interested in helping cross language barriers. They may be new to interpreting or they may actively practice the profession of Interpreting. We decided the term Community Language Aide better describes those on the list.
Do people on the list charge a fee?
This is not a language bank, so everyone listed here is an individual entity. You will need to contact the person or group directly and they will tell you their fees and make arrangements directly with you. RAIS provides and manages the list simply as a public service. Some people on the list volunteer, others charge professional rates.
Will RAIS/CSS arrange for someone to come help me?
No, you will need to contact people on the list directly.
Why do you have those boxes after their names?
RAIS gives you the name of the persons in each language group, their phone number and e-mail address. RAIS works to keep these current, but if you find a number or e-mail does not work, please e-mail email@example.com with that information and we will update the listing. In addition, RAIS gives you information that is important to consider when connecting with a Community Language Aide.
- Background Check: If this is marked it simply indicates that RAIS has conducted a background check for the person and it was deemed adequate. As the list is updated a date will be added. RAIS highly recommends that you conduct your own background check.
- Language Test - English: If this is marked, it means that the person has PASSED a low level English test at the level of fluent. This is a minimal requirement and does not mean the person has higher level fluency that might be necessary for many interpreting tasks. You might want to ask the person to tell you more about their credentials in English fluency.
- Language Test - Target: If this is marked, it means the person has TAKEN a proficiency test in their Target language from a national tester. This does not indicate what level of fluency they achieved. You might want to ask them to tell you their testing results in the Target language.
- CSS Training Passed: If this is marked, it means that the person has TAKEN and PASSED a training course at CSS. We only count those trainings that are intensive regarding the process of being a Community Language Aide. This does not mean that the person is "certified" as an interpreter. We do not list other classes the person may have taken or completed outside CSS. Again, it is good to ask them to tell you more about their training experiences. The RAIS Letters of Attendance tell what the course was about and how many hours the person spent in the class. Generally our classes are about 18 hours in length and cover fundamentals of interpreting, including ethics and professional standards.
Can anyone be on the list?
Yes, we do not screen. The list is easy to get on. Anyone can call us and tell us they are bilingual and we will list their name, phone number and e-mail contact. To get check marks, they need to do more as stated above. But as with all referral lists - buyer beware.
Here are a few questions you might want to ask any interpreter before you decide to work with them:
- Have you had a background check in the past 3 months? You might want to consider having all interpreters get one before you work with them, you are involving them in confidential information with your clients.
- Do you have any training as an interpreter? Ask to see certificates, letters of attendance, etc.. Sitting through a 3-hour class does not make you certified. There is NO SUCH THING as being a "certified spoken language interpreter" in Alaska. If they are certified - question them thoroughly. Perhaps they have an out of state certification - ask to see it, google it, etc. Having certificates does not make someone certified.
- What proof do you have of your abilities in English and the Target language? Ask to see assessments of their skills in these languages. Don't take their word for it. People can sound very polished but not really be fluent in the "other" language.
- Can you give me references? Call up their past clients.
- Iu Mien
- Swahili Kiswahili