FAQ: Agencies


Q: What is IQP?
A: The Interpreter Qualification Project (IQP) was designed in collaboration with DSS/DHEC to provide training and testing for bilingual workers and individuals from the community who are interested in interpreting for those two state agencies. Today IQP is available to other public and private agencies interested in standardizing the qualification needed by their staff and others who provide Spanish interpretation services to their clients or customers.

Q: What is the difference between qualification and certification?
A: IQP is NOT a certification program; it is a qualification program. A certification process generally has higher fluency and skill level requirements than a qualification process and has undergone a rigid process of standardizing curriculum and testing measures. Successful completion of this testing/training program will make the participant eligible to interpret for participating agencies. Qualification means an individual has met the baseline requirements set by our contract agencies in order to serve as an interpreter; the individual has a basic fluency of both English and Spanish, has attended the training, and has demonstrated a basic understanding of the training content and a basic mastery of the knowledge and skills required to serve as an interpreter by receiving a passing score on the test administered at the end of training. 

Q: How were your tests designed?
A: Our tests were designed to meet the requirements of our current contracting agencies (DSS and DHEC). The agencies wanted to ensure that all qualified individuals had a basic fluency level in both English and Spanish. We worked closely with DSS and DHEC to determine a baseline for language ability, interpretation knowledge, and skill level.

Q: What if we sponsor a staff member and he or she fails the test?
A: Each agency must establish its own policies and procedures regarding interpreting and the use of staff or community interpreters. The Center can only provide you with the results based on our testing methods.

Q: How do you screen participants?

A: IQP participants must first pass an oral proficiency interview administered by Language Testing International. The purpose of this test is to assess a participant’s degree of fluency in both English and Spanish. It is not a translation exam. It tests a range of skills in both languages. Equally high fluency levels in both languages are essential to be able to interpret well.

Q: Will the staff we sponsor need additional training?

A: As with any professional skill, individuals need to continue to grow in their knowledge base and skill level. We encourage all IQP participants to take responsibility for their own professional development and to continue to learn both on their own and through formal training when available.

Q: Who is responsible for these individuals’ work beyond training and testing?
A: The Center does not employee these individuals and our responsibility ends with the IQP training and testing.

Q: How much would it cost our agency to participate in IQP?
A: Costs are negotiated with each agency and are based on that agency’s specific needs. Please contact Cheryl Worrell for additional information.

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