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Freelance interpreters needed in droves
If you are looking to make some money off your ability to speak more than one language you may be in luck. Multilingual Community Interpreter Services (MCIS) is looking to add a thousand or more on-call interpreters to its roster as it expands into the U.S.
The hourly pay for interpreters is not bad. Those working for small clinics generally make between $25 and $35 while the courts pay in the range of $60 to $80, says MCIS recruitment coordinator Diane Nikoletos, who spoke recently at an information session held at Skills for Change. Pay is also higher for those who do simultaneous interpreting, which requires a lot of skill, says Nikoletos.
Although some interpreters registered with MCIS only work part-time, others can make a career of it: Nikoletos mentions a Cantonese-speaking interpreter, registered with six other agencies besides MCIS, who typically works 52 hours per week. The most in-demand language in the GTA is Tamil, says Nikoletos. She adds that the need for interpreters who know ASL (American Sign Language), Aboriginal languages and African ones is high as well and there’s an increasing need for interpreters who speak the Macedonian, Greek or Turkish languages. Nikoletos advises French speakers to go the translation route as French translators are really in demand.
In addition to simultaneous interpreting, other types of face-to-face interpretation include consecutive interpreting and sight translation. Although 80 per cent of interpreting gigs are face-to-face, some jobs are done via telephone or video, and it’s expected that more opportunities for these venues will open up as a result of the U.S. expansion.
To work for MCIS, you need to be trained (experienced interpreters may be waived from the training) and have CILISAT or ILSAT language certification. The 100-hour long training provided by MCIS includes modules on the fundamentals of interpreting as well as legal and medical interpreting.
The next training sessions take place on week nights, from Sept. 4 to Oct. 26 and on weekends, from Sept. 15 to Nov. 4. The training costs $990 and the language test fee is $195. Note that Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program and Employment Insurance recipients may be able to get funding for all or most of the training costs. Before investing in the training course, Nikoletos recommends that you first enrol in the free basic training offered on the e-learning section of the MCIS site to get a sense of whether interpreting would be a good fit. It’s also a good idea to attend an information session.
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