Guest blog post: What is CLAS? by Claudia Brauer 1

I’m happy to announce a second guest blog post from Claudia Brauer, this time regarding Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS).   You can see Claudia’s previous guest post here.
—————————————————————————————————————–

What is CLAS? by Claudia Brauer

CLAS is the acronym for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services. The term was originally born from the Office of Minority Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In the United States, CLAS Standards for healthcare fall within varying levels of stringency, including federal mandates, general guidelines, and recommendations in three frameworks: Culturally Competent Care, Language Access Services, and Organizational Supports for Cultural Competency.

Although initially CLAS referred to the healthcare industry in America, the concept has acquired a much wider application and has been adopted, adapted and localized by other countries and by many government agencies throughout the world. Additionally, similar standards have been adopted by others in the public and private sectors, including the legal environment, the educational establishment, financial services and the business world in general.

Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services, CLAS, encompasses a group of policies, behaviors and attitudes that allow professionals, companies, and government agencies to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. CLAS also refers to services that are respectful of the beliefs and practices of diverse populations and are responsive to the cultural and linguistic needs of those individuals, requiring workforce and providers to acquire or enhance their ability to understand and respond effectively to multicultural clients and patients.

One of the most interesting definitions of Culture and Competence states that: “Culture refers to integrated patterns of human behavior that include the language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of racial, ethnic, religious, or social groups. Competence implies having the capacity to function effectively as an individual and an organization within the context of the cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs presented by consumers and their communities.”*

(*)[The Office of Minority Health, U.S. DHHS, “What Is Cultural Competency”. Definition “based on Cross, T., Bazron, B., Dennis K., & Isaacs, M., (1989). Towards A Culturally Competent System of Care Volume I. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Child Development Center, CASSP Technical Assistance Center” http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlID=11.]

—————————————————————————————————————–

In an association between ProZ.com and Claudia Brauer, starting August 16 a new Bundle of 5 sessions on CLAS concepts will be provided. These CLAS Online Workshops are intended for working and aspiring translators, interpreters, and linguists working in the Global Village of the 21st Century.

  • August 16: Cross-cultural communication
  • August 23: “CLAS” healthcare standards
  • August 30: “CLAS” – privacy and confidentiality
  • September 6: The Hispanic market
  • September 22: “The Tribal Mentality (in the Global Village of the 21st Century)

Interested individuals may register at: http://www.proz.com/translator-training/topic/Interpreting

Guest blog post: Interpreting in the Global Village of the 21st Century, by Claudia Brauer 6

Today’s guest blog post is from Claudia Brauer, who writes on the subject of interpreting. See more information about Claudia at the bottom of this post:
—————————————————————————————————————–

Interpreting in the Global Village of the 21st Century, by Claudia Brauer

Let’s start with the basics, because sometimes there is no clear understanding about the fundamental differences between translation and interpretation in today’s multilingual language industry.

Translation is the conversion of a text in a source language to its equivalent text in a target language. Translators must accurately translate the meaning of the concepts represented by written words, with fidelity, coherence, transparency and equivalence. Most translating efforts occur using a computer, they are received and submitted electronically, done with the help of computer-assisted translation tools (CAT) and are edited, proofread, corrected and formatted via computer.

Interpretation relates to the verbal rendering of a message from a source language into its approximate equivalent in a target language; for the interpreter to appropriately convey the message that the speaker is directing to the recipient, he/she must not only transform the spoken words and the immediate meaning of their thoughts or expressions, but must also take into account feelings and intention, as well as tone, register and speed of speech. Most interpreting takes place in real time and in person, be it face-to-face, or by phone or video.

A few months ago, InterpretAmerica Co-President Barry Slaughter Olsen addressed the members of the National Judiciary Interpreters and Translators Association, and stated, “Speech is perhaps the most human of all forms of human expression. And that is what makes human interpreters essential. In an increasingly interconnected and multilingual world, the demand for professional language expertise will only grow, in some cases exponentially…” (*1) This is wonderful news, supported by serious research.

First, let’s talk about speech. It is speculated that there are some 7000 languages in the world, yet only 2000 of them have a writing system and, of these, in many countries less than half the population has acquired functional literacy. Even in some industrialized countries about one in five adults reads at the 1st grade level (*2). Additionally, most humans speak way before they can read and write. It is a fact that all languages existed first as spoken before they ever had a written version, and most of us spend a great deal more of time talking than we do writing or reading (even in our instant messaging world).

Second, let’s talk about interconnection in the Global Village of the 21st Century. In accordance with the Internet World Stats, “the Internet has made distances shorter and the world smaller. However, the great divider that stands in the way of a truly global society is the fact that there are many different different languages spoken in our planet Earth.” (*3) Thus, in an interconnected world, the ability to verbally communicate in “my preferred language” (whatever that may be) has become a crucial component of our world. In terms of interpreting, in less than a decade we have gone from face-to-face simultaneous or consecutive interpreting, to over-the-phone, remote video-interpreting and web-based interpreting (simultaneous or consecutive). Technology is transforming our profession at the speed of light, literally, surprising us with many innovations. The term “video interpreter”, for example, is so new that many in the profession don’t even know of its existence, yet its technology is already commercially available and used in healthcare and court settings, and is sure to change the language services industry.

Third, let’s talk about the demand for professional interpreters. In addition to the business and financial world, and conferences and international events, interpreters are specially in high demand in the healthcare industry and in legal and military settings. Employment is projected to increase 22% across all industries (above average for other careers). As international commerce increases and the interaction of individuals from different parts of the world grows – exponentially – interpreters are every day more in demand. A recent market study identified interpretation as a “high-growth, high-pay profession”. Explaining the results of this study, Katharine Allen, co-founder of InterpretAmerica, stated: “Interpreting is a vastly undermarketed, underpublicized profession, especially within younger generations…Many bilingual staff pressed into interpreting at work may not even realize they are taking part in a professional activity that not only requires training, but which also offers a pathway to a dynamic career. An interpreter might be working one day for a high-profile court case, the next day for a business executive, and the next day in the emergency room of a hospital. The life of an interpreter is certainly never boring.” (*4)

Last, lets talk about training. Interpreting is recognized as a profession, but there is no unified certification process. There are different levels of certification for any given language, in any given industry and specific to each country. Basically there are three categories of interpreters: Certified Interpreters (in different fields like court or healthcare); Professionally Qualified Interpreters; and Language Skilled interpreters. The definition of certification varies widely, program components and structures differ significantly, and test forms used for certification are not consistent. However, any interpreter certification program involves some combination of training and testing, and attempt to provide the skills and abilities to perform professionally in the workforce, along with an evaluation of the knowledge acquired. This allows the interpreter to hold tangible proof that he/she can provide quality interpreting services and is able to interpret with an acceptable level of quality.

1) http://interpretamerica.blogspot.com/2011/05/interpreting-and-digital-revolution.html
2) http://www.centreforliteracy.qc.ca/health/finalsum/bd/backdoc.pdf
3) http://www.internetworldstats.com/emarketing.htm
4) http://www.miis.edu/careers/contact/erhodes/node/20803

—————————————————————————————————————–

Starting in mid August 2011, ProZ.com starts offering its newly developed interpreting training series, conceived and instructed by Claudia Brauer, a 30-year veteran of the interpreting and translation industry.

These Virtual and CLAS training workshops are intended for working and aspiring translators, interpreters, and linguists working in the Global Village of the 21st Century.

Each one of these 15 courses has been designed to be a 3-hour stand-alone session but may also be part of a 5-session bundle of progressive acquisition of practical knowledge. These bundles are brief and intensive, with novel information, emphasizing problem-solving, and packed with ready-to-use tips and resources.

Interested individuals may register at:
http://www.proz.com/translator-training/topic/Interpreting
for any of the following bundles, or any of their stand-alone sessions:

Supported by ProZ.com infrastructure as the world largest community of translators and interpreters, Claudia aims to foster the development of culturally competent interpreters, translators, linguists, and bilingual individuals in the workforce, and to provide training that improves Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in the healthcare, legal, financial, educational, and business sectors.

Attendees who take the bundles are eligible to receive one or several of the Skills-Building Certificates that will be issued by ProZ.com:

– BASIC CLAS KNOWLEDGE in the Global Village of the 21st Century
– BASIC INTERPRETING KNOWLEDGE in the Global Village of the 21st Century
– INTERPRETING TERMINOLOGY KNOWLEDGE in the Global Village of the 21st Century

Additionally, starting in 2012, ProZ.com and Claudia will be launching a series of in-depth interpreting virtual studio classes, designed for working AND aspiring translators, interpreters, and linguists, as well as fully bilingual personnel working in the healthcare, legal, educational, legal, financial or business industries.

The 2012 interpreting studio series will include Consecutive Interpreting, Phone & Video (OPI+RVI) Interpreting, and Healthcare Interpreting. The “ProZ.com Interpreter” certificates will assure future employers and contractors that the holder has undergone adequate high quality training to perform as an interpreter.

For additional information, visit http://www.proz.com/translator-training/topic/Interpreting.