Interpreters say role is 'pivotal' as country copes with immigration backlog

The El Paso Interpreters and Translators Association held an education seminar today to make sure more people are on their way to certification.

A certified interpreter tells us their job is pivotal right here on the border.

“Trying to sharpen our technique and refamiliarize us with the basics of the interpreter profession,” Mark McCaffrey said.

McCaffrey has worked as an interpreter for about two decades.

“I’ve got every degree in the certification that I need now, but it doesn’t mean the seminar is not useful,” McCaffrey said.

He’s even worked as an interpreter in federal courtrooms for immigration cases.

“We are pivotal to all of that. There is a call in general right now for interpreters at the border. It couldn’t be more crucial, in a way,” McCaffrey said.

With a caravan of thousands of undocumented immigrants headed to the U.S.- Mexico border, the need for interpreters could potentially rise.

That’s where EPITA comes in, helping future interpreters work toward certification.

“We offer, as I mentioned, continued education seminars like today’s, and we’re also aiming to offer future workshops of interest for the professional development of interpreters,” Valeria Delmar said.

Delmar is president of EPITA.

McCaffrey said his job is to stand between two parties that fail to understand each other.

“The assumption is that we stay neutral or objective. It’s very important. You’re standing between those two parties. Your job is not an easy one,” McCaffrey said.

Despite the difficulties of the job, McCaffrey encourages others to join the profession.

“If you have a love of language and you’re fortunate to speak both of them, then get yourself prepared,” McCaffrey said.

If you’d like to learn more about EPITA, you can visit their website.

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