On top of all the difficulties faced by individuals applying for asylum, linguistic barriers only complicate matters. Moreover, a professional immigration interpreter is not always available to provide legal immigration and community interpreting services.
Immigration Interpreter – A Lengthy, Costly Procedure
Applying for asylum is not an easy process. It is often lengthy and costly as it requires engaging in bureaucratic administrative procedures, legal documentation, and various other community services.
Recent changes in legislation are discouraging asylum seekers from applying to parts of the world where safety and persecution are less of an issue. If seekers do apply and are denied asylum, they will be deported back to their native countries where they are at high risk of retribution from the forces which caused them to flee in the first place.
The U.S. is also currently seeing the lowest border crossing rate in the past few decades when it comes to illegal immigrants from Latin America escaping poor conditions and persecution – though the reason is not entirely clear, these policies and the higher risks of deportation could be one of the factors that have dissuaded many who considered the option in the past (the others being improving conditions in countries like Mexico).
Of those asylum seekers that do come to the U.S., many speak very little or no English. This only further complicates the application process. In these cases, governments and affiliated organizations must be prepared to hire the services of professional interpreters to ensure that the applicants understand all of the steps involved throughout the entire process, and that they fully comprehend their rights as well as their obligations.
Where are Asylees From And Where Do They Settle in the U.S.?
The most recent data available regarding the demographics of asylum seekers for the U.S. is from 2015. It shows the top three countries of origin for asylum seekers as being China, El Salvador, and Guatemala, and the top 3 states receiving asylees as California, Texas, and New York.
Based on reports by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2016 California, Texas and New York were all present in the top 5 states with the highest employment of interpreters and translators (1st, 2nd, and 4th respectively).
This is a good sign for those looking for language services; however, the job of a professional immigration interpreter assisting in the various aspects of asylum cases can be immense. The same goes for medical and legal interpreters who are involved as well.
Interpretation and Cultural Mediation
Interpretation needs during the process of applying for asylum can range from legal interpreting to medical interpreting. This may include facilitating communication between immigrants and local educators, social workers, or housing officials or other community-based services.
Everything from interpreting during an immigration hearing to facilitating between an asylum seeker and a social worker demands special attention to the situation and keen awareness of cultural differences between the individual and the new society they are entering.
It is important to note that these individuals are not only displaced from their homes, but often they have been traumatized from the events leading up to their present situation. Cultural awareness and sensitivity are therefore crucial elements when communicating with recent arrivals in their adopted country.
An interpreter’s job is to effectively convey the speaker’s original message accurately to the intended recipient. However, immigration interpreters are often involved in more dramatic situations due to the circumstances. As a result, the individuals they are interpreting for often come to rely on their interpreter even more than on the actual person providing direct services such as the doctor, social worker or teacher, due to the common language and culture.
It is necessary that the immigration interpreter, medical interpreter, or interpreter aiding the asylee in general is therefore able to communicate while remaining emotionally objective – something that isn’t always possible if refugees and asylum seekers themselves are used as interpreters.
Of course this is only for the initial application for asylum – if an individual is granted asylum they will need to be integrated into U.S. culture. They will also need access to basic services provided by the state – many of which, like healthcare or therapeutic services, have begun seriously hiring professional interpreters to assist with LEP individuals, but have a long way to go to cover the needs of all individuals.
This is where training and certification come into play. While not all institutions will check if an interpreter has been certified (or even trained), and there are no national standards set for hiring interpreters, the demanding job requires a professional to be done right.
Without a professional immigration interpreter, asylum seekers and U.S. officials alike can run into problems with misinterpretation and subjectivity influencing the interpreter’s relay of information to name a few.
Finding Immigration Interpreter Services for Asylum Seekers
If you’re looking for certified interpreters to assist asylum seekers and refugee resettlement, contacting a Language Service Provider (LSP) is your best shot at getting professional interpreting services.
Professional LSPs rely on a wide net of highly skilled, and proven interpreters. This means they recruit from a base of linguists who have been through interpreter training, and generally have professional experience providing interpretation for the industry or situation in question.
At Language Connections, we have been offering professional interpreting services for over 20 years. We specialize in several areas, such as government, legal, and medical interpreting, as well as community interpretation for a variety of scenarios depending on the particular client’s needs.
About Language Connections:
Language Connections is one of the top language service companies in the US. Over the last 30 years, we’ve focused on providing the best business translation services, interpreting services, as well as interpreter training and customized language training programs. In addition to top-tier corporate language training, we offer certified corporate interpreters and professional business translation services in 200+ languages. Our network includes linguists with backgrounds in all major industries. They’re ready to meet your needs, whether they’re for technical translation services, legal translation, government translation services, international development translation services, education translation services, life sciences translation, or something else. Reach out to us today for a free quote on our cost-efficient and timely translation services, interpreters, or other linguistic services.
Language Connections Inc.
2001 Beacon Street, Suite 105,
Boston, MA 02135