Why Test For Language Proficiency?

There is a widespread misconception that simply because an individual speaks a different language, they can provide adequate interpreting and/or translation. Most often the parties involved lack the skills to judge the quality of the interpretation/translation.

Establishing a consistent set of interpreter Standards of Practice by which interpreting services may be measured is crucial for all organizations looking to provide services in multiple languages. These standards may also be used for a variety of purposes, including training, job descriptions, and performance evaluation.

iTi’s language assessments are designed to test an individual’s level of proficiency in any language. Many organizations employ bilingual people and want them to be able to use their language skills in their role.

While having a casual discussion in another language may be harmless, allowing an employee to act as an interpreter when they have never been formally trained can cause serious issues. Ensuring an individual is at an exceptional language proficiency level is vital to accurate communication.

Who Benefits From Language Assessments?

Any organization who works with diverse speaking communities and has bilingual staff who wants to perform their professional duties in a language besides English will benefit from requiring these assessments. How can you be sure that they have a similar professional proficiency in another language besides English? Consider this:
  • Did they ever receive formal education in that language?
  • How long have they been speaking the other language?
  • Have they ever used the other language in a professional environment such as the industry in which you operate?
  • Do they know the company- and industry-specific terminology in the other language? Just because they may know technical terminology in English doesn’t mean they are well versed in said vocabulary in another language!

Why Assess Employees’ Language Proficiency Levels?

Not knowing their proficiency, you can’t be sure how employees will be representing your organization. When communication is critical, like in the medical field, be sure to take precautions before allowing a bilingual staff member to interact in a language other than one in which he or she was professionally trained and educated. Furthermore, fields like healthcare now have mandates requiring providers who act as interpreters or provide care in a language other than English to have completed a 40-hour medical interpreter training.

Proficiency assessments are valuable far beyond the medical field. Social services, nonprofits, government agencies, and many other industries are all beginning to implement language proficiency assessments for their employees.

How Do I Set Up An Assessment?

Assessments can be done over the phone during the week. They typically last about 45 minutes and within days, you’ll have an accurate picture of the proficiency level of your employee so that you can make an educated decision on whether he or she should proceed with interpreter training or assisting patients/clients in a different language.

This evaluation is designed to assess verbal and compensation skills:

  • The individual’s verbal communication and comprehension skills are assessed by asking general questions that increase in complexity as the conversation progresses. The individual is graded based on proper grammar, syntax, and vocabulary to determine how fluent he or she is in a particular language.

Still unsure whether this type of assessment is a good fit for your organization? Our professional account managers are available around the clock every day to consult with you, free of charge. We design custom assessments and training for organizations of all types and sizes. Give us a call—we would love to learn more about you!

Contact Us

Translation and Interpreting in over 250 languages
Icon showing iTi services are available 24/7
Icon showing over 30 years of experience as a language service provider.
Icon showing iTi's ability to provide language services in less than 30 seconds
Language service provider with over 10,000 linguists