Argentina leads the way for interpreting standards in South America

 | Interpreter insights

Argentina has played an increasingly important role in influencing interpreting standards over recent years — both at the international and national levels. It is slated to have an umbrella standard for interpreting by year’s end.

International and national standards are closely linked

Industry associations like AIIC have spent the last few years developing international standards related to translating and interpreting, both to ensure quality and to align interpreting services with other regulated services at an international level. This very important, hard work is done by experts from country members as well as industries, NGOs, and other stakeholders gathered in ISO TC37/SC5/WG2 “Interpreting”. Argentina has had a particularly active role in these efforts since it holds the Convenorship of WG2, and is thus responsible for the management and the activities of this group.

Argentina is also an active participant in the development of international interpreting standards through its national committee at IRAM (Instituto Argentino de Normalización y Certificación), the national standardization body, which is a leader in the development of local interpreting standards in South America. The Argentine Association of Conference Interpreters (ADICA), among others, participates in the mirror committee.

Argentina, a trailblazer in standardization in South America

Towards the end of 2015, Argentina adopted ISO 13611 on Community Interpreting, the first international standard of its kind. This standard clearly establishes the difference between community interpreting - a form of interpreting offered to individuals with limited proficiency in the local language in such settings as hospitals, community centers, schools, etc.- and other specializations, such as conference interpreting, which require very different skill sets. The publication of this standard has been of special importance. Not only has the standard created awareness among requesters and users of our services but, since its adoption, all government agencies have been obliged to base their calls for tender on its provisions.

Developing an umbrella standard on interpreting

IRAM has also started to develop an umbrella standard on interpreting, from which specialization standards will be derived.  It includes clauses on working conditions, interpreting modes and qualifications of interpreters. The group of experts is made up of representatives from the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC), translation schools, the Argentine Conference Interpreters’ Association (ADICA), and the Colegio de Traductores Públicos de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (CTPCBA).

This year is a critical year for the working group, since the standard is slated to be completed. With any luck by this time next year, a new local umbrella standard will be in force.

The success of these standardization efforts in Argentina and elsewhere in the world is the fruit of close collaboration and consensus-building among many. The ultimate aim of the standard is to provide customers with a guarantee of service quality, improve the working conditions for interpreters and raise awareness of the profession. These efforts have received the full support of AIIC and ADICA.

Verónica Pérez Guarnieri, Calliope member for South America, except Brazil,  and Convener of WG2, with other AIIC/ADICA members and an IRAM official at the Interpreter’s Day in Argentina.

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