Some say that interpreting is the second oldest profession. While conference interpreting is widely known to have been born during the Nuremberg trials, ad-hoc interpreting (including community, public service, and natural interpreting) dates back to the Ancient Egyptians.
With such a stretching history, the profession has evolved almost beyond recognition. Those interpreting at the Nuremberg Trials would probably think it far-fetched that interpreters today can interpret remotely from another country thanks in great part, to advances in technology.
With the founding of the United Nations, interpreting became used in a more established manner. Interpreting went through a “professionalization” of sorts – interpreting education programs were created and the profession became more formalized in every sense. And with that, came the establishment of interpreting certifications. In this post-certification era, we thought it was necessary to analyze the certifications available in the United States.
Certifications for linguists are, historically speaking, a relatively new phenomenon. The jobs of both interpreters and translators developed organically throughout time and certifications only appeared on the horizon within the last century. Yet, the topic of certifications throws up a seemingly age-old discussion about whether they should be a mandatory requirement for anyone offering translation and interpreting services — and for good reason. Because this is a more complex topic than one might think.
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