Building Capacity

By conducting regular evaluations with your interpreters in a similar way you do with staff and volunteers, you create a space where the interpreter can evaluate on his progress and set learning goals for themselves. This can be related to interpretation or to professional development goals.


Providing sufficient and regular training is one of the most valuable things you can give your interpreters. Designing and providing training to follow-up on the initial training that your community interpreters receive can accomplish many goals, two of which are the following: it can drastically improve their skills as interpreters, thereby improving the quality of your client representation, and it can also provide a form of compensation for the interpreters’ work.

Below you will find a list of topics for secondary training that will strengthen your community interpreter program and also empower the interpreters to contribute substantively to your organization- and possibly to others in the future, should they be resettled or move for another reason.

The workshop topics we have provided here were based on feedback from our community interpreters in Thailand. These were the topics they expressed the most interest in being trained on, and we also find that they are central to the quality of the interpreter program as well as to the well being of our interpreters. The workshops also address their expressed interest in hands-on practice, visual aids and examples, and the opportunity to continually build their vocabulary.

Professional development

As your interpreters gain experience, they can also benefit your organization in other ways. For example, they can be involved in the training of new interpreters, by assisting in the practical training, by conducting the induction for new interpreters through shadowing, and providing peer support. You may also choose to ask your more experienced interpreters to work with you on legally complex, or sensitive cases.

Furthermore, some interpreters may be interested in or have a background in legal matters, by investing in their training on these matters, they can greatly benefit your legal aid efforts in client work or community legal empowerment (CLE) work if they become community (legal) advocates. Similarly, an interpreter who is interested in social matters or medical issues may help you identify needs in the community by co-facilitating a participatory needs assessment or by becoming a social worker in your own or another NGO. By providing additional training on specialist topics, such as SGBV terminology, health issues, working with child clients, you can also build the skills of your interpreters further.