As you begin to grow your team of community interpreters, it will be useful to develop a set of tools to manage the various human resources aspect of utilizing these interpreters:
Each time an interpreter comes in for a session, the legal advocate with whom he or she is working should make sure to fill out an activity log or form. This will ensure that the organization reimburses the interpreter appropriately and keeps track of which interpreters interpreting which client interviews and when. An example of such a form is available below for download.
Tracking time and stipends
In order to ensure that multiple legal advocates do not rely on the services of a particular interpreter at the same time, establishing a protocol is recommended. For example, you may share a scheduling document with the entire office or create a shared calendar. See below for a sample scheduling tool.
Evaluations and providing feedback
Providing consistent feedback will help identify areas for improvement, assist in the skills-building process, and also serve as a type of compensation for the interpreters in the Community Interpreter Model.
After each session, the legal advocate should provide informal feedback, identifying what the interpreter did very well and also what they might work on for next time. If there was something that was particularly concerning- a facial expression that communicated judgement of what the client was saying, for example, or side conversations- this should also be addressed.
In addition to regular informal feedback, it is recommended that the legal advocates working with an interpreter provide periodic formal evaluations as well. This will help with internal recommendations- when a legal advocate needs to find an interpreter for a particular case- and also in the event that an interpreter asks for a letter of recommendation for another interpretation job elsewhere.
The evaluation forms also allow for the interpreter to see where they are improving, and where progress is not being made.
Below is a sample evaluation form, which might be filled out after every four sessions, or in some other regular periodic fashion deemed appropriate by your organization.