This section serves as a program disclaimer regarding students who work as interpreters while still in training. UNF's Interpreter Education Program (IEP) recognizes that many, if not all, students must have outside employment to afford the expense of attending school and managing their household expenses. However, we do not support or condone students working unsupervised as interpreters while they are still in school and before they obtain national certification. While some school districts, agencies, and private entities will hire students to work as interpreters without the mentorship of certified interpreters, the IEP strongly discourages this practice.
Two of the most common venues where pre-certified people are used include education and medical settings. The volatility of healthcare interpreting should cause students to be extremely cautious when accepting any employment in this setting, no matter how harmless an appointment may appear at the onset. Medical interpreting quickly transforms into legal interpreting, according to Sharon Caserta, SC:L Esq., of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (see Wessling & Shaw, 2014 about specialized interpreter preparation and Caserta's caveat to interpreters and referral agencies). Those who perform interpreting tasks without evidence of qualification are liable for the outcomes and may be called to justify their actions and verify qualifications in court.
Educational settings are critical for making long-term impact on the Deaf community. Oftentimes, classroom interpreters are the only language models for children during critical development stages in language, science, and mathematics. Unqualified signers who put themselves in the role of interpreters, regardless of the setting, share the responsibility for the outcomes, and the IEP, in an effort to protect you and the Deaf community from undesirable outcomes, requests that you decline offers to work as interpreters (without supervision) while you are in the program.