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IMIA Celebrates Its 25th Year Anniversary

Trainer Tools

So you want to become an interpreter trainer?

Medical interpreter trainers are in high demand and in short supply. It is not easy to find those that have interpreter and training skills combined. It is even harder to find language coaches in minority languages with the qualifications required to teach others. We hope the information on this page is helpful as you explore the possibility of entering the world of interpreter training. The information contained on this page is by no meands extensive and is just a glimpse designed to help one get started.

Teaching, like other skills is learned more easily by some more than by others. While in principle anyone can learn to become a trainer, it is not for everyone. First of all, you need to think about some of the skills a good trainer must possess.

Facilitation skills:
A trainer, in addition to being a teacher, is also a group facilitator. Given the diversity of skill levels and ability to train a class, the ability to work with a group is an important skill for a trainer to possess.

Public Speaking Skills:
Future trainers have to feel comfortable with public speaking. Not only the ability to speak in front of a group but a clear voice with projection and void of a heavy accent.

General Education:
A Bachelor Degree is usually required for teaching positions around the world. Those who do not have one should invest first in their general education.

Intepreter Training:
Being a teacher isn�t enough to teach interpreting, in the same way that being an interpreter isn�t enough to teach interpreting. The ideal interpreter trainer has training in medical interpreting . Would you want to be taught by someone who has the experience but is not aware of the theory, terminology and research about the profession? It is improbable to get the recognition or respect as an instructor if one does not have training in what one is teaching.

Interpreting Experience:
Being trained in interpreting is not enough to teach interpreting. This is a practice profession and without experience the instructor would not have realistic scenarios and examples to draw from. Most practice profesions are best taught by those who have lived the experiences and challenges of the profession. It is improbable to get the recognition or respect as an instructor if one does not have experience in what one is teaching.

Training in Education:
Just as being bilingual doesn't make one an interpreter, being an interpreter doesn't automatically qualify one to train others in interpreting. Most teachers go to college and get a Bachelors in Education. Some professionals get a Masters in Education as a means to get the training needed to become an educator. For those that do not want to invest years into training to train, there are several workshops, certificate programs, or train the trainer programs to get one started. However, if you are thinking seriously in becoming a professional educator or instructor and especially for faculty jobs in university settings, consider a Masters in Education as a worthwhile investment.

One important point to remember is that training, as interpreting, is an ongoing learning experience. That is the beauty of teaching, you are always in the position to learn.

Specializations within training and different types of trainers:

1. Instructional Designers
2. Curriculum Designers
3. Instructor
4. Facilitator / Trainer
5. Training Manager/Director
6. Instructor / Educator
7. eLearning  Specialist
8. Online Facilitator / Moderator
9. Language Coach

Where can I be trained to become a trainer?

American Society for Training & Development (ASTD)

ASTD (American Society for Training & Development) is the world�s largest association dedicated to workplace learning and performance professionals. ASTD�s members come from more than 100 countries and connect locally in 134 U.S. chapters, 26 Global Networks, and 12 Global Partners. Members work in thousands of organizations of all sizes, in government, as independent consultants, and suppliers. Their Training Certificate Program is a 3 day intensive bootcamp training for those who want to become adult trainers. The trainer�s training program builds critical training skills and provides the latest techniques for delivering
powerful training. More info at

Langevin Training Services

Langevin Learning Services has provided workshops for trainers since 1984. Offered as both public and in-house programs, we have 22 workshops that cover all facets of the training function. Gain the highest level of recognition for your credentials and the skills to have real impact in your organization by achieving Professional Trainer Certification. Program includes:

Level 1: Specialty Certification (8 days)
Select 8 days of training within the specialty that suits your needs.

Level 2: Master Trainer (16 days)
Continue adding to your skills as a trainer by completing 8 further days of training for a total of 16 days.

Level 3: Training and Development Diploma (24 days)
With a total of 24 days of training with us, your Diploma will be the foundation for a successful career in the training industry.

The Training Clinic

The Training Clinic is an international training company (based in southern California) specializing in train-the-trainer through workshops, certificate programs, conference presentations, custom design and presentation. Utilizing a staff of 18 Master Trainers they deliver involving, inter-active on-site programs on the design, delivery and management of training. Since 1977 they have been presenting train-the-trainer content in the U.S., Canada, Southeast Asia and Europe to over 150,000 learners.

Training for Excellence

Offers train the trainer program and many other training related workshops.

Academic Programs

Boise State University - Master of Science in Instructional & Performance Technology (on campus, online, or combination of two)

Boston University - Human Resources Education

Capella University - Human Resources and Training

Claremont - Behavioral and Organizational Sciences

College of Education - Master of Science in Applied Technology, Training and Development (also offers a Corporate Training Certificate)

Distance Education Clearinghouse - Distance education related certificate programs

The Fielding Institute - Human & Organization Development (PhD)

Friesen, Kaye and Associates - Various workshop programs for trainers (performance gap specialists)

Georgetown University - Training for the Learning Organization Certificate

George Washington University - Master of Arts in Educational Technology Leadership (via distance education)

Indiana College Network Adult education and learning courses (via distance education)

North Carolina State University - Training and Development Online

OnlineLearning.Net - Various online courses in Education

Rochester Institute of Technology - Human Resource Management (online)

San Diego State University - Instructional Technology Certificate

St. John Fisher College - Human Resource Development Degree

Susan Boyd - Learning workshops

TLC Seminars - Presentation Skills, Basic Instructor, and Advance Instructor training programs

University California, Santa Cruz Extension - Certificate in Training and Human Resource Development

Webster University - M.A. degree in Human Resource Development 

Note: This is not an extensive list. Please search for other programs on the internet.

What about programs specifically for those who want to train interpreters?

There are two categories of Train the Trainers

1) One is a program to train individuals to present a particular copyrighted training program curriculum which is to be presented exactly as instructed, with no change in the content or pacing of the materials given to students. It usually involves an organization sending one staff member, you, to an outside training class to learn about a curriculum, to be licensed to teach other people on staff. The trainer is not licensed, it is the organization that sent the trainer that is licensed. If the trainer leaves that organization, they are not authorized to teach that curriculum elsewhere.

Four organizations offer TOT programs that license organizations to utilize their curriculums to train trainers.

Cross Cultural Health Care Program (Bridging the Gap)


Cross Cultural Communications Systems

Cross-Cultural Communications, LLC

2) The second is a program that trains individuals to instruct interpreters and does not dictate which specific curriculum to use. On the other hand, the individuals who are trained have to come up with their own materials and exercises and the knowledge areas and specific skills that need to be taught. In this case the trainer earns a credential that does not belong to the organization for whom they work but belongs to the professional trainer and is transferrable wherever the trainer goes. The Monterey Institute for International Studies offers a program in collaboration with the University of Maryland that teaches interpreter pedagogy. For more information please go to

Monterey Institute of International Studies

Nova Southeastern University's Master of Arts in Teaching & Learning, 1 Year Masters 
For more information click HERE

If you are a trainer that would like to suggest a tool for trainers, please email it to

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