What Can Happen When Children Are Used As Interpreters

Gia’s family left Vietnam with the intention of going to Hong Kong but became lost at sea. After seven days, they were rescued by the Malaysian navy. Because they knew very little English, Gia’s parents used their children as interpreters in order to communicate with government officials. Gia recounts her time as a little girl working as an interpreter as one of the scariest experiences of her life.

Check out the video below of Gia Nghi Phung describing her experiences as a child interpreter.


How do you feel about children being used as interpreters?

Online vs. Classroom Training: Which is right for you?

Thanks to the expansion of the Internet, interpreters today have access to more educational opportunities than ever before. Here are some things interpreters should consider when deciding between online and classroom training programs:


According to the National Center for Education Statistics, undergraduate tuition for public colleges has risen about 55 percent since 2001, bringing the average cost of college to $16,789 at a 4-year institution. Even if your onsite school isn’t a college, online courses are still significantly less expensive. This difference is especially visible when you factor in the potential savings associated with housing, transportation, books, and lost wages. In addition, because online training allows you to work while you’re taking classes, you’ll be less likely to take student loans and incur debt.


For students who work or who have obligations at home, leaving their job or family to attend class isn’t always an option. While traditional education is developed around a set agenda, online education allows students to cater their courses and homework around their family and work schedule. Thus, taking an online course will allow you to better yourself without having to sacrifice your priorities at home or taking days off from work.


To attend a brick-and-mortar school, one has to relocate or commute to campus, carry books from classroom to classroom, reduce their hours at work, or even put their careers on hold. In contrast, online education allows you to access your course and materials in a more convenient setting. With just a computer and Internet connection, you can attend your online course on your own schedule and from the convenience of your home or office.

So, online or classroom training? Which do you prefer? We’d love to hear about your experiences with each!


You say “soccer”, I say “football”. Let’s call the whole World Cup off.

It’s played by a quarter of a billion people in over 200 countries, making it the world’s most popular sport. A relatively simple game, it serves as a source of both national pride and agony for many nations.

So, what are we talking about? Well, it depends whom you ask!

Commonly referred to as soccer or football , this global phenomenon has an interesting history that goes beyond the field, or pitch, and into the linguistic arena.

While many may consider soccer to be an American word, it actually has roots in England, which is where the modern rules of soccer were established in the 1860’s. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, soccer came about in the late 1880’s as a shortened form of Assoc., which is an abbreviation of association from Football Association. Over time, the “A” in Assoccer was dropped and we were left with soccer.

But, why does soccer have the suffix -er? This ending,  known as the Oxford -er , was a colloquial suffix that was popular at Oxford University in the 1870’s, which is where soccer is believed to have been first used. This also explains why soccer was primarily used by the English upper classes.

In modern times, Americans, however, aren’t the only ones to use soccer. The Japanese refer to it as サッカー (sakkā), in Afrikaans it’s sokker, and it’s sacar in Irish.

Football, on the other hand, has a less complex history. Football was used as early as the 1400’s and has led to derivations in other languages such as fútbol (Spanish), futebol (Portuguese) Fußball (German), and футбол (Russian).

Italians use neither soccer nor football and refer to the sport as calcio (calcho). Other languages have calques of football and their speakers use equivalent terms that combine their words for foot and ball. For example, in Greek it’s ποδόσφαιρο (podósfero), in Arabic it’s كرة القدم (Korat Alqadam), and in Polish, piłka nożna is used.


What’s the word for soccer or football in your language? Share it with us in the comments below!


2014 Testing Dates For The California Court Bilingual Interpreter Exam

Formerly known as the  “Oral Exam” or “Oral Interpreting Exam”, the California Court Bilingual Interpreter Exam is offered twice a year. This year, it is available September 23-25.

This test measures language knowledge and fluency in both languages and the ability to successfully render meaning from target to source language in each of the three modes of interpreting that are required of court interpreters — SI, CI, and ST.

Interpreters who pass this test will demonstrate that they are considered minimally competent to interpret in California’s court system.

More information on the test can be found here.

While the exam may be three months away, it’s never too soon to start preparing for it. IEO’s Advanced 8-Unit Course for Legal Interpreters can help you do just that. The Advanced course contains glossaries to help you become familiar with commonly used legal terms and expressions, along with their translations in the target language. In addition, the course contains exercises in the simultaneous, consecutive, and sight translation modes. IEO’s exercises are based on actual transcripts or other court documents in order to simulate actual court interpreting.

Have questions or would like to schedule a tour of the course? Please don’t hesitate to contact us!

World Cup 2014

world cup brasil The World Cup kicks off in Brazil in six days! And with 32 nations represented, interpreters are sure to abound! In an effort to make the event more accommodating to all of the visitors from other nations, FIFA has even put together a large team of volunteers, many of whom specialize in language service. Here’s hoping that everyone is understood, no matter which team they support.

Let us know who you are rooting for! Also, here‘s an article that lists some Brazilian “Futbolese” that you may overhear.

Judgement Overturned for LEP Defendant Who Was Provided With Inadequate Language Services

The Indiana Supreme Court has vacated a judgement against an LEP individual because the rights he waived were inaccurately interpreted.

Victor Ponce, a non-native English speaker who pleaded guilty under terms of an agreement, appealed the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Ponce contended that the Spanish translation of the rights he was waiving by entering the plea was so inaccurate his plea of guilty was not entered knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily.

The Indiana Supreme Court agreed and reversed the judgment of the post-conviction court.

In Victor Ponce v. State of Indiana, an 11-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Rucker wrote:

Had the trial court uttered the words relayed to Ponce by the interpreter, we doubt that a court of review would hesitate to declare that Ponce had not been given his Boykin advisements. Thus, we are of the view that an advisement from the mouth of the court-appointed interpreter instead of that of the trial judge to be a distinction without a difference. In sum, we conclude that Ponce has demonstrated that his 1999 guilty plea hearing was not conducted in accordance with the mandates of Boykin.


Do you think this case will lead to more certified interpreters, not only in Indiana, but across the U.S.?

Interpreter Throwback Thursday

We were looking for some star power in our interpreter-style Throwback Thursday this week and stumbled upon Audrey Hepburn playing an interpreter alongside Cary Grant in Hitchcock’s 1963 film Charade.

 hepburn interpreter 2







Know of any other examples of interpreters in movies (besides the obvious ones, e.g. Nicole Kidman in The Interpreter)?

CHI Performance Exam Test Dates

The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) offers its CHI performance exam during select time “windows” throughout the year. The next window will be from July 21st to August 9th. After August 9th, the exam won’t be available until October 20th through November 8th, which makes now a great time to enroll in IEO’s 12-Week CCHI Preparatory Course. The course not only familiarizes you with healthcare interpreter ethics and the relevant medical terminology, it also allows you to practice interpreting in all three modes and meets the required 40 hours of training for the exam.

Students have access to the course for 12 weeks, however this does not mean that it cannot be completed in time for the exam. Completion time depends entirely on how many hours per week that you spend studying. You can find out more about the course by clicking here.

You can also see in what cities the exam is available by clicking here.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would like to schedule a Skype tour of the course!

June is Vietnamese Language Month!

With roughly 1.4 million speakers, did you know that Vietnamese is the sixth most spoken language in the U.S.? The largest Vietnamese populations are located in California, Washington, Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. As such, Vietnamese interpreters are commonly needed in legal and medical settings. Vietnamese is also one of the languages available for certification by NBCMI.

To commemorate this language, IEO is happy to announce that June is Vietnamese Language Month! Receive 10% off any Vietnamese course, test, or Skype lesson!

2014 NCIHC Annual Membership Meeting

The NAJIT and ALC conferences went great, but IEO isn’t stopping there! Next week it’s onward to historic Charleston, South Carolina for the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC) 8th Annual Membership Meeting!

As it is put on by the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care, it’s an especially good opportunity to spread the word about IEO’s new membership program, IEO Plus, and its package specifically designed for hospitals. IEO’s own Jinny Bromberg will be in attendance, so feel free to say hello!

A weekend of productive networking, language access seminars, and interactive panel discussion awaits! For more information on the NCIHC Membership Meeting, click here.