FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Do I have to get a Permit/License?
If you provide any interpreting for remuneration, then you must have a license or permit regardless of your job title or main responsibilities. This applies to every situation/agency (i.e. legal, medical, educational, etc.). The only exemptions are interpreting religious services and volunteered interpreting. Volunteered interpreting while in your regular employment capacity is not considered volunteering – that is considered for remuneration.

How long can I keep a permit?
Permit holders, who comply with the requirements, documentation of passing an approved code of ethics test and approved performance test (see law for approved permit levels) and annual participation in approved Continuing Education Program (CEP) may reapply annually to maintain permit status.

What is the penalty for interpreting without a license/permit?
Up to a $1,000 fine and a Class “C” misdemeanor may be imposed per occurrence. The Alabama Licensure Board for Interpreters and Transliterators may suspend or revoke the license or permit of the person charged with violating the law.

Isn’t there a federal/state law in place that requires qualified interpreting services?
There are laws in place which require the provision of qualified interpreting services (ADA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Alabama Code 12-21-13-1).

Do other states have licensure?
Yes, at last count 22 states already have legislation and 12 more states are considering new legislation or modifying existing legislation.

What are the benefits of obtaining licensure/certification?
For hearing and deaf consumers throughout the state of Alabama, it allows a mechanism to ensure quality services are provided. This protects both the hiring agency and the deaf individual. For interpreters, one advantage is that certification presents a “true measure of professionalism”.

Isn’t there a shortage of interpreters today? Won’t licensure further limit the number of available interpreters?
The shortage is in qualified interpreters. Additionally, this licensure does allow non-certified interpreters to work before obtaining a license. If someone is financially benefiting from providing interpreter services, they must also be willing to accept responsibility for their work.

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