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Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment: 

By Lynda Park
(Your Interpreting Maven)

In a message dated 1/6/2007 3:56:19 PM Pacific Standard Time, arichards45@ writes:

Dear Lynda,
By July, 2007, as an interpreter working in Illinois I have to be certified via EIPA. I am quite nervous about this test since i hear it is rough.
Do you have any friends that have gone through this screening? I wonder if this time next year I will have a job.
I have been interpreting in education for 5 years now and enjoy it so much.
Thanks for your time.
Mark Kramer

Hi Mark,
The EIPA (Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment) offers a performance test and a written test. Your email is probably referring to the performance test. My personal method of easing any nervousness is to get as much information as possible in order to be well informed. The EIPA provides very thorough information relating to their testing at: . You will find plenty there to help you understand the testing process.
The interpreter's skill will be rated according to the following:
Grammatical skills: Use of prosody (or intonation), grammar, and space.
Sign-to-voice interpreting skills: Ability to understand and convey child/teen sign language
Vocabulary: Ability to use a wide range of vocabulary, accurate use of fingerspelling and numbers
Overall abilities: Ability to represent a sense of the entire message, use appropriate discourse structures, and represent who is speaking
Your concern seems to be whether or not it is a difficult test. My answer to that is, "it depends". (Gee, I must be an interpreter!) Do you test well? Are your skills at a level where you're able to accurately convey information between ASL/PSE/MCE and English? Do you believe educational interpreting involves more than simply standing in front of a classroom relaying information?

The EIPA test is the diagnostic tool used by the county I work in to evaluate interpreter performance. I have spoken with many interpreters regarding the test. Generally it seems interpreters praise it, with only a few complaints coming from interpreters who felt they should have received higher scores.

I believe the feedback from the EIPA test is a valuable tool for interpreter development and will help an individual wanting to increase his/her professional skills. I'm very glad I took the performance test, and I'm pleased to have professional feedback relating to my field of work.

Becoming comfortable in front of a video camera will help you on testing day. And getting plenty of practice voicing for video signers who appear one dimensional on a television screen will also help. It's a little different than voicing for live signers in 3-D.

You say you enjoy educational interpreting and have been at it for 5 years. Sounds like you're ready to give it a try.

I hope you do well!
~Lynda Park


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