History of community interpreting in Cass & Clay Counties
Prior to 1997, bilingual individuals (i.e. siblings, relatives, friends ), who interpreted for refugees and individuals with Limited
English Proficiency, were untrained and paid minimum wage. Consequently, Cultural Diversity Resources (CDR) started
‘Community Interpreter Services’ in early 1997 .With a grant from Dakota Medical Foundation, CDR contracted with a professional trainer to conduct a ‘train-a-trainer’ interpreters program. Ten bilingual individuals took the 40-hours interpreters training workshop which resulted in the licensure and certification of bilingual interpreters as professional interpreters who passed the training tests. These trainers in turn conducted
the 40 hours of interpreters training for several years which resulted in more certified community interpreters.
Between 1997 to 2003, Merit Care (now Sanford) and Dakota (Essentia) Health Care systems contracted with CDR to provide
medial interpreting in addition to the community interpreting for schools, governmental institutions and community agencies .
In 2003, CDR interpreter coordinator, Tanya Thweatt, trained some staff from Family HealthCare Center to take on medical
interpreting since the Center had a contract to provide health care services for refugees with Limited English Proficiency.
In 2004, Metro Interpreters Resource Center (MIRC) was established as a region-wide collaboration between public sector
agencies. MIRC partners include the City of Fargo, Cass County Departments and Public School Districts in Fargo, West Fargo
and Moorhead. MIRC was developed to provide coordinated training and administrative support for the decentralized network
of interpreters operating in the Fargo, West Fargo, and Moorhead metro area.