Healthcare interpreters possess subject matter expertise about their profession and issues affecting healthcare interpreting industry. According to the Association of Language Companies, the largest sector of interpreting services delivered by language companies in the U.S. is health care. We are an important and powerful profession on many levels. It is vital that interpreters recognize that they need to engage with legislators at various levels whenever matters affecting the profession are under consideration. Legislators consult with experts in every other industry on professional issues. Other professionals (doctors, nurses, lawyers, insurance agents, bankers, etc.) are present when laws and regulations that affect their work are being discussed. This is how practitioners advocate for their profession. Interpreters need to offer their expertise with the same authority. If interpreters are not present, others will provide uninformed or their interest-driven opinions, and the profession will suffer the consequences.
Tracking local legislation is similar to tracking state legislation. Locate the website for your local government and then look for “legislation,” “county council,” or something similar. Most local governments post the ordinances they have voted on in the past, as well as an agenda for upcoming votes.