scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: Interpreter's Strip
MAJ) Mike Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle (blkeagle@USSCOUTS.ORG
Fri Mar 05 1993 - 14:58:17 CST
David Gross wrote and asked:
>A Scout in our troop believes that he may be able to qualify for the
>Spanish language interpreter's strip. Believe me, I am NOT qualified!
>I have found a leader in our area who is qualified, and he has agreed
>to test the Scout. I pulled the basic requirements off of one of Mike
>Walton's sites (thanks Mike!):
>However, the leader has asked me what (if any) is the minimum acceptable
>score on the translations. For example, if the Scout gets 190 out of
>200 words, is that acceptable? I know some BSA pubs say "familiar
>with", but that doesn't nail it down. Is the standard "reasonableness"?
Yep. There's no "score" other than the word count. I've seen it done in
several ways during something I attended as a guest called a "Scouting
Language Fair." Actually, it was a great idea: inviting teachers and
counsellors from area high schools for a free steak dinner in exchange for
their morning's services serving as merit badge counsellors and counsellors
for special badges like the Interpreter strip (this was done in
Jeffersonville, Indiana, and something like 20 languages were offered to be
"tested" including sign language...a good deal for Scouting there!)
One booth would have the Scout to repeat words correctly as spoken in that
language from a list. Another booth would engage the Scout in a ten-minute
conversation (to account for the lapses in the conversation and the thinking
by the Scout of the proper word and tense to use in response) and yet still
another booth actually counted the words.
Remember that the purpose of the Award is to provide the Scout with an
additional way to be of service to others by learning a foriegn language (or
one of two sign languages used in the USA) and demonstrating a basic ability
to understand, speak, write and read basic items. It's NOT to give him
"credit for Spainish I and II" although some of the Scouts there, either by
birth or by learning (self or school) can clearly speak above the basic level.
A good rule of thumb is the "Do your best" rule, in which if the Scout
doesn't do 200 words, but does do 150, clearly, he (or she's) not ready; but
if he or she does 190 or 184, then he or she has "done their best" and
should be approved.
There's no "form" for the Interpreter Strip officially; I have an old form
which was used by the Transatlantic Council that I can find, scan and post
somewhere. Also, although officially the recognition of the completion of
the Interpreter Strip does not go on the BSA's Advancement Report form, no
harm will be done and perhaps some benefit will be accomphished if it is
recorded on the Advancement Report form and forwarded to the Council office
with other advancements/advancement steps.
Two final comments:
One, wearing the Interpreter Strip denotes that you have a BASIC knowledge
of the language and can actually USE that knowledge to convey important
items to others.
Although I can interpret and understand Spainish, German, Croatian, and
Korean, as well as American Sign Language (the first two from formal
schooling; the next two from the military's "headstart" language training
and the final as a result of personal experiences and work demands), I will
ONLY wear the German and Spainish strips on any uniform, because those are
the two languages in which I'm strongest. If a Scout or Scouter earns an
Interpreter strip, and doesn't get a chance to use that language years from
now, perhaps consideration should be made to remove that strip until such
time as the person once again is strong enough in that language.
The other note is that the Interpreter strip(s) may be earned by Cub Scouts,
Boy Scouts/Varsity Scouts, Venturers (male and female), and all adults
(professional or volunteer). It should be awarded but does not have to be
Hope this all helps...glad to see that that page on the Unofficial Uniform
and Insignia site works for you, David!!
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
[Purchase Your Binder! for Scouting's Y2K's publications!]
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