Translator-Interpreter Program (TIP)

The Translator-Interpreter Program (TIP) is a student-run program of the David M. Einhorn Center for Community Engagement that trains bilingual and multilingual Cornell students to serve as volunteer translators/interpreters for community agencies in emergency and non-emergency situations.

We are the oldest and largest faculty-certified, student-run translation and interpretation program in the United States.


1. Become a TIP Volunteer Translator or Interpreter

If you are a bilingual or multilingual student wanting to utilize your language skills to serve community agencies in emergency and non-emergency situations, attend a Volunteer Training Session to start your process on becoming a volunteer translator and/or interpreter for TIP!

After you complete training and sign our volunteer contract, you will then be allowed to take a certification exam with a TIP-associated language professor at Cornell to certify your proficiency.

Check below for the latest updates to the modality and location of upcoming Volunteer Training Sessions:

Frequently Asked Questions from Potential Volunteers

What is the time commitment as a volunteer?

After attending a 90-minute Volunteer Training Session and taking a 15-40 min certification exam(s), volunteers accept emergency and non-emergency translation/interpretation requests from community agencies based on their stated availability and the agency's language needs. Though emergencies may arise at any time, volunteers are expected to spend no more than 4 consecutive hours interpreting or 2 pages translating for a non-emergency situation. Some translation/interpretations for non-emergency situations may be longer on a case by case basis.

How often will I get translation/interpretation requests from community agencies?

You will receive requests based on agency-specific language needs and your availability at the time the service is needed. The nature and number of requests you receive in any given semester may vary.

When does the club meet? Are there G-body meetings/socials?

The Translator Interpreter Program is not a club but rather a student-run service learning program of the Cornell Public Service Center. You may attend a Volunteer Training Session to become certified as a volunteer. Additionally, we hold monthly G-body meetings surrounding service-learning topics for our volunteers. Check our instagram or our CampusGroups page for further information.

What proficiency do you require of volunteers?

Your proficiency will be determined by the TIP-associated language professor who will conduct your certification exam(s). The faculty member will certify whether or not you are able to adequately communicate the needs of those you assist to the service provider in both emergency and non-emergency situations.

If I can only read/write/speak in the language, can I still become a volunteer?

Yes, you can become certified in only translation (written language) or only interpretation (spoken language) if you prefer. You can also become certified in both, depending on what you feel comfortable with.

What do you mean by "certification"?

When you are certified as a volunteer translator/interpreter, you are certified to provide translation/interpretation services only through TIP and the Cornell University Public Service Center. We are a student-run program of the Cornell University Public Center and we do not certify students as professional translators/interpreters.

2. Become a TIP Language Faculty Member or Agency/Department

Are you a Cornell faculty member or community member? Learn more about how you can contribute to our mission of building mutual understanding and community trust.

3. Join the TIP Executive Board

Not able to speak another language fluently or want to be more involved than just a volunteer? Apply to join our Executive Board!

We do not accept applications written with AI assistance.

Stay tuned for the opening of our Fall 2024 Executive Board applications. All updates can be found by following us on Instagram, @cornelltip, or joining our email listserv.


Taste of Culture 2022

Fatema Sumar '01
Founder of Translator Interpreter Program

This organization is a registered student organization of Cornell University.