Becoming a TIP Volunteer

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.


Are you a bilingual or multilingual Cornell student?

Do you want to use your language skills to serve community agencies in emergency and non-emergency situations?

If so, then attend a Volunteer Training Session to start your process on becoming a volunteer translator and/or interpreter for TIP!

During the Volunteer Training Session, we will provide you with training on how our program works and how to become a volunteer.

After you complete our Volunteer Training Session 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.

Once we receive your exam results and required paperwork, we will enter your contact information and availability onto our password-protected online volunteer database so that community agencies can contact you when they are in need of translation/interpretation services.


Hospitals and Clinics
Fire Departments
Police Departments and Sheriffs Offices
Government Departments
Local Courts
Local Schools
Non-profit organizations
Cornell Offices and Departments
And more



Translation of written communication


Interpretation of oral communication

Simple Title

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    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. Currently, we do not hold G-body meetings. However, we do plan social and supplemental training events every semester and the date(s) will be announced and posted on our website once they are determined.

    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.

      Disclaimer: TIP does not certify volunteers as American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters. Since the program was founded in 2000, TIP has always referred any emergency and non-emergency requests for ASL interpreters to professional American Sign Language interpretation agencies as per the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

      Download our TIP Banner for a Zoom background

      Feel free to use our TIP Banner as a professional background when providing interpretation over Zoom or just going to class.

      This organization is a registered student organization of Cornell University.