Wanted: Native Speakers of Ibo, Hausa and Yoruba

If you speak Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba…

If you were available for a two 4-day all expenses paid trip (plus $1000.00 incentive) to train as a Freelance Language Tester, The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) would love to have a word with you. Pronto! This is no Spam… I swear on my husband’s life!

Sometime last week, I received this email…

“Dear Benedicta,

I came across your name on Nigerians in America, and I wanted to get in touch. I am currently trying to locate individuals who speak one of various languages from Nigeria to do freelance testing work from their homes. I also saw that you are a stay-at-home mother, so this type of work might potentially be of interest. I am especially looking for native speakers of Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba. I need various individuals (5 for Hausa, 3 for Ibo and 5 for Yoruba), so if you know of anyone else who might be interested, please do let me know.”

Anyhow, my initial reaction was, hmmmmmmm better luck buddy with this new twist on 419 scam because I had no clue that there was any demand for native speakers of any African language by anyone in America; let alone the ACTFL. However, I was curious. And out of curiosity (after figuring out that the potential for kicking the bucket was absolutely zilch since I did not belong to the feline specie), I called her. I wanted some details. I wanted the full scoop.

Later, I emailed her a copy of my resume. Why? She’d asked for it. The ACTFL must have really been in a tight spot because the following day, I was sent a copy of their upcoming language tester trainee program. I was asked to pick a schedule that would work best for me. But, I was not about to commit to something that was somewhat up in the air with the basic logistics. So, I contacted them and asked for detailed clarification about this program. Here’s a Q&A of my communication with one of their consultants:

ME: Who schedules and pays for the flight to New York and hotel accommodations for both workshops?

ACTFL REP: Once you are confirmed in a given training session, you will receive a packet of information from ACTFL in addition to an e-mail with information and documents to sign and send back.

  • You can book your own travel and be reimbursed or you may use ACTFL’s corporate travel agent and have the expense billed directly to ACTFLs account.
  • ACTFL will make the lodging reservations and it will be billed to the ACTFL Master Account. (You will need to present a personal credit card upon hotel check in for incidentals.)
  • Except where a meal is provided by ACTFL, you will be reimbursed $13 for breakfast, $15 for lunch and $31 for dinner. You don’t need to submit receipts for meals since reimbursement is on a per diem meal basis.
  • You will be reimbursed for all travel expenses.

ME: Why are there two 4-day workshops?

ACTFL REP: Phase I: This workshop will be conducted in English. Tester trainees will learn about the ILR (international language review) rating scale and the OPI (oral proficiency interview) testing protocol and procedures. Demonstration interviews will be conducted in English.

Phase II: Tester trainees review rating criteria, learn interview strategies and protocols, and discuss questions and issues that have arisen since initial training. Practice interviews are conducted in the target languages during the workshop.

ME: How soon after the workshops can one expect to begin administering tests?

ACTFL REP: Trainers who successfully complete all phases of the ILR OPI Tester training will receive a certificate from ACTFL. If you are successfully qualified as an ACTFL/ILR OPI Tester, you will be available to conduct and second rate interviews immediately, as needed.

ME: I understand that there’ll be a training incentive of $1,000…is that per workshop?

ACTFL REP: The Honorarium is $500 per workshop, which is paid after you submit your invoice after each workshop. ($1000 total)

ME: Would there be paper work of sort i.e. freelancer contract, W-4, ACTFL point person contact information etc?

ACTFL REP: Yes, there is a contract (and various other documents). You will have to fill out prior to participation in the training.

ME: After certification, would there be prior warning for all future evaluation/testing assignments? And how long do they typically last?

ACTFL REP: Testers are asked each month to submit their availability to conduct proficiency interview tests in their qualified language. Interviews are scheduled during normal business hours (9am to 7pm). Testers are also expected to second-rate interviews conducted by other testers. An internet-based tester utility is used for accessing tests and reporting scores. An ACTFL OPI interview, which pays $40 per diem, generally lasts 15-30 minutes depending on the level of the person being tested.

If you’re interested in this opportunity, or want to learn more ACTFL testing, please swing by www.actfl.org and www.languagetesting.com for additional information.

As for me, I haven’t decided yet. As enticing as the chance to get away for a few days from hubby and the kids may sound, I am leaning toward saying thanks, but no thanks to ACTFL. Not only am I an “okuko uku” (big chicken) when it comes to flying, but the thought of leaving my girls home alone with their Dad, who’d probably feed them nothing but (Papa John’s Pizza, McDonald’s Happy Meals, Captain Crunch Cereal, Breyer’s Ice Cream) and a host of other junk… for four days, terrifies me!

Written by
Benedicta Onyero Droese
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