SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Management Services Administration)
Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 99-09-086.
Title of Rule: Chapter 388-03 WAC, Rules and regulations for the certification of DSHS spoken language interpreters and translators.
Purpose: The language interpretation services and translations (LIST) section of DSHS is proposing rules that incorporate LIST policies regarding examinations, fees and code of professional conduct. Also, the proposed rules bring DSHS into compliance with a federal court decision regarding certification and qualification criteria for interpreters and translators providing services to the department. Finally, by establishing clear LIST regulations, the proposed rules ensure equal access and due process requirements for the department's limited-English proficient clients. The proposed rules are written in a "plain English" style and meet the Executive Order 97-02 criteria for clarity.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 2.43.010, 74.04.025, and 74.08.090.
Statute Being Implemented: RCW 74.04.025, 74.08.090, 49.60.010, 2.43.010 through 2.43.080.
Summary: Rules on this subject are needed to comply with the stipulation, agreement of settlement and consent order handed down in Reyes v. Thompson, United States District Court for Western District of Washington, 1991. These proposed rules are also a result of DSHS's Executive Order 97-02 regulatory improvement effort to incorporate policies into rules when appropriate, to develop new rules and regulations where necessary and write all policies and rules in clear, concise, easily understood language. Finally, the proposed rules are a manifestation of DSHS's legal obligation to provide equal access to department services to all of its clients, customers and vendors, especially LEP clients.
Reasons Supporting Proposal: See Purpose and Summary above.
Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Hungling Fu, Ph.D., Manager, 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Lacey, WA 98504-5820, (360) 664-6035; Implementation and Enforcement: Bonnie Jacques, Chief, 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Lacey, WA 98504-5820, (360) 664-6011.
Name of Proponent: Department of Social and Health Services, governmental.
Rule is necessary because of federal court decision, Reyes v. Thompson, U.S. District Court for Western District of Washington, 1991.
Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: See Purpose and Summary above.
Proposal does not change existing rules.
No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. The proposed rules do not impose "more than minor" costs on the businesses regulated by them. In fact, the proposed rules impose no new costs at all.
RCW 34.05.328 applies to this rule adoption. The proposed rules are considered "significant legislative rules" because they adopt a new regulatory program. The department has determined that the "probable benefits of the rule are greater than its probable costs." For a copy of this analysis, contact Hungling Fu, Ph.D., Manager, Department of Social and Health Services, Language Interpreter Services and Translations (LIST), 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Lacey, WA, P.O. Box 45820, Olympia, WA 98504-5820, fax (360) 664-6179.
Hearing Location: Lacey Government Center (behind Tokyo Bento Restaurant), 1009 College Street S.E., Room 104-B, Lacey, WA 98503, on January 25, 2000, at 10:00 a.m.
Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Paige Wall by January 7, 1999, phone (360) 664-6094, TTY (360) 664-6178, e-mail email@example.com.
Submit Written Comments to: Identify WAC Numbers, Paige Wall, Rules Coordinator, Rules and Policies Assistance Unit, P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504-5850, fax (360) 664-6185, by January 25, 2000.
Date of Intended Adoption: February 22, 2000.
November 8, 1999
Marie Myerchin-Redifer, Manager
Rules and Policies Assistance Unit2556.5
RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR THE CERTIFICATION OF DSHS SPOKEN LANGUAGE INTERPRETERS AND TRANSLATORS
(1) Establish the qualifications for department certified and qualified interpreters and translators; and
(2) Establish the requirements and procedures for administering and evaluating the department's interpreter and translator examinations.
These rules apply to any person who:
(1) Seeks employment with the department as a bilingual employee;
(2) Wishes to provide services to the department as an interpreter or translator; or
(3) Provides department services to limited English proficient (LEP) clients.
The following definitions are important to this chapter:
"Authorized interpreter or translator" means a person who has been certified by a certification agency recognized by the department.
"Certified bilingual employee" means a department employee who is certified, as bilingual, by passing a department fluency examination or a department recognized professional association and is required to use their bilingual skills in their work.
"Certified interpreter for spoken languages" means a person who has passed any of the following fluency examinations:
(1) Department's social services interpreter or medical interpreter certification examination;
(2) State of Washington office of the administrator for the courts interpreter certification examination;
(3) Federal courts interpreter certification examination.
"Certified translator for spoken languages" means a person who has passed any of the following fluency examinations:
(1) Department's translator certification examination;
(2) American Translators Association (ATA) accreditation examination.
"Code of professional conduct for interpreters and translators" means department standards that must be met by all interpreters and translators when they provide language services to department programs and clients. Any violation of this code may disqualify an interpreter or translator from providing services to the department.
"Department" means the department of social and health services (DSHS).
"Examination manual" means the language interpreter services and translations section's professional language certification examination manual. To obtain a copy of this manual, telephone or write the LIST office at:
Department of Social and Health Services
Language Interpreter Services and Translations
P.O. Box 45820
Olympia, WA 98504-5820
Or visit the LIST website at: http://asd.dshs.wa.gov/html/oar_list.htm.
"Interpretation" means the oral or manual transfer of a message from one language to another language.
"Language interpreter services and translations" or"LIST" means the section within the department that is responsible for administering and enforcing these rules and providing the services contained in this rule.
"Limited English proficient (LEP) client" means a person applying for or receiving department services, either directly or indirectly, who, because of a non-English speaking cultural background, cannot readily speak or understand the English language.
"Qualified interpreter for spoken languages" means a person:
(1) Who has passed a department bilingual fluency screening test in a language other than a department certified language; or
(2) Is authorized by the department pursuant to WAC 388-03-114 to interpret a language based on certification obtained from another state or country which is comparable to the certification process used by the department for its certified languages.
"Source language" means the language from which an interpretation and/or translation is rendered.
"Target language" means the language into which an interpretation and/or translation is rendered.
"Translation" means the written transfer of a message from one language to another.
CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
The "code of conduct" is the professional standard established by the department for all interpreters/translators providing language services to department programs and clients. Any violation of this code may disqualify an interpreter or translator from providing those services. Specifically, the code addresses:
(1) Accuracy. Interpreters/translators must always express the source language message in a thorough and faithful manner. They must:
(a) Omit or add nothing;
(b) Give consideration to linguistic variations in both the source and target languages; and
(c) Conserve the tone and spirit of the source language.
(2) Cultural sensitivity-courtesy. Interpreters/translators must be culturally knowledgeable, sensitive, and respectful of the individual(s) they serve.
(3) Confidentiality. Interpreters/translators must not divulge any information obtained through their assignments, including, but not limited to, information from documents or other written materials.
(4) Disclosure. Interpreters/translators must not publicly discuss, report, or offer an opinion on current or past assignments, even when the information related to the assignment is not legally considered confidential.
(5) Proficiency. Interpreters/translators must pass the department's required bilingual fluency certification examinations or screening tests in order to meet the department's minimum proficiency standard.
(6) Compensation. Interpreters/translators must:
(a) Not accept additional money, consideration, or favors for services reimbursed by the department through language services providers;
(b) Not use the department's time, facilities, equipment or supplies for private gain or other advantage; and
(c) Not use or attempt to use their position to secure privileges or exemptions.
(7) Nondiscrimination. Interpreters/translators must:
(a) Always be neutral, impartial and unbiased;
(b) Not discriminate on the basis of gender, disability, race, color, national origin, age, creed, religion, marital status, or sexual orientation; and
(c) Refuse or withdraw from an assignment, without threat or retaliation, if they are unable to perform the required service in an ethical manner.
(8) Self-evaluation. Interpreters/translators must accurately and completely represent their certification, training, and experience.
(9) Impartiality-conflict of interest. Interpreters/translators must disclose to the department any real or perceived conflicts of interest that would affect their professional objectivity. Note: Providing interpreting or translating services to family members or friends may violate the family member or friend's right to confidentiality and/or may be a real or perceived conflict of interest.
(10) Professional Demeanor. Interpreters/translators must be punctual, prepared, and dressed appropriately.
(11) Scope of practice. Interpreters/translators must not:
(a) Counsel, refer, give advice, or express personal opinions to their interpreting/translating clients;
(b) Engage in activities with clients that are not directly related to providing interpreting and/or translating services;
(c) Have unsupervised contact with clients; and
(d) Have direct telephone contact with clients unless requested by DSHS staff.
(12) Reporting obstacles to practice. Interpreters/translators must always assess their ability to perform a specific interpreting/translating assignment. If they have any reservations about their ability to competently perform an assignment, they must immediately notify their clients and/or employer and offer to withdraw without threat or retaliation. They may remain on the assignment until more appropriate interpreters/translators can be retained.
(13) Ethical violations. Interpreters/translators must immediately withdraw from assignments that they perceive are a violation of this code. Any violation of this code may disqualify them from providing services to the department.
(14) Professional development. Interpreters/translators must continually develop their skills and knowledge through:
(a) Formal professional training;
(b) On-going continuing education; and
(c) Regular and frequent interaction with colleagues and specialists in related fields.
LIST RESPONSIBILITIES FOR CERTIFYING SPOKEN LANGUAGE INTERPRETERS AND TRANSLATORS
Language interpreter services and translations (LIST) is the section within DSHS responsible for:
(1) Establishing and publishing systems, methods, and procedures for certifying, screening and/or evaluating the interpretation and/or translation skills of bilingual employees, interpreters and translators who work with department clients, employees, and service providers;
(2) Ensuring that certified or qualified bilingual employees and language service contractors are aware of DSHS's code of professional conduct for interpreters and translators.
CERTIFICATION/QUALIFICATION OF INTERPRETERS AND TRANSLATORS
(1) To be department certified, any department staff member serving in a bilingual capacity or any contracted interpreter/translator providing bilingual services to department clients must pass a bilingual fluency test. No bilingual duties will be assigned to any staff and no contract will be granted to any contractor without proper certification. Once certified:
(a) Department employees in positions requiring bilingual skills are eligible for assignment pay;
(b) Applicants for bilingual positions with the department qualify for those positions if they have also passed the applicable department of personnel employment examination; and
(c) Individuals not employed by the department who wish to interpret and/or translate for department clients can be retained by contracted interpreting agencies.
(2) Interpreters can be certified or qualified as:
(a) Social services interpreters by the department; and/or
(b) Legal interpreters by the office of the administrator for the courts; and/or
(c) Medical interpreters by the department.
(3) Translators can be certified by the department or by the American Translators Association (ATA).
(4) When certified and/or qualified interpreters and translators provide services to department programs and clients they must comply with the department's code of professional conduct for interpreters and translators.
(5) Any violation of the code of professional conduct may disqualify an interpreter or translator from providing services to the department, regardless of whether their contract is directly with the department or indirectly through a language agency serving department clients.
(1) For certified languages, you are considered certified once you pass the required tests.
(2) The effective dates of your certifications are the dates shown on your score report letters.
(3) If necessary, you can use your score report letters to verify your certification status.
(4) Your certificates will be mailed to you within a month from the date you pass all examination requirements. It is your responsibility to:
(a) Inform the LIST section of any change of name and address;
(b) Check the accuracy of the information presented on your certificate; and
(c) Contact the LIST section if your certificate is not received within the normal time period.
(5) For screening languages, you are considered qualified once you pass both the written and oral tests. Instead of a certificate, an authorization letter will be issued to qualified interpreters who pass the required screening tests.
There are three ways that you may gain department recognition as an interpreter or translator without taking the department's certification examinations.
(1) If you hold either a state of Washington office of the administrator for the courts interpreter certificate or a federal court interpreter certificate, the department will recognize you as a certified social services interpreter without requiring you to take its examination. However, you must formally submit a written request for recognition and attach a photocopy of your official certificate.
(2) If the American Translators Association (ATA) accredits you as a certified translator, the department will recognize you as a certified translator without requiring you to take its examination. However, you must formally submit a written request for recognition and attach a photocopy of your official certificate.
(3) If you hold either an interpreter or translator certification from another state or U.S. territory or another country that is comparable to DSHS certification and based upon similar requirements, LIST may recognize your certification. In your request for DSHS recognition, you must submit a photocopy of your official certificate and a copy of the official test manual containing evaluation criteria and passing benchmark. Your request should be submitted to LIST. LIST will decide all requests on a case-by-case basis.
The department determines if your request is sufficiently documented. It may request further proof of your qualification. In all cases, the department's decision regarding the sufficiency of your documentation is final.
(1) All documents submitted to LIST in a foreign language must be accompanied by an accurate translation in English.
(2) Each translated document must bear the affidavit of the translator, sworn to before a notary public, certifying that the:
(a) Translator is competent in both the language of the document and the English language; and
(b) Translation is a true and complete translation of the foreign language original.
(3) Applicants must pay all costs related to translating any documents relevant to their request for department certification.
When LIST receives your written request for recognition and the required documentation of your qualification, it will:
(1) Process your request as expeditiously as possible; and
(2) Give you written notification of its decision; and
(3) File your request and enter your name, if your request is approved, into its electronic database of authorized interpreters and translators.
(1) To enable contracted language agencies and department programs to locate and contact certified and/or qualified interpreters and translators, the department maintains lists of certified interpreters, certified translators, and qualified interpreters.
(2) These lists are published and distributed to department contracted language agencies, local department offices, LEP cluster coordinators and regional LEP coordinators.
(3) Any interpreter or translator who considers some information on the list to be confidential, such as mailing addresses and telephone numbers, can have that information removed by writing the Language Interpreter Services and Translations section at: P.O. Box 45820, Olympia, WA 98504-5820.
(4) These lists are updated quarterly to include newly certified and qualified interpreters/translators.
EXAMINATIONS-ELIGIBILITY AND REGISTRATION
(1) You are eligible to take any DSHS interpreter/translator certification or screening examination if you are:
(a) Currently employed by DSHS in a bilingual position; or
(b) Applying for DSHS positions with bilingual requirements; or
(c) Currently working with DSHS programs through contracted language agencies; or
(d) Wishing to work with DSHS programs through contracted language agencies.
(2) There are no education and experience requirements for taking an examination. If you fit into one of the above listed categories, you are eligible to take an examination. However, you must remember that all written and oral tests administered by the department assess language proficiency at a professional interpreter/translator level.
(3) Screening tests will not be substituted for any certificated language tests.
(1) Certification examinations evaluate bilingual proficiency and interpreting/translation skills by comparing your proficiency and skill to minimum competency standards.
(2) Minimum competency standards are determined by the nature of the work involved and by experienced practicing court interpreters/translators, social services interpreters/translators, bilingual professionals, and language specialists.
(3) Five different types of tests are used to evaluate the bilingual proficiency and interpreting/translation skills of the following categories of people:
(a) Department employees and new recruits with bilingual assignments (employee test);
(b) Contracted interpreters providing oral interpretation services to department social service programs (social services interpreter test);
(c) Contracted translators providing written translation services to department social service programs (translator test);
(d) Medical interpreters providing interpretation services to department clients in medical settings (medical interpreter test); and
(e) Licensed agency personnel whose agency is providing contracted services to the department (licensed agency personnel test or LAP test).
(4) For a list of the specific types of examinations and languages tested (and other important testing information), see the most recent edition of the "professional language certification examination manual" published by the language interpreter services and translations section.
(5) Examinations for interpreters include written and oral components. Interpreters must pass the written test before they take the oral test.
(6) Examinations for DSHS bilingual employees usually include written and oral components and these can be taken on the same day.
(7) Examinations for translators include only a written translation component.
(1) A screening test is a test administered by the department to candidates who wish to become "qualified interpreters." Qualified interpreters, also referred to as noncertificated language interpreters, are individuals who speak a language other than the department's seven certificated languages, which are Cambodian, Chinese (either Cantonese or Mandarin), Korean, Laotian, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.
(2) The scope of a screening test is narrower than the scope of a certificated language examination. Screening tests assess a candidate's English and target language skills but the broader, more comprehensive type of assessment used in a certificated language examination is not possible because of limited department resources.
(3) Screening tests are only available for social services interpreters and medical interpreters.
Normally, you can register over the telephone by calling the LIST section at (360) 664-6038. In the Yakima area, you should contact the DSHS Region 2 Personnel Office at:
104 North 3rd Avenue
Yakima, WA 98902
To register for a certification or screening examination you must follow these steps:
(1) Call the LIST office and request a copy of the examination manual, an examination application form and a schedule of upcoming test dates.
(2) Complete and return the examination application form with the required examination fee.
(3) Wait to receive your examination confirmation letter and pretest package from LIST. If you have not received your letter and package within fifteen working days after you mailed your application and payment, it is your responsibility to contact the LIST office. It is also your responsibility to inform LIST if your name, mailing address or telephone number changes.
(4) If you are only registering for the oral test or registering to retake a test, you do not need to call the LIST office. Simply complete the application form enclosed with your test score report letter and return it to LIST with the appropriate fee. A confirmation letter will be mailed to you when LIST receives your application and payment.
(5) Walk-in registration at a test site is not allowed under any circumstances.
(6) Telephone registration is allowed only for department employees and applicants for department bilingual positions.
Your pretest package contains directions to the testing site and a study guide that includes sample test questions, sample oral exercises, a list of important terminology and a copy of the department's code of professional conduct.
The following examination fees apply to all languages tested by LIST:
Testing for certificated languages:
|Social services interpreter test|
|Written test||$30.00 per attempt|
|Oral test||$45.00 per attempt|
|Simultaneous test (retake only)||$25.00 per attempt|
|Medical interpreter test|
|Written test||$30.00 per attempt|
|Oral test||$45.00 per attempt|
|Written test||$50.00 per attempt|
Screening for noncertificated languages:
|Social services or medical|
|Written screening||$30.00 per attempt|
|Oral screening||$45.00 per attempt, per language|
(1) You may pay your examination fees with a personal check, certified check, cashier check or money order made out to the "department of social and health services." Do not send cash. LIST will not be responsible for lost cash payments sent through the mail.
(2) If your check or money order is for the wrong amount, LIST will return your payment and your application. You will have to resubmit your application with a correctly prepared check or money order.
(3) If your bank returns your personal check to LIST because of insufficient funds, LIST will not send you a score report letter until your check clears the bank.
(1) All examination fees are nonrefundable except:
(a) If you die before taking the examination, your examination fees are refundable to your estate; or
(b) If you officially move out of Washington state before taking the examination, your examination fees can be refunded to you.
(2) If you fail to attend your confirmed test session(s) because of an emergency, your test session(s) may be rescheduled but your test fee will not be refunded. A rescheduling due to an emergency will be done only once and only if the emergency is properly documented. Examples of proper documentation would be official police reports or signed physician statements.
(1) LIST schedules all department interpreter and translator examinations. Normally, testing for all languages is conducted once a month, statewide, from February through November. No testing is offered in December and January due to potential hazardous driving conditions. (See the examination manual for details.)
(2) If you require special arrangements for taking your test due to a disability, you should indicate this special need during your initial contact with LIST.
(3) LIST testing is currently offered at six statewide locations. (See the examination manual for details.) Testing site locations can change because of scheduling factors and varying demand for testing services. To stay informed, you should regularly consult LIST's master test schedule. Also, carefully read your test confirmation letter because it contains specific information on test date, test time, and test location.
(4) You must attend the test session(s) indicated in your registration confirmation letters. Except in bona fide emergency situations (see WAC 388-03-133(2)), you will not be allowed to reschedule your examination if you fail to attend your assigned test session(s). If you miss your scheduled examination for reasons other than an emergency, you may schedule another examination by reapplying to take the test and paying the appropriate testing fee.
(5) All requests for a change in testing schedule must be made within ten calendar days from the date your confirmation letter is sent; otherwise LIST considers your test appointment "confirmed" and your examination fees will not be refunded.
EXAMINATIONS-ADMINISTRATION AND SCORING
(1) The department has a "no-comment, no-return" examination policy. Once an examination is given, it becomes the property of the department and it will not be released to anyone, including test candidates.
(2) The department will not discuss specific examination content, including specific test questions or answers, with test candidates or any other party. Candidates can receive general critiques of their test performance if they submit a written request.
(3) Passing scores for the different examinations are established by the department based on bilingual fluency required by law, testing technicalities and the language needs of the department. Test scores will only be reported to candidates in writing. No score information will be released over the telephone to anyone.
(4) All interpreter and translator candidates must follow the test instructions. A failure to follow the instructions may result in an invalid test. Invalid tests will not be scored and, therefore, no test results will be reported to the candidate.
(5) If a candidate arrives late for the written test but decides to go ahead and take it, they will take the test during the remaining time allowed. The lost time resulting from their late arrival will not be made up.
(6) If a candidate arrives late for an oral test, they may lose their assigned time slot. A lost time slot resulting from a late arrival will not be made up.
(7) Tests will not be rescheduled because a candidate arrives late at a testing site except in the case of a bona fide emergency. If you are too late to take the test for some reason other than an emergency, you may schedule another examination by reapplying for the test and paying the appropriate fee.
If a test administrator suspects cheating during an examination with reasonable evidence, the accused candidate may be declared ineligible for all interpreter and translator certification/qualification tests administered by the department.
(1) Depending on the nature of the test or test section, the department uses either an objective or a holistic scoring method to evaluate your examination.
(2) Please consult the examination manual for the evaluation indicators used by the department for each test or sub-test.
Score report letters will be sent to candidates when they finish either portion (written or oral) of the test:
(1) For a written test, your scores should be available within two to four weeks from the date you took the examination.
(2) For oral tests, you should receive your scores within four to six weeks from the date you took the examination.
(3) If you wish your test scores mailed to a specific organization or individual, you must personally notify the department in writing and provide the name and mailing address of the organization or individual to whom your score should be sent.
(4) If you do not receive your score report letters within the suggested time periods, you should contact LIST at (360) 664-6037.
You have two months, from the date your test score letter is sent, to appeal your test score. Note:
(1) Your appeal must be submitted to the department in writing.
(2) Your appeal will not be honored if it is filed beyond the two-month appeal period.
(3) You will not be allowed to reschedule an examination while your score is being appealed.
You can retake a failed examination until you pass it. However, if you fail a test three times, you must wait six months before taking it a fourth time and wait six months between each subsequent attempt. Each time you retake the test you must pay an examination fee.
DECERTIFICATION/DISQUALIFICATION OF INTERPRETERS AND TRANSLATORS
The department may deny or revoke either your certification or qualification status if it is proven that you committed one or both of the following acts:
(1) You have not been truthful when dealing with the department; or
(2) You have violated the department's code of professional conduct.
If it is alleged that you have not been truthful when dealing with the department or that you have violated the department's code of professional conduct, the department, before denying or revoking your certification or qualification, must:
(1) Immediately investigate the allegations made against you; and
(2) Within sixty days of receiving the allegation, determine if you committed the alleged violations; and
(3) Within five days of reaching its decision, give you written notification of the decision. The department's notification must be delivered to you by certified mail.
If the department denies or revokes your certification or qualification, you have the right to appeal its decision by using the adjudicative proceeding process in chapter 34.05 RCW and chapter 388-08 WAC. However, the department encourages you to first try to resolve your dispute through a less formal process like mediation.
To request an adjudicative hearing, you must:
(1) File a written application with the department's board of appeals within twenty-one days of receiving the department's decision to deny or revoke your certification or qualification.
(2) Your written application must include:
(a) A copy of the department's decision that you are contesting; and
(b) A specific statement of the issue(s) and the law involved; and
(c) Your reasons for contesting the department's decision.
(3) Your written application must be delivered to the board of appeals in person, electronically by fax or by certified mail.
(4) Once the board of appeals receives your written application, an adjudicative hearing will be scheduled.
(5) The adjudicative hearing will be governed by the provisions of chapter 34.05 RCW, Administrative Procedure Act.