Health Care Interpreter Training Expands to Include Arabic and Mandarin

Adding two languages to a certification program for interpreters to expand delivery of culturally competent and patient-centered health care

Dates of Project: July 2011–June 2012

Field of Work: Health care interpreting

Problem Synopsis: Well-trained interpreters play a vital role in ensuring that the 25 million people in the United States with limited English proficiency receive high-quality health care. Adequate testing and credentialing is essential to ensure that health care interpreters meet national and international standards.

Synopsis of the Work: The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters developed and tested interpreter certification exams in Arabic and Mandarin, building on a previously developed credentialing exam in Spanish.

Key Results

The commissioners and their subcontractor developed a credentialing exam for use by Arabic and Mandarin interpreters, and 96 interpreters pilot tested it at nine test centers. As of September 2012, they had established a network of 30 testing sites in 21 states. The commissioners also licensed a customized software platform to track data related to the testing process.

"Patients can get sick speaking any language."—Project Co-director Natalya Mytareva