Category Archives: Certification

Certified translator and interpreter

At the Chamber of Commerce they tell me banks can’t provide their own translations any more because of conflict of interest. Therefore, I designed postcards with the following information, which I will be distributing at the Chamber and to local potential clients.

Helen Eby
Aloha, Oregon

Certified translatorSpanish Certified Interpreter
American Translators Association Certified Spanish into English
Washington State DSHS Certified English into Spanish
Oregon Judicial Department Certified Court Interpreter
Oregon Healthcare Authority Certified Healthcare Interpreter

Certified translations of:

  • Official documents (e.g. birth certificates, transcripts)
  • Business documents (e.g. contracts)
  • Translation-transcriptions of audio or video recordings


Helen Eby
Aloha, Oregón

Traductora certificadaIntérprete certificada
por la ATA del español al inglés
por WA DSHS del inglés al español
por el estado de Oregón en lo jurídico
por el estado de Oregón (OHA) en el ámbito médico

Traducciones certificadas de:

  • documentos oficiales (ej.: partidas de nacimiento, certificados de estudio)
  • documentos comerciales (ej.: contratos)
  • transcripciones de grabaciones o videos

Gaucha Translations,  here to serve the community!

Translation Certification in the Pacific Northwest

In the Pacific Northwest, and specifically in Washington State, two translation certification programs are relevant.

The American Translators Association is a professional association that certifies members who are translators.

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services has a Language Testing and Certification Unit that has been certifying translators since 1996. This certification program is regulated by WAC 388-03.

These certifications meet the requirements of the Federal government on this page.

The following table compares these programs.

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Interpreting Certification Compared (Spoken Language)

Spoken Language Interpreting Certification in the United States: a comparison

Competency-based assessments are the foundation of credentialing in many professions, one of which is interpreting. According to the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, an assessment instrument is any one of several standardized methods for determining if candidates possess the necessary knowledge and skills related to the purpose of the certification. Professional certification is therefore a voluntary process and is bestowed by an organization granting recognition to an individual who has met certain eligibility requirements and successfully completed a rigorous assessment based on a job task analysis.

Interpreter certification is akin to licensure in many other professions such as psychology, occupational therapy, social work, professional counseling, architecture, or nursing. In the United States, there are three certifying bodies for medical interpreters: NBCMI, CCHI and DSHS/LTC (see chart attached). In this chart we are also including the Oregon Court Interpreting certification for comparison purposes because interpreters move from one field to another in their scope of work on a regular basis. Interpreters will have to choose which certification to pursue based on their working languages, the availability of testing sites, the delivery modality (on-site v. remote interpreting) and the applicable federal and state laws and regulations. In the State of Oregon, the Oregon Health Authority is the government agency responsible for regulating medical interpreters.

The following table compares the different certifications. These certifications meet the requirements of the Federal government on this page.

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Interpreter training or skills improvement? My story…

How did I start interpreting?

Years ago, I was on a ship. I was thoroughly bilingual in all four skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. I had gone to med school for a couple of years, gone to secretarial school for a year, graduated from college in Argentina as an elementary school teacher, and I had taken the British Proficiency class when I was 15. After that, I had been a member of an Anglo-Argentine drama group: the Suburban Players.

These are facts. I had the linguistic proficiency. Then I joined a missionary ship, the MV Logos. I was there in Tierra del Fuego, when it shipwrecked. But I spent 15 months going around Latin America interpreting for the ship community, a group of 140 people from 40 countries from all continents. They needed “translators”. That really meant both things: translators and interpreters. So I joined. I worked 40 hours a week in the purser’s office, helping with customs and immigration paperwork in every country in Latin America. In my free time, I interpreted at public events on a daily basis. Pretty soon, I was one of the “preferred interpreters” and was busy seven evenings a week besides doing my day job.

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Oregon Healthcare Interpreter Certification process

The Oregon healthcare interpreter certification process is a two-tier process, designed to help interpreters meet the requirements in a gradual way, and also create a path for languages without a certification exam available.

Qualification: Continue reading

HIPAA training

Medical providers are required to have proof that those who work with them have HIPAA training. The Department of Health and Human Services has published a summary of HIPAA.

Interpreters are Business Associates under HIPAA.  I believe that voluntary compliance will help interpreters demonstrate that they are proactive about complying with HIPAA requirements and will also help interpreters understand the legal boundaries of the information they can share.

The HIPAA Group, Inc. has been in business for more than 12 years and serves hundreds of universities and thousands of healthcare entities and business associates. This is a link to their Compliance Guide for Business Associates and Covered Entities.

This is a link to the course description for the online course for Business Associates, which applies to medical interpreters. This is the link to register. The cost is $25 and it takes about an hour to complete it. They issue a certificate of successful completion immediately, online.


A business case for working with trained medical interpreters

An article published by the American College of Pediatrics listed certain types of errors interpreters make:

  • Omission: not interpreting a word or phrase
  • Addition: adding a word or phrase not uttered
  • Substitution: substituting a word or phrase for a different word or phrase
  • Editorialization: providing ones own views as the interpretation of a word or phrase
  • False fluency: using a word or phrase that does not exist in the language or is incorrect and substantially alters the meaning.

In this study, there was an average of 31 errors per interpreting encounter.  18% of the errors had potential clinical consequences overall. However, the percentage of errors with potential clinical consequences varied significantly.

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