RCW 41.56.510(2)(c) lists professional development and training as one of the mandatory subjects for collective bargaining. Article 4 of our union contract contains professional development provisions that your bargaining team negotiated with the state. Throughout the years, our union has been able to improve the quality of our state certification.
In December 2011, our union recommended and succeeded in eliminating the DSHS “provisional certification”. This credential allowed those candidates who had failed the oral exam to render interpreting services.
During 2012-13, our union met regularly with DSHS/LTC to create criteria for the approval of continuing education activities.
In April 2014, our union submitted recommendations to the DSHS’s proposed changes to WAC 388-03.
In April 2015, the new WAC 388-03 went into effect making continuing education credits mandatory to maintain the DSHS interpreters and translator credentials. As a ‘Members Only’ benefit, Interpreters United offers free continuing education workshops in conjunction with its quarterly statewide meetings. During the pandemic, the workshops have been virtual.
In November 2015, DSHS/LTC unveiled a searchable public database listing interpreters, their credentials and contact information. Previously the list was only shared with language companies and in a hard copy format.
In July 2016, our new union contract created the DSHS/LTC Advisory Committee to make recommendations for the certification program. Among other things, our union successfully advocated for the lumping into a single category the languages of the former Yugoslavia (Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian) and Persian dialects (Farsi/Dari).
In February 2020, our union made several recommendations to improve the DSHS/LTC revocation process. This eventually lead to an improved disciplinary process where interpreters are notified of the complaints lodged against them and have a better chance to address them.
In November 2020, DSHS/LTC unveiled Gateway, an improved version of its searchable database. Our union succeeded in listing the DSHS Social Services Certified Level 2 credentials. These interpreters have passed the simultaneous portion of the oral exam.