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October 16, 2019

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are scheduled through Washington State's coordinating entity, currently ULS and formerly CTS LanguageLink. The contract performance reports and fill rate by language and by county are posted on HCA’s website


July 2019                  $41.00

July 2018                  $39.76

July 2017                  $38.50

July 2016                  $38.00

July 2015                  $37.10

July 2014                  $32.50
July 2013                  $32.00
July 2012                  $31.50
July 2011                  $30.00

        2010                  $21.00


SFY2018                    406,007

SFY2017                    383,583

SFY2016                    359,750

SFY2015                     327,737

SFY2014                     282,636

SFY2013                     228,561

SFY2012                     201,576
SFY2011                     196,000


SFY2016                 15,836

SFY2015                 16,782

SFY2014                  15,943

SFY2013                  15,556

SFY2012                  10,234

SFY2011                  17,700

 HCA (Medicaid) BUDGET

Jul 2013/Jun 2015             $25.1M

Jul 2011/Jun 2013             $18.1M

Jul 2009/Jun 2011             $23.0M

A modified procurement model began on July 1, 2011

The coordinating entity procurement model began on September 24, 2012.

The new coordinating entity, ULS took over the contract on July 1, 2018.

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Print Icon Mar 02, 2014


DSHS/LTC is the certifying body for spoken language interpreters and translators for health and social services. This professional certification is being used by other state agencies, notably HCA, L&I, DOL, DOC and OAH, as well as public/private community organizations, as a measure of professional quality. Accordingly, DSHS/LTC has a huge role in WA State’s interpreting industry.


The Language Testing and Certification program (DSHS/LTC) was created in 1991 to develop systems, methods, procedures, and policies in carrying out the department's legal commitment. This effort was the culmination of lawsuits and Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act complaints brought against DSHS during the 1980s for not providing equal access to services for LEP clients. As part of a consent decree (known as the Reyes Consent Decree), DSHS agreed not only to provide (and pay for) interpreters for LEP clients, but also to ensure the quality of the interpreter services provided through the development and administration of standardized tests.

RCW 74.04.025(1) The department [DSHS], the [HCA] authority, and the office of administrative hearings [OAH] shall ensure that bilingual services are provided to non-English speaking applicants and recipients.    

RCW 74.04.025(4) The department [DSHS] shall certify, authorize, and qualify language access providers as needed tomaintain an adequate pool of providers.

Five types of tests were created to evaluate the skills of five categories of people:

1)   DSHS employees with bilingual assignments,

2)   licensed agency personnel whose agency provides services to DSHS under contract (such as mental health and substance abuse program workers),

3)   contracted freelance translators providing written translation services to DSHS programs,

4)   contracted freelance interpreters providing services to DSHS social service programs,

5)   contracted freelance interpreters providing services to DSHS clients in medical settings.

For more information about DSHS/LTC please visit

1992: DSHS begins certifying interpreters for social services in 8 languages.

1995: DSHS begins certifying interpreters for medical services in 8 languages.

1996: DSHS begins authorizing interpreters for social and medical services in all other languages.

There are several factors contributing to a flooded market and an unstable pool of qualified professional interpreters:

·        no pre-requisites such as mandatory training

·        no continuing education requirements to maintain the credential

·        no disciplinary board to decertify interpreters

·        extremely low rates when compared to court or conferencing interpreting

Ever wondered how many DSHS certified/authorized interpreters there are in WA? Check out these charts one of our union members put together with publicly available data from DSHS.

DSHS certified interpreters MANDARIN.pdf
DSHS certified interpreters VIETNAMESE.pdf
DSHS certified interpreters CAMBODIAN.pdf
DSHS certified interpreters CANTONESE.pdf
DSHS certified interpreters KOREAN.pdf
DSHS certified interpreters LAOTIAN.pdf
DSHS certified interpreters RUSSIAN.pdf
DSHS Certified Interpreters SPANISH.pdf
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