|A FLOODED MARKET|
A FLOODED MARKET
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 http://www.dshs.wa.gov/ltc/
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