The Development of Certification for Healthcare Interpreters in the United States


  • Mara Youdelman Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters


healthcare interpreter, medical interpreter, interpreter certification


As the numbers of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) patients continue to grow, the demand for competent interpreting services increases. As these services become integrated into the delivery of culturally competent and patient-centered health care, the need to create formal systems for assessing the competence of interpreters to avoid medical harm, ensure effective communication, and provide truly patient-centered care is growing. Providers, healthcare administrators, coordinators of interpreting services and other interested parties are now realizing the significant benefits of working with trained and qualified interpreters. Further, providing effective language services is required by federal law for virtually all healthcare providers. Over twenty years of efforts have been building to develop a national certification program for healthcare interpreters. The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) was formed to create a national, valid, credible and vendor-neutral certification program in the U.S. that honors the twenty-plus years of conversations and movement towards certification. The benefits of CCHI’s national healthcare interpreter certification will extend to patients, interpreters, healthcare providers, healthcare administrators, coordinators of interpreting services, educators, and language services companies