Setting the Standard for Quality in Healthcare Interpreting

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Healthcare Interpreters

The CoreCHI™ and CHI™ are the nation's highest certification credentials available to healthcare interpreters

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Healthcare providers choose CCHI certified interpreters - CoreCHI™ and CHI™ - as their preferred means of ensuring language access. Join us and demonstrate your commitment to quality care and patient safety.

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Healthcare providers depend on you to have trained and qualified interpreters. It is just smart business to validate your hiring practices and training with CCHI credentials.

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Training Providers

Healthcare interpreters and providers choose CCHI accredited continuing education programs. CCHI accreditation ensures your program's credibility and visibility.

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04.23.2018

Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters

 dialects

This is a natural question since in real life an interpreter is expected to understand as many dialects and regional variants of their language as possible so that they can communicate with almost any patient speaking their language. At the same time, experienced interpreters recognize the fact that in real life, while understanding many dialects/variants, most of the time, they interpret into a “neutral, literary, mainstream, understood-by-all” version of their non-English language with the insertion of regionalisms to match the patient’s dialect/variant. Only when an interpreter has a patient from the same country and/or locality they can interpret into their “native” variant proper. The exception, of course, are those interpreters who are truly "bi/multi-dialectal” because they have lived and practiced several dialects/variants of the “main” language.

The question arises how candidates are supposed to approximate the real life in the testing environment. Let’s take a look at the CHI™ exam’s purpose. The national certification exam is a tool to measure, among other things, a candidate’s ability:

  1. to understand patients speaking various dialects/variants of Arabic, Mandarin or Spanish, and
  2. to interpret accurately and completely so that they are understood by any patient from any country speaking the corresponding language.

To achieve the first goal, the content of the exam is presented as audio recordings by different voice talents with different regional/dialect accents. In other words, the candidate will hear at the exam voices of “patients” from different countries. At the same time, CCHI engaged volunteer Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from different countries and cultural groups in the development of each exam to make sure that there is no bias towards any specific dialect/variant in the content and that only widely used and commonly understood colloquialisms are included. For example, you may hear the voice (accent) of a patient from Argentina or Taiwan or Lebanon but they will not be speaking the colloquial versions of Spanish, Mandarin or Arabic from those countries specifically.

To achieve the second goal of the national certification exam, candidates are expected to interpret from English into Arabic, Mandarin or Spanish accurately and completely, preserving the register of the speaker, without omitting, adding or changing the speaker’s message. (In this context, the speaker is a doctor or nurse or an allied healthcare professional talking to a patient in English.) There can be two possible ways of meeting this expectation:

  • the candidate interprets into their native variant of the corresponding language (e.g. Mexican or Taiwanese or Egyptian), while maintaining the register and formality of the healthcare provider’s speech (i.e. as if they are speaking to a patient from their own country/locality), or
  • the candidate interprets into a “neutral, literary, understood-by-all” version of their language, inserting their own “native” regionalisms when appropriate.

In both cases, the issue is not which dialect/variant the candidate is using, the issue is if the candidate is faithful to the original message of the speaker as our professional Code of Ethics requires.

For example, this is what a certified interpreter is expected to do. When a doctor (on the exam or in real life) uses a higher register English word (e.g. hypertension), it must be interpreted with a corresponding higher register (aka formal) word in Arabic, Mandarin or Spanish, etc. In other words, formal English medical terms need to be interpreted with, let’s say, formal Arabic medical terms, i.e. the ones used in medical textbooks in Arabic. So the interpreter, most likely, will have to use a Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) word in this instance because regional variants of Arabic won’t have a corresponding higher register equivalent.

And here is what a non-certified interpreter (or a bilingual layperson) usually does. When they hear a higher register term, for example, “You have hypertension,” they think internally, “This patient from, for example, Morocco, will not understand me if I say this formal word in MSA; in my country we usually say “You have blood pressure” in this case.” And the interpreter proceeds to interpret “hypertension” as “blood pressure.” Or, in case of more complex terms, the interpreter will start explaining the term while there exists a direct equivalent in the non-colloquial variant of their language. So the mistake such an interpreter makes is not about the dialect but about using a wrong register and/or about explaining instead of using a direct equivalent, thus, showing the lack of knowledge of formal medical terminology. In real life, if an interpreter uses the direct equivalent of “hypertension” as it exists in MSA, the patient has an opportunity to ask the provider to explain this word, which will alert the provider to the need for him/her to lower their register of speech for that patient.

At the same time, if, in the exam content, a provider uses an English word, e.g. “hotdog,” which has different equivalents in different countries, then the interpreter can use whatever colloquial word is common in their country, and it will be considered correct by the raters. Here lies a slight difference between the exam and the real life. Because in real life a certified interpreter should try to use the colloquial equivalent that is used in the patient’s country rather than the interpreter’s, or if the interpreter doesn’t know the colloquialism understood by the patient, to use a neutral register word or describe the meaning and then clarify with the patient if the patient understands.

A comment about rating of the oral exam. CCHI employs culturally diverse raters who are instructed not to penalize candidates for using any particular dialect/variant as long as the equivalency of meaning is preserved. Each candidate generates seven oral recordings during the exam: four of the consecutive part, two of the simultaneous, and one of the sight translation. Each of these seven recordings are independently scored by two (2) raters. If these two raters disagree by more than 1 point in their score, a third rater scores the recorded interpretation. The final score is generated by a proprietary formula that uses all these individual scores. This process is designed to produce as objective a score as is possible with human rating.

In conclusion, the advice to candidates is during the exam to focus on preserving the equivalency of meaning of the speaker’s message which includes accuracy, completeness and faithfulness to the register and cultural context, and not to worry about the dialect/variant of the non-English language into which they should interpret. Candidates who fail do not fail because of the dialect/variant they used but because they did not know how to produce equivalent meaning and resorted to substituting or explaining. The interpreter is the voice of the speaker, and it is our duty to keep this voice as unique and as rich as the speaker intends it.

The listing of the training opportunities on this page is sponsored by the training providers. CCHI does not accredit, preapprove or endorse beginner-level programs. The listed programs are examples of possible training opportunities that help applicants meet the 40-hour healthcare interpreter training requirement and prepare for the examination(s). Interpreters are cautioned to question the veracity of guarantees of success on examinations as a result of any training.

 

For the Registry of CCHI Accredited Continuing Education programs, please go to www.CEAPcchi.org.



Online Programs

  • Interpreter Education Online - 12-week Preparatory Course for the CCHI Exam - http://site.interpretereducationonline.com/preparatory-course-for-the-cchi-exam/
  • MasterWord® Intensive Medical Interpreter Training - Online and Self - Paced. It is nationally accredited for 40.00 instructional hours by CCHI. This training is non-language specific and is designed to prepare you for interpreting in the healthcare industry. It uses the latest and most effective interactive techniques, and provides an opportunity to learn and practice the most effective models for the interpreting process, advanced ethical decision making, memory and note taking, medical terminology, cross-cultural interpreting, and navigation of the US health care system. BONUS FINAL EXAM: Health Care Interpreter Assessment (HCIA)® is included at no cost.
  • Medical Interpreting Training School - Online 40-hour training program at your own pace - http://medicalinterpretingtrainingschool.com
  • MedTalk Training - a 60 hour online Medical Interpreter program, English-Spanish specific. Our course features comprehensive education on medical terminology, common medications and diagnosis. Students will have the opportunity to use the learnt terminology during the recorded interpretation assignments, to better comprehend the material. You will learn to apply Standards of Practice, Roles of the Interpreter and Code of Ethics, Cultural competency, as well as laws and regulations affecting the Interpreter. The program is self-paced and you can access the modules on your free time; you decide when you want to study and for how long. Instructors work closely with each student, offering feedback on the written and recorded assignments to improve pronunciation and develop skills to interpret with accuracy and completeness. Our program is one of seven in the Nation accredited by the CMIE. Visit our website (www.medtalktraining.com for more information or call us at 603-770-4218.
  • REACH-reaching diversity - Medical/Healthcare Interpreting 101™, 40 hours - http://www.reach-diversity.com/medicalhealthcare-interpreting-101trade-a-40--hour-training-for-certification.html
  • Translation & Interpretation Network (TIN) - The training, supervision, testing and certificate process established by TIN ensures the highest standards of service that exceeds those set by ATA, IMIA, NCIHC, and NAJIT. TIN offers training, language testing and continuing education. Several training modules are offered on-site and online: Introduction to Community Interpreting (40-Hour), Introduction to Medical Interpreting (16-Hour), Introduction to Mental Health Interpreting (16-Hour), Introduction to Medical Interpreting (60-Hour), Introduction to the Art of Translation (8-hour). For more information contact Fabio Torres at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Meti Dibra at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and visit us at WWW.TINTRANSLATION.COM to learn more about us. Read more...



On-site Programs

  • Berkeley Language Institute’s (BLI) Non- Language Specific Healthcare Interpreting Summer Session (Berkeley, CA): Intensive 44-Hour Non-Language Specific Medical Interpreting Workshop offered by experienced instructors and working certified interpreters. Our courses are designed to prepare those seeking certification in healthcare interpreting and hospital and clinical staff who want to understand the basics in this field. These workshops are meant to increase a healthcare interpreter’s competency by building the vocabulary needed in real-life settings and strengthening sight translation, consecutive and simultaneous interpreting skills. Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for registration and pricing information. Visit our webpage at: www.berkeleylanguageinstitute.com or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/notes/berkeley-language-institute/berkeley-language-institutes-non-language-specific-healthcare-interpreting-summe/145505922651290/.
  • Bridging the Gap™ in Kansas City (MO & KS) – 40-hour course in healthcare interpreting, presented by Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) and taught by Raul O. Guerrero at two sites in Kansas City: The Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center in Kansas City, Missouri and Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas. For more information, contact Catherine Anderson, Manager of Language and Cultural Services, JVS at 816-471-2808, Ex. 1124 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. - www.jvskc.org
  • The Community Interpreter® with Cross-Cultural Communications, LLC (MD) - Join us for the first and only national 40-hour certificate program in community interpreting! We cover interpreting in healthcare, educational and social services settings. Our program promotes national ethics and standards of practice in the field and can prepare interpreters to take national medical interpreter certification.
    For more information, please contact Michelle Gallagher, Office Manager, at 410-312-5599 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Visit our website at: www.cultureandlanguage.net/training.
  • The Community Interpreter - Medical: A Language Neutral Course (OR). This 64 hour course meets the training requirements for healthcare certification in Oregon. It covers 40 hours of skills and ethics (The Community Interpreter®) and 24 hours of Medical Terminology. The Medical Terminology portion has been approved for CE credits by CCHI and IMIA. For more information, visit http://gauchati.com/training.php.
  • The Core Medical Interpreter Training Program™ provides students with intensive training to prepare for the challenges within a growing and competitive health care marketplace. This program is offered to bilingual or multilingual individuals, who are either currently working in health care or are interested in obtaining an entry-level credential in the field. The training covers all basic aspects of interpreting in healthcare, including the roles, modes, ethics, and current professional and regulatory guidelines. The only national 60- to 100-hour Basic Medical Interpreter Training Program in compliance with the newly recommended National Training Guidelines and surpassing the requirements for National Certification. Contact at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Read more >>
  • InterpreterEd.com (CA). This Medical Interpreter Training Program is a 40-hour course designed to prepare a bi-cultural and bi-lingual individual for the national certification exams. For more information, visit http://interpretered.com, call us at 800-673-6923 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Language Initiatives Program at the Immigrant Health and Cancer Disparities Service of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York, NY & online) - Medical Interpreter Training (Consecutive and/or Simultaneous), including Dual Role; Preparation Workshops for the CCHI Examinations; an Online Practicum through our Multilingual Virtual Language Lab (VITAL); Interpreter Screening and Evaluation (all trainings include a language specific component). Courses can be held on-site, at the provider facilities or online. For additional information visit us at http://www.mskcc.org/research/immigrant-health-disparities-service/eliminating-language-cultural-barriers-care, and/or contact: Javier González at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Read more...
  • Medical Interpreting Associates LLC (Gainesville, GA) offers a 40-hour non-language-specific training course designed to prepare interpreters for a National Certification exam and prepares bilingual individuals for their role as medical interpreters.
  • Monterey Institute of International Studies (Monterey, CA) - Spanish Community Interpreting Graduate Certificate, 6 months - http://www.miis.edu/academics/short/translation-interpretation/spanish-community-interpreting
  • Translation & Interpretation Network (TIN) (TX) - The training, supervision, testing and certificate process established by TIN ensures the highest standards of service that exceeds those set by ATA, IMIA, NCIHC, and NAJIT. TIN offers training, language testing and continuing education. Several training modules are offered on-site and online: Introduction to Community Interpreting (40-Hour), Introduction to Medical Interpreting (16-Hour), Introduction to Mental Health Interpreting (16-Hour), Introduction to Medical Interpreting (60-Hour), Introduction to the Art of Translation (8-hour). For more information contact Fabio Torres at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Meti Dibra at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and visit us at WWW.TINTRANSLATION.COM to learn more about us. Read more...
  • Walla Walla Community College (WA) - Spanish Medical Interpreter and Translator Program is a 9-month certificate program for busy, working adults. Starting the Fall of 2015, the SMIT program will begin an enhanced Online Learning model. Read more...



Advertising Your Training Program with CCHI

If you would like to advertise your training program with CCHI and have it listed here, please review our Advertising Policy and Rate Card, and contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

AHI Credential

Steps to Schedule Your CHI™ Exam

You may schedule your CHI™ examination once you receive your CHI™ Notice to Schedule. You cannot use the same notice that you received for your CoreCHI™ exam.  Each examination has a separate Notice to Schedule. If you have paid your CHI™ exam fee and have not received your CHI™ Notice to Schedule, please log into your CCHI profile and select the "Communications" tab on the top of the screen.  Your CHI™ Notice to Schedule is available in the Communications tab to view and print. If you contact a test center and schedule your exam before you receive your CHI™ Notice to Schedule email, you will forfeit your CHI exam fee and/or be required to pay a "reschedule charge".  You must bring a copy of the CHI™ Notice to Schedule you receive to the test center. If you do not bring your notice, you will not be admitted to take the exam and will forfeit your exam fee. 

1. Select a CHI™ Testing Window

The CHI™ exam is offered during four testing windows each year. Testing seats are first come first serve, and some test centers may fill their available testing slots quickly.  If you schedule your CHI™ examination outside of testing windows, the exam will not be available when you show up for your scheduled appointment and your exam fee will be forfeited.  Upcoming CHI™ tests windows:

  • April 16 - May 7, 2018
  • July 23 - August 13, 2018
  • October 15 - November 5, 2018

 

2.  Select a CHI™ Testing Location

The CHI™ performance exam requires a special set up for undisturbed interpretation, spoken aloud. CCHI makes special arrangements for private testing rooms at the following test centers throughout the United States.  Click here to search for a testing center nearest to you.  Keep in mind that the testing center availability may change from one testing window to another. You may ask our representative if there is a new location available in your state at the time of calling our scheduling line.

3.  Schedule Your CHI™ Examination - call (844) 704-1487
 

Each test center determines the days and times during the week that it will administer the examination. Testing seats are first come first serve, and some test centers may fill their available testing slots quickly.All that you need to do to schedule your exam is to call 844-704-1487 and speak with a scheduling agent who has access to every test center's schedule. Make sure that during scheduling you ask for directions to the test center and to the testing room within the building as well as any parking instructions.

4.  Prepare for your CHI™ Examination 
 

 

Notes:

  • After you schedule your examination, if you need to reschedule or cancel your examination date, you may do so up until 48 hours before the scheduled date and time without penalty. If you cancel within 48 hours of your appointment you will forfeit your examination fee and be required to pay a new examination fee in order to reschedule.  
      
  • If you experience any issues (including technical issues) during your examination that were not resolved at the test center AND that you feel will affect the outcome of your exam, you must notify the test center proctor before you leave the test center and ask the proctor to file an issue report with CCHI. You must also contact CCHI separately at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. within 24 hours of taking your exam to make us aware of the issues. All concerns must be submitted in writing.

 

CoreCHI Credential

Steps to Schedule Your CoreCHI™ Exam

You may only schedule to take the CoreCHI™ examination once you have received your CoreCHI™ Notice to Schedule email. You must bring a copy of the CoreCHI™ Notice to Schedule you receive to the examination site. If you have paid your CoreCHI™ exam fee and have not received your CoreCHI™ Notice to Schedule, please log into your CCHI profile and select the "Communications" tab on the top of the screen.  Your CoreCHI™ Notice to Schedule is available in the Communications tab to view and print.  
 

1. Click here to select an CoreCHI™ Testing Location and then call (844) 704-1487 to schedule your exam.

The CoreCHI™ exam is offered every week of the year at test centers throughout the United States and can be schedule at a time and location that is convenient for you.  Each test center determines the days and times during the week that it will administer the examination. All that you need to do to schedule your exam is call (844) 704-1487 and speak with a scheduling agent who has access to every test center's schedule.  Click here to view a list of test centers offering the CoreCHI™ exam.

Make sure that during scheduling you ask for directions to the test center and to the testing room within the buliding as well as any parking instructions.

Attention Los Angeles candidates! CCHI has an additional test site in Walnut, CA (zip code 91789), which may not appear in the link above. To schedule an exam at this site, please call (844) 704-1487 and specify that you want to test at this location.

2. Prepare for your CoreCHI™ Examination

 

Notes:

  • After you schedule your examination, if you need to reschedule or cancel your examination date, you may do so up until 48 hours before the scheduled date and time without penalty. If you cancel within 48 hours of your appointment you will forfeit your examination fee and be required to pay a new examination fee in order to reschedule.   
     
  • If you experience any issues (including technical issues) during your examination that were not resolved at the test center AND that you feel will affect the outcome of your exam, you must notify the test center proctor before you leave the test center and ask the proctor to file an issue report with CCHI.  You must also contact CCHI separately at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. within 24 hours of taking your exam to make us aware of the issues.