Interpreter Services

What you can and cannot do as an interpreter

What are the conduct standards for interpreters?

Please review the following requirements to make sure you are giving proper and necessary services to injured workers and crime victims:

Expand/collapse all

  • Expand/collapse Your responsibilities toward all parties.

    The interpreter must ensure that all parties (injured worker/crime victim and the doctor/vocational provider) understand your role and obligations. You must:

    • Inform all parties that:
      • Everything said during the appointment will be interpreted and they should not say anything they don't want interpreted.
      • You will respect the confidentiality of the client.
      • You are required to remain neutral.
    • Disclose if there is a relationship to anyone that may influence, or if someone could perceive to influence, your impartiality.
    • Accurately and completely represent your credentials, training and experience to all parties.
  • Expand/collapse What you cannot do.

    As an interpreter for an injured worker or crime victim you cannot:

    • Market your services to workers or crime victims.
    • Arrange appointments in order to create business or to fit into your schedule including canceling and rescheduling a worker's medical appointment.
    • Contact them other than at the request of L&I, self-insurer, doctor or vocational provider.
    • Provide transportation to or from the doctor or vocational appointments.
    • Require them to use your interpreter services exclusive of other approved L&I interpreters.
    • Accept any money for services provided from anyone other than from L&I or the self-insurer.
    • Bill for someone else's services with your individual (not language agency group) provider account number.
    • Engage in any other activities that may be thought of as a service other than interpreting.
  • Expand/collapse You must interpret accurately and completely.
    • Interpret all communications in a thorough and accurate manner.
    • Interpret everything that is said by all people in the interaction.
    • Do not change, leave out or add information when you are interpreting, even if asked.
    • Maintain an impartial and neutral attitude.
    • Do not help the client make any decisions. They must make their own decisions.
    • Give consideration to linguistic differences in both the English and foreign languages and preserve the tone and spirit of the foreign language.
  • Expand/collapse You must keep information confidential.

    You must not discuss any information about an interpretation job without permission from all parties or unless it is required by law. This includes content of the assignment such as:

    • Time or place of the appointment.
    • The identity of the person involved.
    • What was discussed during your interpretation appointment.
    • The purpose of the appointment.
  • Expand/collapse You must stay impartial.
    • You must not discuss, counsel, refer, advise or give personal opinions or reactions to any party.
    • You must turn down the assignment if you have a vested interest in the outcome or when any situation, factor or belief exists that represents a real or potential conflict of interest.
  • Expand/collapse You must be competent.

    You must meet L&I's credentialing standards and be:

    • Fluent in English.
    • Fluent in the client's language.
    • Fluent in medical terminology in both languages.
    • Willing to decline assignments requiring knowledge or skills beyond your competence.
  • Expand/collapse Tips for interpreters.

    Something to keep in mind when working as an interpreter on an injured worker's or crime victim's claim:

    • Arrive on time.
    • Always provide ID to the client and provider.
    • Introduce yourself to the patient and provider.
    • Do not sit with the client in waiting room areas, unless assisting them with filling out a form.
    • Acknowledge language limitations when they arise and always ask for clarification.

What interpretive services will L&I pay for?

This table shows what services you can provide and if you can be paid by L&I.

CategoryCan you provide services?Can you be paid for services?Can you provide services for IMEs?
Interpreter with provider account numberYesYesYes, as arranged by insurer
Family member over age 18YesNoNo
Friend or acquaintanceYesNoNo
Healthcare provider or their employee whose primary job is not interpretationYesNoNo
Vocational provider or their employee who is not a credentialed interpreter or translatorYesNoNo
Worker's or crime victim's legal representativeNoNoNo
Employer's legal representativeNoNoNo
Persons under age 18NoNoNo

If you have questions, please contact Cecilia Maskell, mili235@lni.wa.gov, or call 360-902-5161.

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