Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Home page

About Interpreter & Translation Services

What are Interpreter & Translation Services?

Definitions

Interpreter: A person who orally transfers a message from one spoken language to another.

Certified/Authorized interpreter: A person who has passed the required DSHS language interpreter examination, or has passed the language interpreter examination offered by the State of Washington Administrator for the Courts or the Federal Court.

Translator: A person who transfers a message in writing from one language to another.

Certified Translator: A person who has passed the required DSHS written translation examination, or has passed the American Translators Association written translation examination.

Oral Language Interpretation
If you are a Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) client or applicant and have limitations in speaking or understanding English, the DSHS local office will provide an interpreter at no cost to you and without significant delay. Medicaid clients may find additional information by visiting the Health Care Authority Interpreter Services web page.

DSHS interpreters can speak, read and write English and your language. Interpreters will keep all information confidential. Some offices also have DSHS employees who directly conduct DSHS business as needed in languages other than English.

Written Language Translation
If you are a Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) client or applicant and have limitations in reading or understanding English, DSHS will provide translation of all major written DSHS communications at no cost to you. DSHS can also translate individual communications that are necessary to assist you in completion of your business with DSHS.

Sign Language Interpretation
If you are a Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) client or applicant and are deaf, deaf-blind, or hard-of-hearing, DSHS provides sign language interpretation at no cost to you and without significant delay through the Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing