Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to DSHS Financial Services Administration's Frequently Asked Questions! Below you may search by topics such as information for bidders and question about our Language Testing and Certification Program, and Background Checks.

DSHS currently certifies social service interpreters, medical interpreters, translators, DSHS active/potential bilingual employees, and licensed agency personnel in Chinese-Cantonese, Chinese-Mandarin, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. For all other languages, The Department authorizes social service interpreters and medical interpreters (screening test).

Test scores will not be released over the telephone to anyone, including the test candidate. A score report letter will be mailed to you once your scores are available. However, if you have not received your test score two (2) months after your test date, you should contact our office to check the status of your test score.

You may talk directly with the local office worker or supervisor. Alternately, you may submit your problem or complaint in writing to that office. Other options include contacting Interpreter Services and Customer Service at 1-800-562-3022. For issues regarding translated documents, contact the office/program/administration as indicated on the document.

Having a computer and internet connection on-site is recommended to meet your on-going background check responsibilities. However, for infrequent background check needs, computers with Internet access are available to use for free at public libraries. Paid access to computers and printers is available at Internet cafés and business centers such as parcel shipping and copy centers.

Only DSHS authorized entities can submit background checks to BCCU.  The DSHS oversight program that licenses, contracts, or requires external entities to submit background checks through the Background Check Central Unit may authorize you to use the Background Check System.

Instead of a certificate, interpreter who pass the screening test and complete the required orientation and ethics training will be issued an authorization letter.

If your score report letter states that you have met all test requirements and are now considered provisionally certified or authorized as an interpreter, a certificate/authorization letter will be mailed to you within a month after you have completed:

  • Two hours of new interpreter/translator orientation, and
  • Two hours of interpreter/translator professional ethics training.

     

DSHS announces procurement opportunities on the Washington Electronic Business Solution (WEBS) online system. The same information is posted on the Procurements page. Please follow the instructions in the announcement.

The old background check system is outdated and built on technology that is not current.  DSHS is also looking to streamline the background check process and create more efficiency for applicants and entities.

Yes. An applicant will be able to complete an online form.  If the applicant has a valid email address, they will be able to sign the form electronically and receive an emailed copy of their form.  The applicant can then provide the unique identification number to multiple authorized entities.  Entities then can retrieve the applicant’s information and submit a background check in BCS. Applicants will still have the option of filling out a paper form, requiring a physical signature, that they can copy and provide to multiple authorized entities as well.  If an entity receives a paper form, they will be required to enter the applicant’s information into BCS from the form prior to submitting the check to BCCU through BCS.

The Examination Manual provides detailed information on certification and testing.

No, you get the same certificate as those who have passed sight translation and consecutive interpreting (Level 1) but not simultaneous interpreting. However, your simultaneous test score will remain in our database. When simultaneous interpreting is needed for social service settings, users of simultaneous interpreting will contact LTC to obtain information on who is qualified for such assignment.

The words procurement and solicitation refer to the same process of inviting companies to bid on opportunities to provide goods and services to DSHS. The actual document outlining the goods and services may be called any of the following: Procurement, Solicitation, Request for Proposal (RFP), Request for Quotation (RFQ), Request for Qualifications and Quotation (RFQQ), or Request for Information (RFI), depending on the purpose of the procurement.

The document that is sent by the bidder to DSHS in response to a solicitation is called the bid, the response or the proposal.

A web-based system provides access to a software system using a computer and internet connection.

No. Once the applicant closes their internet browser, the form with the information they typed in cannot be retrieved.  The applicant’s information is only available for them to edit while they have the online tool open and are actively working on typing in their information.

Certified languages are those in which interpreters go through conventional modalities of testing. The written and oral test instruments cover both English and a second language (target language). Those who meet the minimum proficiency requirements are issued a certificate.

Due to resource restrictions, it is not feasible to develop language-specific test instruments for each and every language in such a linguistically diverse state as Washington. Therefore, a screening test was developed for all non-certified or screened languages. Interpreters in screened languages go through a totally different modality of testing. Unlike the certified languages, the written screening test is not language specific. The oral screening test utilizes the target language spoken by the interpreter to test his or her linguistic and interpreting skills. This includes any language, even any dialects within a language. Since the scope of the screening test is not as comprehensive as a conventional certified test, those who meet the minimum proficiency requirements are issued an authorization letter in lieu of a certificate.

Currently, no translator test is available for screened languages.

Information about certified/authorized interpreters and translators can be found by clicking on the Find an Interpreter or Translator link found on the navigation bar.

Check this site frequently for updated information. It is the responsibility of the prospective bidder to be aware of any changes in the procurement schedule and updates to particular procurements. All of the information is posted on the DSHS web site. If you have specific questions about a particular procurement, please refer to the solicitation document for instructions.

No. Only DSHS authorized entities, such as Department programs and authorized service providers, may request a background check using the Background Check System. 

No.  As a User of the background check system you will only be able to see the results for those account numbers that you have been granted access to.  Entities will be limited to seeing only the checks that they submitted and not those requests submitted by other entities.