Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to DSHS Financial Services Administration's Frequently Asked Questions for our Language Testing and Certification Program!

A certified/authorized interpreter is a person who has passed the required DSHS interpreter examination, or has passed the interpreter examination offered by the Washington State Office of the Administrator for the Courts or the Federal Courts, AND has completed the DSHS required orientation and professional ethics training.

You should inform Language Testing and Certification of any changes via USPS mail or email. For a name change request, a court document (photo copy) such as a marriage or divorce certificate should be attached to your request. Please include your current mailing address and phone numbers.

A certified translator is a person who has passed the required DSHS written translation examination, or has passed the American Translators Association written translation examination, AND has completed the DSHS required orientation and professional ethics training.

You may send your request to us in writing or via e-mail  with the following information: your full name, last four of your social security number, language, current mailing address and phone number. Please indicate certificate (medical, social service, or translator) or authorization (medical, social) type.

For DSHS bilingual staff, please call 360-664-6038 to schedule your test. You should learn more about what kind of tests are available, what kind of questions are in the test, and other test-related information before you register for a test. Detailed test-related information and registration policies are included in the Examination Manual. Once you know what tests you need to register for, please follow the steps in the how to schedule a test online. For step-by-step guides, please refer to the following : Written Test Scheduling GuideOral Test Scheduling Guide / Translator Test Scheduling Guide.

All policies applying to testing and certification are included in the Examination Manual. The same policies can also be found in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC 388-03). You can find the answer to your specific question in either document.

Once you are assigned a certificate number or authorization number in your score report letter, you are considered a certified or authorized interpreter or translator. DSHS does not employ interpreters and translators directly. Instead, we contract with external agencies to provide language services to our clients. If you are looking for work as an interpreter or translator, you need to contact the DSHS contracted agencies to start the process. Find a spoken language service provider.

Yes. To register for a test, please follow the steps in the how to schedule a test online. For step-by-step guides, use the following: Written Test Guide/ Translator Test Guide/ Oral Test Guide.

No. Scheduling a test over the telephone is only for DSHS bilingual employees and licensed agency personnel.

If you plan to set up your own language agency or company, please contact Business Licensing at the Department of Licensing . Contact information for Business License Information can also be found in the Government Pages in the phone book.

Pretest study materials, also known as study guides, are available on our website under the 'Study Materials' tab. You can access the pretest booklets and oral practice recordings by clicking on the appropriate links. Pretest study materials for DSHS employees and licensed agency personnel are available at the DSHS Intranet or SharePoint (internal) website.

We only test people who are available to serve DSHS clients in Washington State.

The pretest materials, both written and oral, are intended to familiarize you with the formats of the test and how test items are constructed. The study guides will help you know what to expect on the test, but will not be enough to help you improve your language ability, your interpreting skills, or your knowledge base in any particular field.

Certificates issued by entities other than Washington State DSHS will be considered on a case by case basis. Please consult WAC 388-03-114 for related information.

When you follow the steps in how to schedule a test online, you will see open test dates and time slots. Then you can pick your test date and time.

Please contact the Office for the Deaf and Hard Hearing in the Department of Social and Health Services for information about becoming an ASL interpreter. Their contact information can also be found in the Government Pages in the phone book.

Since test dates and time slots are extremely limited, you would want to keep your test appointment if at all possible. To reschedule, you need to email (dshsct@dshs.wa.gov) or call (360-664-6111) our office within ten (10) calendar days from the date you created your test appointment. It is your responsibility to follow through with your request within the ten-day (10) time frame. Any oral or written request after the 10-day time frame will not be honored. If more than 10 days have passed since you created your test, then we will need documentation for the emergency situation that is preventing you from attending your test as scheduled. If more than 10 days have passed, and no documentation can be provided, then you will have to pay another test fee to reschedule your test.

Please contact the Office of the Administrator for the Courts for information about becoming a court certified interpreter. Their contact information can also be found in the Government Pages in the phone book.

When you schedule your own test online, confirmation is instantaneous. An appointment confirmation letter and appointment reminder letter will be sent to your email address. If you do not receive a confirmation letter within a few minutes of registering for a test, check your junk mail. If you cannot find the email there, please email our office.