LTC Program Changes

Washington Administrative Code (WAC) Chapter 388-03 Changes effective April 6th, 2015


*Changes do not apply to DSHS Bilingual Employees


The Language Testing and Certification program has spent the last couple of years making the following changes on its program rules. The following list is a compilation of those changes that have immediate effect on current and potential interpreters and translators. Once these changes are effective on the legislative website, we encourage you to read through the new rules and be familiar with them.


  • Medical and Social Service Interpreters must meet all of the following requirements to receive certification:

    • 2 hours of new interpreter orientation

      • Medical orientation for medical interpreters

      • Social services orientation for social service interpreters

    • 2 hours of new interpreter ethics training

    • Take and pass the written and oral tests

  • Translators must meet all of the following requirements to receive certification:

    • 2 hours of new translator orientation

      • Medical or social services orientation

    • 2 hours of new translator ethics training

    • Take and pass translator test


    • We are in the process of developing an orientation series for new interpreters and translators that have passed the required testing. Interpreters or translators who pass the required testing will receive provisional status. Once the orientation series is launched, a notification will be sent to those who have passed the oral and written test and are waiting to take the courses. Interpreters and translators who hold provisional status will have 60 days to complete the required orientation and ethics training to receive a certificate. The certificate will expire 4 years after it has been issued (provisional status will not count toward the 4 year limit).


  • There are 5 ways to gain department recognition as an interpreter or translator without taking the department’s certification examinations. If you hold a(n):
  1. AOC certification.
  2. CCHI, NBCMI certification.
  3. ATA certification.
  4. A certification by another state or US territory or another country that is comparable to DSHS certification and based upon similar requirements.
  5. A certification by a non-profit organization that uses a credible certification program and is recognized by the department.
    • If you fall into any of the above categories, you can submit information based on the WAC rules (please see legislative page, when updated). Submission for recognition will be accepted once new interpreter orientations and ethics trainings are available.


  • To be eligible to take LTC tests, you must be 18 years of age with a high school diploma/GED or its equivalent from another country


    • We will be taking self-attestations on the online test sign-up page upon test registration.


  • Beginning from the effective date of the WAC (April 6th 2015), your passing interpreter written test score is valid for two years from the date of your score report letter.


    • If two years have passed from the date of your passing written test score report letter, and you have not passed the oral test (i.e., you are not a certified or authorized interpreter), you must retake the written test.

    • If you passed the written test before 04/06/2015, your test score will expire on 04/06/2017.

    • There will be no exceptions to this rule.


  • If you have been certified or authorized as an interpreter or translator, and are not a department employee, you can maintain your certification by:

    • Earning a minimum of 20 credits of DSHS approved continuing education.

    • At least 4 credits (1 credit per year) MUST be in ethics training.

    • Retaking the required examination within 4 years if you do not meet the 20credit requirement.


    • If you are a certified or authorized interpreter/translator, you must complete 20 credits of continuing education courses by (April 2019). If 20 credits are not met, retesting to gain your certification will be necessary. Approved continuing education courses are found under the Continuing Education tab.

    • Reporting Credits: DSHS approved courses offered after April 6th, 2015 will have an attendance sheet on which you will include your information. Incomplete/illegible/missing entries will not be counted for credits.


  • Before your certification or authorization expires, you need to submit proof of credit hours, a signed oath to abide by the code of conduct; and a criminal background check.


    • Stay tuned for updates on a new interface that will allow you to submit the required information.


  • Section 388-03-160 applied to all certified/authorized/recognized interpreters/translators regardless of when their certification/authorization letters were issued. The expiration date for all certificates/authorization letters is 4 years from the effective date of the revised chapter 388-03 WAC (April 6th, 2015), if the 388-03-160 requirement is not met.


    • If you have been certified or authorized before April 6th, 2015, your certificate/authorization letter will expire on April 6th, 2019. Non-compliance with WAC 388-03-160 will require you to retest and pass all test requirements to regain certification/authorization.


388-03-170, 388-03-172, and 388-03-173

  • DSHS may deny or revoke either your certification or authorization status if it is proven by the authorized entity or the entity that contracts with you, that you committed any of the following acts:

    • Not being truthful when dealing with the department.

    • Violation of any provision of the department’s code of conduct that is determined to be creating major negative impacts.

    • Misdemeanor or felonies related to language service assignments.

    • Continued violation of the code despite notification to cease.

    • False, deceptive advertisement of language service despite notification to cease.

    • Gross incompetence as a language access provider.

    • Other misconduct not described above is subject to a notification to cease such misconduct.

  • If it is alleged that you have committed any of the acts listed in WAC 388-03-170 (above), before denying or revoking your certification or authorization status, the department must:

    • Have received an official request from the entity that contracts with you to have your certification/authorization status revoked

    • Have received findings of the investigation conducted by the authorized entity or entity that contracts with you.

    • Within 30 days of receiving the official revocation request and investigation findings, send you a written notification regarding the final decision of your certification or authorization status.

  • Any request for revocation must be officially filed with LTC within two years of the alleged occurrence of misconduct. Otherwise, the request shall be dismissed as untimely.


    • Per this process, revocation is of your certification or authorization is possible upon an investigation finding a translator or interpreter culpable of committing those acts described in 388-03-170.