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The Interpreter Program certifies administrative and medical hearing interpreters for use in state adjudicative hearings and maintains a listing of those interpreters as required by law.
Government Code Sections 11435.05 through 11435.65 require language assistance be provided to individuals during administrative hearings and medical examinations with state departments. Language assistance is provided by a certified interpreter. Certified interpreters are paid for by the state department conducting the hearing or examination, and not by the individual requesting the service. By law, CalHR is responsible for maintaining the State's list of administrative hearing and medical interpreters and overseeing the Interpreter Program. An Administrative Hearing Interpreter interprets during state department hearings before Administrative Law Judges (Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, Labor Relations Board, etc.). A Medical Interpreter provides interpreting services at medical examinations conducted for the purpose of determining compensation or monetary award in a civil case.
Each certified interpreter is issued a certification badge that is required for verification at all proceedings. The certification badge resembles a California identification card or driver’s license, and contains a current picture of the interpreter as well as a certification number that is assigned by the State of California. When contracting for an assignment, departments should ask the interpreter for their certification badge. Departments may visit the list of interpreters at Administrative Hearing and Medical Interpreter List and conduct a search by last name, first name, language, certification, county, or city. Departments are required by State law to use certified interpreters at administrative hearings and medical evaluations. Administrative law judges can provisionally certify non-certified interpreters only when attempts to find certified interpreters have been unsuccessful.
Departments may also use interpreters who are certified by the Judicial Council ("Court" interpreters) to interpret at hearings and examinations.
In the event that a certified interpreter cannot be present at the hearing or examination, the department shall have discretionary authority to provisionally qualify and use a non-certified interpreter. For medical consultations, the physician must ensure that the use of a provisionally certified interpreter is noted in the record of the medical evaluation. Departments should remember that contracting with a non-certified interpreter, or provisionally certifying an interpreter for an assignment, does not allow for the verification of the interpreter’s skill level and may jeopardize the quality of your administrative hearing or medical examination.
To become an interpreter, candidates must pass a written and oral State Certification Examination. CalHR is not currently offering interpreter examinations. Interpreters interested in obtaining certification to interpret at State proceedings may be certified by taking the court interpreter examination that can be found on the Court Interpreters Program webpage. Once certified, interpreters are eligible for placement on CalHR's list of interpreters. To place an interpreter's name on CalHR's master list of interpreters, email email@example.com with the interpreter's proof of Court certification.
A certified interpreter is responsible for carrying and displaying the required interpreter badge at all proceedings. Sharing a certified interpreter badge with a non-certified interpreter for the purpose of securing an interpreter assignment may be grounds for removal of interpreter certification.
Interpreters must renew their certification each year before July 1. Renewal materials are emailed each spring to certified administrative hearing and medical interpreters. The renewal fee is $100 per certification.
CalHR does not manage or oversee the California Court Interpreter Program. This information is for department reference only.
A court interpreter is an individual that interprets in a civil or criminal court proceeding (e.g., arraignment, motion, pretrial conference, preliminary hearing, deposition, or trial) for a witness or defendant that understands little or no English and speaks a non-English language. Court Interpreters must possess the ability to accurately interpret for individuals, which requires a high-level of formal education and training in the non-English language for which they will serve as an interpreter. Court Interpreters utilize an expansive vocabulary, including legal terminology, and must have the ability to communicate with individuals with varying levels of language skill without affecting the language register of the speaker. Interpreters may also be responsible for translating written documents, often of a legal nature, from English into the target language and/or from the target language to English. For information regarding the Certified Court Interpreter Program, access the Judicial Council's website.
The California Court Interpreter program regularly offers the California Court Interpreter Examination which certifies interpreters who may then interpret at administrative and medical proceedings for State departments. Once certified, court interpreters may request that their names be placed on the State master list of interpreters by contacting the Interpreter Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If a party or the party’s witness does not proficiently speak or understand English and before commencement of a hearing or medical examination requests language assistance, an agency subject to the language assistance requirement of the article shall provide the party or witness an interpreter.
Reference: Government Code Section 11435.05 et seq.