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Interpretation, Translation & Language Services

Why do I need Interpretation Services?

Interpretation and translation services are critical to providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services to LEP (limited English proficient) persons. Using an interpreter or translation service plays an important role in your agency’s risk management plan.

Important Links

American Translators Association


Which service do I need? Translation or Interpretation?

Interpretation provides two or more parties with the ability to communicate directly with each other in a language that is familiar and understood by each party.

Translation transforms the written word into a language that is understood by the desired audience.

Couldn't I just Use a Free Online Translation Tool?

Online tools cannot produce accurate and quality translations. These tools convert text from one language to another by breaking down the material into small segments and individual words and translating them into the desired language using algorithms and pre-existing online translations. These tools do not understand or take into consideration grammar, context, register, and tone. Using our translation services ensures you receive an accurate, quality translation. 

Family Member Interpretation

 Why can’t my client’s family member or friend interpret? 

Family members, friends, coworkers and community members should never serve as interpreters. There are a number of potential risks: loss of confidentiality, inaccurate interpretation, breach of ethics, and legal liability. Using a family member or friend negatively affects everyone: the LEP (limited English proficiency) person’s care or service, the family member providing the interpretation and the organization providing the service. Professional interpreters receive formal training and are bound by ethical standards of patient confidentiality and accurate interpreting. Professional interpreters are knowledgeable of field terminology, remain impartial and conduct themselves in a formal manner. Professional interpreters should be utilized to facilitate the most favorable results for all parties and avoid the aforementioned risks.

Risk Management Plan

 How does interpretation and translation fit into my agency’s risk management plan? 

Using professional interpretation and translation services helps mitigate risk when dealing with LEP persons, particularly in healthcare and legal settings. By not using an interpreter, an agency or provider assumes the risk for potential for loss of confidentiality, misdiagnosis, and/or uninformed consent for treatment or services. This oversight can lead to increase in liability, healthcare or legal costs and poor health or legal outcomes. Professional interpretation and translation services can decrease the risk of malpractice lawsuits or other litigation that result from a lack of clear communication between LEP and providers. 

Language Services Regulations

Title VI was enacted as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin by programs and agencies receiving federal financial assistance. Pursuant to Title VI, in 2000 the President signed Executive Order 13166, “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency” which further implements and enforces this Act. Executive Order 13166 requires federal agencies to examine and identify the need for their services to LEP persons and develop and implement a plan to ensure the LEP persons meaningful access to those services, and ensure that agencies receiving federal financial assistance are doing the same. While Executive Order 13166 is the most prominent language access law, the following regulations are also related: Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978; Americans with Disability Act of 1990 (ADA); Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA); Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (GLBA); Centers for Medicare and Medical Services (CMS); Fraud, Waste and Abuse (FWA)