Updates for Interpreters and Interpreter Agencies

Important Notices

Legislative Report on Interpreting in Health Care Settings

The Minnesota Department of Health has published a report to the Minnesota Legislature regarding health care interpreting. It is available for download in PDF format at 2015 Legislative Report on Interpreting in Health Care Settings: Recommendations for a Tiered Registry (PDF: 3MB/114 pages).

The report details the MDH’s recommendations for a tiered, verified registry to replace the current Spoken Language Health Care Interpreter Roster. Please note that these recommendations do not change current laws. The Minnesota Legislature will review these recommendations in the coming months. They may choose to accept, reject or modify the recommendations to form a new law.

Our recommendations are a result of discussions with interpreters and other stakeholders in Minnesota, identification of best practices in medical interpreting across the nation, and an analysis of fiscal capacities within the department and appropriate fee levels for interpreters.

We have proposed these recommendations to the Legislature to better ensure that all limited English proficient (LEP) Minnesotans have access to quality medical care.

We would like to thank the more than 650 interpreters and stakeholders who have helped with this process in so many ways.

Interpreter Project Update

An update on the work the Minnesota Department of Health has been doing to recommend qualifications for spoken language health interpreters is available for download in PDF format at Update for Interpreters and Stakeholders (PDF: 494KB/5 pages). On December 19, 2014, this update was emailed to stakeholders who had participated in the engagement process and to all interpreters on the MDH Roster. 

The update includes:

  • A summary of our draft recommendations
  • How we involved interpreters and other stakeholders and asked for their input
  • The Registry Guide, explaining the recommended registry tiers
  • The Legislative Guide, explaining the costs

We welcome your feedback about the drafted recommendations. If you would like to share your thoughts, please respond to the following three questions and send your response to Hannah.Volkman@state.mn.us. We will accept responses until January 6, 2015.

  1. What details of the recommendations do you feel will improve the quality of care for limited English proficient individuals?
  2. Do you have any concerns with the drafted recommendations?
  3. What changes would you recommend to reduce those concerns?

Survey opportunity

The Minnesota Department of Health has created a survey so you can share your thoughts about the Spoken Language Health Care Interpreter Project. Go to Health Care Interpreter Survey to participate. The survey will be available until 11:55 p.m. on Friday, December 5.

Invitation to participate in group listening sessions

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will be emailing roster members invitations to participate in group listening sessions with MDH staff. The sessions are a critical component of broad stakeholder engagement meant to inform the drafting of a bill regarding spoken language healthcare interpreters in Minnesota. More information about the project can be found on the Spoken Language Healthcare Interpreter Legislation Project page.

These sessions will be held in October and November 2014 in public places and in large group settings. The invitation email and all communication will originate from a @state.mn.us email address. MDH is NOT requesting any one-on-one interviews with roster members. For reasons of safety, we encourage you not to meet with anyone unless you can verify their identity and you meet in an area visible to the public.

If you have any questions or concerns about this notice or would like to verify any invitations received from the MDH, please contact us at 651-201-3500.

Person claiming to represent the Minnesota Department of Health has been calling interpreters

A person claiming to represent the Minnesota Department of Health has been calling interpreters on the roster and asking to interview them during the evening, at a hotel. The Minnesota Department of Health is NOT requesting interviews with interpreters. For reasons of safety, we encourage you not to meet with anyone unless you can verify their identity and you meet in an area visible to the public.

If you have any questions or concerns about this notice, contact the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-3721.

Email Addresses

It is your responsibility to keep a current email address on record with the Department of Health by updating your on-line interpreter profile. If your email address is not current, you will not receive a notice when your roster listing is about to expire. Nor will you receive periodic emails providing critical information about the practice of interpreting in Minnesota.

Ethical Responsibilities

As a practicing healthcare interpreter, you are expected to adhere to published codes of ethics for interpreters who work in the field of health care. You can review those codes of ethics:

Please pay particular attention to the following provisions from NCIHC:

The interpreter maintains the boundaries of the professional role, refraining from personal involvement.
If you have a personal relationship with an individual, you should not act as an interpreter for this individual. If you must interpret for this individual because of limited numbers of people who speak a language, you must keep your role as an interpreter separate from your other interactions with this individual or his or her family. You may not use information you learn while interpreting for your own interests. This means you cannot use that information to try to keep a client or to become the interpreter for client's family members.

The interpreter strives to render the message accurately, conveying the context and spirit of the original message, taking into consider its cultural context.
The interpreter must convey everything that is said by the medical provider and the client in its entirety. You cannot respond for a client based on what you know or think you know about the client. You must interpret all dialogs between the client and the provider. This includes questions and answers about contact information for the client, as well as medical information.

Previous Updates

Updated Wednesday, February 04, 2015 at 02:08PM