The Language Exchange
The Language Exchange
PO BOX 750
716 E. Fairhaven Ave.
Burlington, Washington 98233

How to Become a Certified Interpreter or Translator

Thank you for your interest in becoming a certified interpreter or translator!

certified_interpreter_translatorThe Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)/Language Testing Certification (LTC) office in Olympia manages all certified interpreter and translator state testing. Tests are given regularly in either Olympia or Yakima for medical, social services, and written translations.

Simply schedule an exam online at Study materials are also available on the DSHS/LTC website.


Certification exams are offered for the following languages: Cambodian, Laotian, Korean, Spanish, Chinese-Cantonese, Chinese-Mandarin, Russian and Vietnamese. All other languages take a similar “screening test” and are considered authorized languages. The written test must be taken first and takes approximately 1 hour. Written test results should arrive within 2-4 weeks. When you have passed the written test, you can then apply to take the oral test. The oral exam includes consecutive interpreting and sight translation. Oral test results should arrive within 4-6 weeks.

Simply schedule an exam online at Study materials are also available on the DSHS/LTC website.


Currently, there are two organizations offering national certification for medical interpreters: Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) and National Board for Certification of Medical Interpreters (NBCMI) Please visit their websites for more information.


The American Translators Association (ATA) also offers certification for written translations.

For more information on the testing process, call ATA at 1-703-683-6100 or visit their website ATA certification is preferred by many translation agencies as it is recognized worldwide.

Read here for more information on Freelance Translating


The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) offers training and certification/registration for legal interpreters. Court certification/registration also includes a written and an oral exam. The court exams require simultaneous interpreting skills, familiarity with the Washington State court system, and legal terminology.  For more information about court interpreting please visit AOC’s website:

Please contact us with your results! Be sure to check out our Blog for Interpreters and current information on upcoming workshops!