Appendix F: Interpreter, Translator, and Communication Services

Revision 19-1, Effective March 1, 2019



An interpreter conveys messages between people without contributing to the dialogue.

Use interpreter services to facilitate consumer communication in the independent living process. Qualified personnel provide interpreter services and include the use of sign language and oral interpretation for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and tactile interpretation for persons who are deafblind.

Maintaining Consumer Confidentiality

The service provider informs the interpreter and consumer that information provided is maintained in confidence.

Using Certified Interpreters

The service provider uses certified interpreters when possible.

For a list of certified interpreters, refer to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHHS) Resources page.

A certified interpreter holds at least one of the following current certificates of competency from one of the following organizations:

  • Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID)
    • Interpreter Certificate
    • Transliteration Certificate
    • Reverse Skills Certificate
    • Comprehensive Skills Certificate
    • Master Comprehensive Skills Certificate
    • Legal Skills Certificate
  • Board for Evaluation of Interpreters, HHSC Office for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS):
    • Level I
    • Level II
    • Level III Certificate
    • Level IV Certificate
    • Level V Certificate:
      • Basic
      • Advanced
      • Master

Additional information is available on the DHHS page Situations and Recommended Interpreter Certification Levels.

Using Noncertified Interpreters

Use a noncertified interpreter who is otherwise competent to interpret when a certified interpreter is not available. In these cases, get the consumer's written approval before hiring the interpreter.

Do not use a noncertified interpreter in the following settings:

  • Medical
  • Legal
  • Psychiatric

Purchasing Interpreter Services

Make every effort to plan service delivery according to the regular (day) rates. The service provider will need to establish a contract with a local interpreter service.

Translator Services

Provide translator services for the consumer:

  • in the native language of the consumer, if the consumer’s ability to speak English is limited; and
  • in the mode of communication that the consumer uses.

The service provider must maintain a list of translators by name, address, phone number, and language spoken and must update the list at least annually.

The service provider informs the translator and consumer that information provided will be maintained in confidence.

Guidelines for Translator Services

When the consumer has a limited ability to speak English, make every effort to locate a translator who:

  • can effectively communicate in the person's native language;
  • is impartial;
  • maintains the confidentiality of the consumer’s information; and
  • is acceptable to the consumer.

Obtain help in identifying translators from organizations such as high schools, colleges, universities, the local chamber of commerce, churches, or private translator services, where representatives of the consumer's particular ethnic group may be found.

Use a speakerphone to communicate with the translator when it is not practical for the translator to be present.

When the service provider sponsors a training program or other group services, ensure that the consumer who has a limited ability to speak English receives adequate help from:

  • the translator;
  • an individual volunteer;
  • a community organization; or
  • other resources.