Other California Interpreter Certifications

In addition to court, there are two other interpreter certifications under California Government Code Section 11435.05-65: Administrative Hearing and Medical. The California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) maintains the list of Medical and Administrative Hearing interpreters.

Administrative Hearing

Administrative Hearing certification is required to interpret at administrative law proceedings, for example at the Workers Compensation board or at depositions for workers comp cases. Other administrative law areas include the DMV, insurance, and unemployment.


California's Medical certification is a medical-legal certification required to interpret for medical evaluations used as evidence in either administrative or civil law proceedings. In workers comp, these evaluations are called QME (Qualified Medical Evaluator) or AME (Agreed Medical Evaluator), and in civil they are called IME (Independent Medical Evaluator).

For information about healthcare interpreting, visit my colleagues at the California Healthcare Interpreters Association (CHIA).

From the CalHR Bilingual Services Program website:

Administrative Hearing and Medical Interpreter Program

Government Code Sections 11435.05-11435.65 requires 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.

Certified interpreters are issued a certification badge that is required for verification at all proceedings. The certification badge resembles California identification and 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 by going to the Administrative Hearing and Medical Interpreter List and conducting a search by last name, first name, language, certification, county, or city. Departments are required by State law to use certified interpreters whenever possible at administrative hearings and medical evaluations.

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 anon- certified interpreter. For medication examinations, the physician must ensure that the use of a provisionally certified interpreter is noted in the record of the medical evaluation. Department 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 interpreter@calhr.ca.gov 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 beginning July 1. Renewal materials are mailed each spring to certified administrative hearing and medical interpreters. Renewal fee is $100 per certification.

The state is currently not offering exams to obtain the Administrative Hearing or Medical certifications. They refer candidates to the court certification program instead.

For more info see the CalHR Bilingual Services Program or the Administrative Hearing and Medical Interpreter Listing.