Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is language proficiency?

    Language (linguistic) proficiency is the ability of an individual to communicate or perform (their regular job) in a specific language. Proficient speakers demonstrate both accuracy and fluency, and use a variety of discourse strategies.

    For interpreters, language proficiency in two languages is a starting point; they also must possess interpreting skills which enable them to successfully covert the meaning from one language into another.

    There exist several reputable language proficiency scales:

    ILR scale: The U.S. Interagency Language Roundtable descriptions of proficiency levels 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 characterize spoken-language use (http://www.govtilr.org/Skills/ILRscale1.htm).

    ACTFL scale: Developed from the U.S. Federal Government’s ILR scale by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, the ACTFL proficiency scale has four main levels (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Superior). The first three levels are each subdivided into three sublevels (Low, Mid, and High) (https://www.languagetesting.com/actfl-proficiency-scale).

    CEFR scale: The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment is a guideline used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages across Europe and, increasingly, in other countries. The CEFR distinguishes between four kinds of language activities: reception (listening and reading), production (spoken and written), interaction (spoken and written), and mediation (translating and interpreting). Four broad domains are distinguished: educational, occupational, public, and personal. A language user can develop various degrees of competence in each of these domains and to help describe them the CEFR has provided a set of six Common Reference Levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2). (http://ebcl.eu.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/CEFR-all-scales-and-all-skills.pdf)

    IELTS scale: The International English Language Testing System is an international standardized test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. It is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment. No minimum score is required to pass the test. An IELTS result or Test Report Form is issued to all test takers with a score from “band 1” (“non-user”) to “band 9” (“expert user”) and each institution sets a different threshold. (https://www.ielts.org/en-us/about-the-test/how-ielts-is-scored)

    TOEFL scale: Test of English as a Foreign Language is a standardized test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enroll in English-speaking universities. TOEFL is scored on a scale of 0 to 120 points by adding scores from each of the four sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing) which each receives a scaled score from 0 to 30. The test is accepted by many English-speaking academic and professional institutions; each institution establishes the minimally accepted score which varies from 61 to 111. (https://www.ets.org/toefl/institutions/scores/interpret/)

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  • What language proficiency tests do you accept?

    CCHI does not have a preference about and does not approve/recommend any specific language proficiency testing services. In addition to the testing entities like LTI (https://www.languagetesting.com) and TOEFL (English proficiency, https://www.ets.org/toefl), such testing can be provided by a college, a language company or an employer utilizing their specific vendor.

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  • How can I change or add an email or phone number to my CCHI account (profile)?

    Please review these screenshots of the CCHI’s online application system at Your Profile.

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  • If I’ve developed or taught healthcare interpreter training programs, will this satisfy the 40-hour requirement of healthcare interpreter training?

    Yes, if you have taught 40 hours of courses related to healthcare interpreter training and can document this. If you have developed a healthcare interpreter training program that has been administered, you may also count the number of hours the course runs (you may not count number of hours you spent developing the course). The application requires you to upload the necessary documentation (as one pdf file for 1 course):

    1. Proof of training delivery – any publicity material (flyer, ad, brochure, conference schedule, etc.) about their training which lists the following information:

    • Credential holder’s name and designation as instructor/presenter/trainer.
    • The title (topic) or name of the educational event.
    • The name of the training entity (organization or individual) delivering the course,
    • The date(s) of the event.
    • The number of actual contact hours of the event.

    2. Proof of training experience (e.g., Curriculum Vitae, personal or advisor’s attestation) specifying delivery of any combination of academic and non-academic (conferences, workshops, in-service).

    • 40 hours of training interpreters (any setting, including basic/beginner level training)
    • 40 hours of other training (e.g., language instructor at school or college, cultural competence trainer, instructor of nursing).

    If the number of hours of the curriculum is less than 40, only the amount that has been taught will be applied toward the 40-hour requirement.  Likewise, if the applicant created a healthcare interpreter training program less than 40 hours he/she will only be awarded the exact amount of the training program.

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  • Do you have a newsletter? Where can I see the previous issues?

    Yes, we publish an electronic newsletter to our subscribers. To see the previous issues, please go to the CCHI Stakeholders webpage at http://cchicertification.org/our-community/ and click on the blue bar “CCHI Newsletters”.

    To subscribe, enter your email in the subscription field at the bottom of on any page.

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  • What ADA accommodations does CCHI provide for its exams?

    Whenever possible, CCHI is committed to providing reasonable accommodation in its examination processes to individuals with disabilities, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    Appropriate accommodations will be provided to qualified individuals with disabilities to the extent that such accommodation does not fundamentally alter the examination, or cause an undue burden to CCHI or the agency administering the examination.

    It is the responsibility of individuals with disabilities to notify CCHI in writing of the applicant’s need for an accommodation and submit the pertinent supporting documentation in electronic format at the time of submitting a request for scheduling an exam via our online application system no later than 45 days before the examination date.

    There are two ways to notify CCHI of the ADA accommodation request:

    • If a special need or disability is present at the time of submitting the application or paying for a CCHI examination and before receiving a Notice to Schedule, the applicant should choose the “Request ADA Accommodation” option before they select the orange “Pay fees” button in the online application system. At this time the applicant will be directed to explain the nature of their request and to upload necessary documentation in an electronic format.
    • If a special need or disability occurs after the applicant has already received their Notice to Schedule, they must complete and submit via email to apply@cchicertification.org the CCHI’s ADA Accommodation Request Form (click here to download this form or see it in Appendix E of the Candidate’s Examination Handbook), along with the supporting documentation.

    Regardless of how the ADA accommodation request is submitted – via the online application system or via email – an applicant/candidate must state the type of accommodation(s) needed, in addition to providing current and appropriate documentation of the disability. The applicant’s/candidate’s request will not be considered complete and reviewed without the CCHI’s ADA Accommodation Request Form.

    The documentation provided in CCHI’s ADA Accommodation Request Form must not be more than three years old from the date of the application. It should include correspondence from a healthcare provider who has first-hand knowledge of the disability, describing the nature of the disability and specific recommendations regarding the type of accommodation required to address the disability. The letter should be on the letterhead stationery of the healthcare provider in question, and include his or her title, address, phone number, and original signature.

    The applicant/candidate grants CCHI permission to contact the professionals who submitted documentation in support of a request for accommodation in order to obtain further clarification concerning a request.

    Examples of requests for special testing accommodations that may be granted include: modification of seating or other physical arrangements in the examination facility; providing for the examination to be taken in an accessible location; or providing for a reasonable extension of testing time.

    Examples of requests for special testing accommodations that may be denied include: modification of the content of an objective multiple-choice examination; providing for unlimited testing time; permitting a reader to paraphrase test material or translate the material into another language.

    All accommodation determinations will be made by CCHI at its discretion. Failure to notify CCHI of needed accommodation(s) in one’s application or no later than 45 days before scheduling an exam may result in the accommodations not being available at the time of the examination.

    Applicants/candidates shall not hold CCHI accountable for any lack of appropriate accommodation deriving from the applicant’s/candidate’s own failure to notify CCHI of their needs on a timely basis. Once special accommodations have been granted, they may not be altered during the examination.

    For more information visit our Policies page and click on the blue bar “ADA Accommodation Procedures.”

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  • How is the CHI score calculated? What do the percentages on my score report mean?

    You need to look at your score report from the perspective that it states two separate things: the overall scaled score, and how well you did in specific parts of the test. There is no relationship between the percentages reported for the parts of the test (subdomains) and the overall scaled score. We report the percentage correct for 3 subdomains: consecutive interpreting, simultaneous interpreting, and sight translation/translation. The percentage correct for a part of the test (subdomain, e.g. consecutive interpreting) is computed as the portion of the points that you earned relative to the number of points it is possible to earn in that part.  For example, if the maximum number of points that it is possible to earn in a part of the test is 72 and you earned 51 points, the percentage on your score report would be 71%.

    Your total score is not the average of your performance in subdomains. Please recognize that since the examination is scored on a totality, the percentages reported for subdomains are intended only as a guide. In order to improve your score, if you failed an exam, you need to practice and improve all modes of interpreting.

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  • What is tested on the oral performance exam (Arabic, Mandarin, Spanish)? What are the exam specifications?

    CCHI’s CHI™ performance exam (“oral” exam) tests candidate’s skills and abilities in healthcare interpreting in a language-specific modality. It contains 8 items distributed across the following domains:

    Interpret Consecutively (75%)
    Interpret Simultaneously (14%)
    Sight Translate (9%)
    Translate Healthcare Documents (2%)

    Review the CHI™ Exam Specifications for more info.

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  • What is tested on the written exam? What specifications does it have?

    CCHI’s CoreCHI™ knowledge exam (“written” exam) tests candidate’s knowledge about healthcare interpreting. It has 100 questions distributed across the following domains:

    Professional Responsibility and Interpreter Ethics (22% of the exam)
    Manage the Interpreting Encounter (22%)
    Healthcare Terminology (22%)
    U. S. Healthcare System (15%)
    Cultural Responsiveness (19%)

    Review the CoreCHI™ Exam Specifications for more info.

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  • Can I get an ID card with my photo, a photo ID badge?

    Yes, you may purchase a CCHI photo ID badge verifying your certification. Click here for details.

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