The purpose of the Certified Healthcare Interpreter™ (CHI™) certification is to offer healthcare interpreters of most common in the U.S. languages a valid national professional standard that assesses their core professional knowledge and bilingual interpreting skills needed to perform the duties of the healthcare interpreter. Currently, this certification is available for interpreters of Spanish, Mandarin and Arabic (CHI-Spanish, CHI-Arabic, and CHI-Mandarin).

Interpreters seeking the CHI™ certification (in Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin) must pass two exams – the CoreCHI™ core professional exam (click here for the CoreCHI exam description) and the respective language-specific performance CHI™ exam. CHIcandidates must take and pass their bilingual performance CHI™ exam within 12 months of passing the CoreCHI™ exam. If they do not pass a CHI™ exam within 12 months, their CoreCHI™ score expires, and they must re-take the CoreCHI™ exam before taking a CHI™ exam again.

The CHI™ performance exam blueprint is developed based on the Job Task Analysis (JTA) study, which includes a national survey of practicing interpreters and validation by a panel of subject-matter experts, who are practicing interpreters (see the Report for the most recent JTA study (2022) and previous ones on the Publications page.)

The medical interpreter bilingual CHI™ performance exam consists of:

  1. four consecutive interpreting items (bidirectional dialogs, English to/from the non-English language); each dialog contains between 14-24 utterances, and each utterance within a dialog is up to 35 words long. Candidates may listen to each utterance up to 2 times before recording their response.
  2. two simultaneous interpreting items (unidirectional, one in non-English language and one in English). Each item is up to 2 minutes in duration (between 180-220 words) and can be played only once, and a response must be provided while listening to the speech (not after). Note: Items are recorded at about 120-150 words per minute (for the Mandarin items, it corresponds to 180-225 Chinese words/syllables per minute), depending on the situation. This is an average conversation-level speed. 
  3. three brief sight translation passages in English from different types of the U.S. healthcare documents to sight translate into the non-English language. Each passage is no longer than 3 sentences (up to 45 words total).
  4. one multiple-choice question testing translation skills from English to the non-English language. The English passage is between 85-110 words long.

The on-screen directions are provided before each item. Candidates are provided with paper and pencil so they can take notes as they would on the job. The notes are collected by the proctor at the end of the exam and shredded. The candidate will listen to the oral recordings of the consecutive and simultaneous vignettes and will record their oral responses via a headset connected to the computer. In the Sight Translation section of the test, the candidate will read onscreen the English text and record their oral interpretation of it into the non-English language. In the last section of the test, the candidate will read an English passage and will choose one of the four translations of the passage into the non-English language.

The CHI™ examination (for any language) is time-limited and is 60 minutes long. It is administered in a private room at a test center. Before the examination is launched, candidates perform an audio check to ensure that their headset is working and audio is recorded properly. Candidates have 15 minutes to read the directions and complete a brief tutorial in order to familiarize themselves with the exam interface. This preparatory time is not counted towards the examination time. After the actual exam is launched, the count-down timer located in the top left-hand corner of the screen will show the candidate how many minutes are left.

This is a forward-only exam, i.e., candidates cannot go back and cannot review (listen t0) the recording of the their responses.

Candidates’ responses are captured in real time on our testing vendor’s servers. After 60 minutes pass, the test is submitted automatically with all responses saved even if the candidate did not complete the whole exam.

Candidates are not allowed to take any breaks or leave the testing room during the exam. (A bathroom break may be granted only if pre-approved as an ADA accommodation and for test-center delivered exams only.) Non-compliance with this requirement will result in immediate exam terminations, filing an incident report by the proctor, and a possible disciplinary action.

The score for the CHI™ examination is emailed to the candidate within 6-8 weeks after the last date of the corresponding testing window (i.e., when all testing is done, not after a candidate’s specific test date).

The CHI™ examination is administered only during certain testing “windows” each quarter, and delivered only in a secure proctored test center environment in the U.S. Candidates are monitored and video-recorded during the entire testing process. The current CHI™ testing schedule is listed at

If the candidate experiences any issues (including technical issues) during the testing that were not resolved at the test center AND that they feel will affect the outcome of the exam, the candidate must notify the proctor before they leave the test center and ask the proctor to file an issue report with CCHI. The candidate must ALSO contact CCHI separately at within 24 hours of taking their exam to report any issue(s). All communication with CCHI about testing experience must be in writing.

CCHI updates the exam content domains and weightings based on the job task analysis study which is conducted every 6-7 years. Candidates will be informed in advance of any changes to the exam content domains and/or weightings.

The new CHI™-Spanish Exam Specifications, effective as of October 1, 2023 , are available here.

The CHI™ Exam Specifications for Arabic and Mandarin candidates are available here. Note: The difference in specifications relates only to the weighting of the items which are based on the JTA results (e.g., percentage of the consecutive items). The weightings will align with the CHI-Spanish exam for Arabic candidates in April 2024, and for Mandarin candidates in July 2024. All the other parameters of the CHI exam are the same for all CHI candidates regardless of the language.

The PowerPoint slides about the CHI™ Exam Interface are available here.

CCHI’s CHI-Spanish certification program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies since 2012.

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