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™ examination (for any language) is time-limited and is 60 minutes long. 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 medical interpreter bilingual performance exam consists of:

  1. four consecutive interpreting items (bidirectional, English to/from the non-English language)
  2. two simultaneous interpreting items (unidirectional, one in non-English language and one in English). 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
  4. one multiple-choice question testing translation skills from English to the non-English language.

The on-screen directions are provided before each item. 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.

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.

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 in a secure proctored test center environment in the U.S. 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 full text of the current CHI™ Exam Specifications is available here.

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

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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