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The certification of medical interpreters has been in development since 1986. This timeline gives an overview of the development throughout the years. 09 National Certification becomes available for the first time

Nov 09 National Board Officers Selected

Oct 09 Independent National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters formed and announced at the IMIA Conference along with the launch of registration for the National Board certification

July 09 Started lobbying at Washington, DC for reimbursement of credentialed medical interpreters

June 09 Public call for stakeholders to join NBCMI as a National Board, as a Task Force member, a Subject Matter Expert or a pilot participant.

May 09 Third Annual National Certification of Medical Interpreters Forum in Denver, CO

May 09 NCIHC announced the formal initiation of the development of National Standards for Healthcare Interpreter Training Programs

Mar 09 NCC start holding forums across the country to ask stakeholders if the field is ready for certification

Mar 09 The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (National Board) was founded and announced at CHIA Conference - Founders: Language Line Services, CEO Louis F. Provenzano, Jr. and the International Medical Interpreters Association, Izabel Arocha, M.Ed., CMI-Spanish,  President

Feb 09 LLU and IMIA conducted a Job Analysis

Jan. 28, 09 NCC announces that they are changing their direction to develop a certification instrument

Jan. 21, 09 LLU and IMIA announced that they were coalescing their certification efforts

Dec 08 NCIHC sent a letter to the NCC to reconsider its direction to change it to develop a certification instrument

Sept 08 NCC members meeting held in Minnesota where it was decided that the direction of the coalition was to develop standards to ensure that the certification process was credible, valid, inclusive and transparent.

May 08 NCC members first meeting held in Chicago

May 08 LLS convenes the second Medical Interpreter Certification Forum in Portland, OR

Dec 07 National Coordinating Committee formed (ATA, CHIA, IMIA and NCIHC)

Oct 07 NCIHC invites IMIA, CHIA and ATA to convene the first meeting of the National Coalition on Certification

Sept 07 NCIHC receives money from The California Endowment to advance certification

Jun 07 ISG Minnesota convenes Expert Panel

May 07 LLS convenes the 1st National Medical Interpreter Certification Forum in Boston, MA

Apr 07 NCIHC sends a letter to their members about not accepting the invitation from LLS to join forces to move certification forward & decides not to participate at the 1st National Medical Interpreter Certification Forum

Mar 07 LLS invites leaders of the industry to join forces to develop a timeline to move certification forward

Jan 07 Article published in ATA Chronicle about National Certification

2006-07 NCIHC holds 12 forums across the country to ask stakeholders if the field was ready for certification

Apr 07 MMIA changed its name to the IMIA (International Medical Interpreters Association

Oct 06 MMIA calls for a collaborative national certification effort and forms the Consortium of Interpreter Associations (COIA)

2006 TCE publishes “A Primer, a Status Report, and Considerations for National Certification”

2005 MMIA expert group meeting in Boston

2005 NCIHC publishes its National Standards of Practice for Interpreters in Health Care

2004 NCIHC publishes National Code of Ethics for Interpreters in Health Care

2003 Indiana sets up a commission to develop a certification process

2003 MMIA performs the second pilot of its certification instrument in conjunction with CHIA and NCIHC with a grant from the DHHS Office of Minority Health

2002 CHIA publishes the California Standards for Healthcare Interpreters

2002 LLU developed Medical Interpreter Certification test started to be offered to their customers

2001 Oregon passes a law to develop qualification and certification of medical interpreters

2001 MMIA performs the first pilot of its certification instrument

2001 NCIHC publishes “Guide to Initial Assessment of Interpreter Qualifications”

1999 LLU developed the Medical Certification test for interpreters for internal use only

1998 MMIA Standards of Practice adopted nationally by Working Group (currently known as the NCIHC), Seattle WA

1995 Washington, first state to certify interpreters that worked for the Department of Health

1995 MMIA and EDC published the Medical Interpreting Standards of Practice, as first step to develop certification

1987 MMIA publishes the first Code of Ethics for medical interpreter

1986 MMIA (currently known as the IMIA) incorporated with bylaws stating objective to develop & maintain certification


 For questions, please contact info [at] certifiedmedicalinterpreters [dot] org

Acronyms reference:
ATA-American Translators Association
CHIA-California Healthcare Interpreting Association
EDC-Educational Development Center
HHS-Health and Human Services
IMIA-International Medical Interpreters Association
ISG-Interpreter Stakeholder Group
LLU-Language Line University a branch of Language Line Services
LLS-Language Line Services
NBCMI-National Board of Certification of Medical Interpreters
NCC-National Coalition on Certification
NCIHC-National Council of Interpreting in Health Care
TCE-The California Endowment