The certification of medical interpreters has been in development since 1986.

This timeline gives an overview of the development throughout the years.

May 2020 Hub-CMI credential is launched

January 2018 Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Vietnamese CMI brought together under the same nationally accepted standards and criteria

June 2017 Conducted 2nd National Job Analysis of the Certified Medical Interpreter

January 2017 Official launch of new and interactive website

January 2014 Vietnamese oral exam launched

November 2013 Validation report published for Mandarin, Russian, Cantonese, Korean, and Vietnamese

July 2013 Korean oral exam launched

March 2013 Cantonese and Mandarin oral exams launched

January 2013 Russian oral exam launched

December 2012 NBCMI's CMI-Spanish credential becomes accredited by the NCCA

April 2010 Spanish oral exam launched and first CMIs earned

April 2010 Validation report published for Spanish oral exam

December 2009 National Certification becomes available for the first time

November 2009 National Board Officers Selected

October 2009 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 2009 Started lobbying at Washington, DC for reimbursement of credentialed medical interpreters

June 2009 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 2009 Third Annual National Certification of Medical Interpreters Forum in Denver, CO

May 2009 NCIHC announced the formal initiation of the development of National Standards for Healthcare Interpreter Training Programs

March 2009 NCC start holding forums across the country to ask stakeholders if the field is ready for certification

March 2009 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, Represented by, Izabel Arocha, M.Ed., CMI-Spanish, President

February 2009 LLU and IMIA conducted a Job Analysis

January 2009 NCC announces that they are changing their direction to develop a certification instrument
https://nbcmi.memberclicks.net/assets/docs/history/nccrelease final 1 28 09%20logo 2.pdf

January 2009 LLU and IMIA announced that they were coalescing their certification efforts

December 2008 NCIHC sent a letter to the NCC to reconsider its direction to change it to develop a certification instrument

September 2008 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 2008 NCC members first meeting held in Chicago

May 2008 LLS convenes the second Medical Interpreter Certification Forum in Portland, OR

December 2007 National Coordinating Committee formed (ATA, CHIA, IMIA and NCIHC)

October 2007 NCIHC invites IMIA, CHIA and ATA to convene the first meeting of the National Coalition on Certification

September 2007 NCIHC receives money from The California Endowment to advance certification

June 2007 ISG Minnesota convenes Expert Panel

May 2007 LLS convenes the 1st National Medical Interpreter Certification Forum in Boston, MA

April 2007 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

March 2007 LLS invites leaders of the industry to join forces to develop a timeline to move certification forward

January 2007 Article published in ATA Chronicle about National Certification

2006-2007 NCIHC holds 12 forums across the country to ask stakeholders if the field was ready for certification

April 2007 MMIA changed its name to the IMIA (International Medical Interpreters Association

October 2006 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 [email protected]

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

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