Interpreter Services

You, the health care or vocational provider, are responsible for deciding whether an interpreter is needed, and must arrange and confirm all appointments. You are also responsible for making sure your patient/client has an accepted, open claim with L&I and that the interpreter is certified, with an active L&I provider ID. Following a new law (RCW 39.26.300) to improve meaningful access to spoken language interpreter services, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is launching a new spoken language interpreter scheduling system. Learn more about this new system by visiting the tabs below. 

Scheduling System Update

New procedures for out of state providers 

Providers practicing outside of Washington State (out of state providers) treating Washington workers’ compensation patients in the following zip codes must use interpretingWorks to request an interpreter for scheduled, in-person, spoken language appointments.

  • Oregon zip codes starting with 970, 971, 972, and 978.
  • Idaho zip codes starting with 835 and 838. 

If you are an out of state provider within these zip codes:

  1. For scheduled, in-person appointments with your patients:
    1. Use interpretingWorks to request an in-person interpreter
    2. Request telephonic interpretation via CTS Language Link
    3. Request Video Remote Interpretation via CTS Language Link
  2. For emergency, walk-in, and urgent care (non-scheduled appointments):
    1. Use individual interpreters with an L&I provider account number, present in the clinic.
    2. Request telephonic interpretation via CTS Language Link
    3. Request Video Remote Interpretation via CTS Language Link

If you are an out of state provider outside of these zip codes:

  1. For all appointments:
    1. Request telephonic interpretation via CTS Language Link
    2. Request Video Remote Interpretation via CTS Language Link
    3. Use individual interpreters with an L&I provider account number, present in the clinic

Find scheduling instructions on the "How to Arrange for an Interpreter" tab.


For more information, please review the updated Frequently Asked Questions documents: 

Questions? Contact us at interpretation@lni.wa.gov.

How to Arrange for an Interpreter

The healthcare or vocational provider determines the need for interpreter services and makes all arrangements. When referring the worker to another provider, please notify the provider of the worker's interpreter needs. Interpreter services are a covered benefit for all injured workers who have an open and allowed claim, including self-insured and crime victims.

Options for arranging interpreter services:

1. Scheduled In-Person Appointments

Providers must use the interpreter scheduling system through interpretingWorks. There is no need for prior authorization on open and allowed claims. Visit interpretingWorks for registration instructions. The interpretingWorks system is available for use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The vendor provides technical assistance and support, including dispatchers who can help with scheduling issues. To contact a dispatcher, call 800-905-0896 Ext#5. 

In-person interpreting is most appropriate for complex, sensitive medical interpreting, such as:

      • Sharing bad news.
      • Worsening health conditions.
      • Treating a head injury.
      • Neuropsychological testing.
      • Conscious sedation procedures.
      • Hands-on teaching or demonstrations.

Note: L&I cannot reimburse interpreters who are family or friends of the worker, or for legal purposes, such as attorney appointments, legal conferences, depositions, or testimony at the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, or any court.

2. Urgent, Emergent, or Walk-in Appointments

Providers may directly contact an interpreter for a patient or client for urgent, emergent, or walk-in appointments. Use the L&I Lookup Tool for last-minute appointments where advanced notice isn't possible to arrange an interpreter. 

Note: L&I cannot reimburse interpreters who are family or friends of the worker, or for legal purposes, such as attorney appointments, legal conferences, depositions, or testimony at the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, or any court.

3. By phone through CTS Language Link

Healthcare or vocational providers may use over-the-phone interpreter services. Benefits include:

      • Real-time access to over 300 languages.
      • No appointment needed.
      • Quick access: In most cases, a telephonic interpreter can be on the phone within 30-60 seconds.

Healthcare providers, both in and out of state, may request interpreter services by calling one of the phone numbers below. Please have the claim ID, the worker's name, the required language, and the employer or third-party administrator name available when calling

CTS Language Link
Medical Providers: 877-626-0678
VOC Counselors: 844-303-7212
Activity Coaches: 844-303-5430

Note: Providers cannot use CTS Language Link for appointment reminders or rescheduling appointments with the worker. 

4. By video through CTS Language Link

Healthcare or vocational providers may use video remote interpretation (VRI) services for telehealth appointments with state fund workers or crime victims. Benefits include:

      • On-demand and pre-scheduled appointments available.
      • HIPAA compliant. 
      • App available for download on Apple and Android devices. 
      • Up to 4 participants may join. If video fails, it is easy to reengage the dropped participant by calling them back into the service. 

Healthcare and vocational providers, both in and out of state, may request VRI services by following these steps:

      1. Conduct a systems network test by following these instructions
      2. Email CTS Language Link at ClientRelations@Language.Link. Include your L&I provider ID, full name, company name, and email address. CTS Language Link will confirm the provider number is active with L&I. Once the account is authorized by CTS Language Link, you may begin using VRI services for telehealth appointments. 
      3. Review the CTS Language Link VRI user guide. Send all questions to ClientRelations@Language.Link.

Questions on VRI or phone services? Please contact ClientRelations@Language.Link directly. 

Note: Self-insured claims aren't covered for CTS Language Link VRI services as of June 11, 2021. Check back for updates. 

Information for Interpreters

Interpreters are responsible for following the safety policies of the facility they are working in.

(L&I does NOT maintain interpreter background checks or vaccination records.)

To provide scheduled appointment interpretation, register with L&I's scheduling system, interpretingWorks.

Interpreter agencies may no longer bill L&I. 

An L&I provider ID isn't required to sign up with the scheduling system. A unique L&I provider ID is required for on-demand appointments. 

The following is required to set up an account with interpretingWorks: 

After registration is complete, submit the following to interpretingWorks in PDF form:

  • Driver's license,
  • W-9,
  • Background check,
  • DSHS certificate,
  • Photo.

How to become a certified L&I interpreter for emergency, urgent care, or walk in appointments only

  1. Apply for an L&I provider ID.
  2. Learn how to properly bill L&I for services at an L&I Billing Workshop. A billing workshop will help you:
    • Save time and money and will count towards DSHS continuing education requirements.
    • Get information about how to submit an Interpreter Service Appointment Record (ISAR), required for all interpreters.
    • Find interpreter resources and tools for doing business with L&I.
    • With one-on-one help from L&I Provider Account Representatives.

    What interpreter services are NOT covered?

    The following services are not reimbursable:

    • Services provided on a claim that has been closed or denied, except for:
      • When it is the first doctor visit, or
      • A doctor's visit to file a reopening application, or
      • A worker receiving a pension with a treatment order
    • A missed appointment for any service, except IME appointments.
    • Personal assistance on behalf of the injured worker or the provider, such as:
      • Scheduling or confirming appointments
      • Translating correspondence
      • Making phone calls
    • Translating documents requested by the client or anyone else other than L&I.
    • Interpreting anything for the health care or vocational provider that doesn't relate to the injury.
    • Travel time and travel related expenses, such as:
      • Meals
      • Parking
      • Lodging
    • Overhead costs, such as:
      • Phone calls
      • Photocopying
      • Preparation of bills
  3. L&I's expectations for interpreters.
  • Accurately interpret everything said during the appointment, with consideration given to linguistic and cultural differences. Asking for clarification is encouraged.
  • Respect the confidentiality of the client.
  • Let the provider know if you have a relationship to the patient or client that could affect the objectivity of your interpretation-- or give that impression.
  • Accurately and completely represent credentials, training, and experience to all parties.
  • Not arrange appointments in order to create business or to fit your schedule, such as canceling or rescheduling a worker's medical appointment. The providers arrange interpreter services.
  • Not provide transportation to or from health care or vocational appointments.
  • Follow WAC 388-03-050, and the ethics established by the certification/authorization you have obtained.
  • Comply with all requirements of the facilities you work with, such as background checks and vaccination history.
  • Verify identity and comply with any other security requirement. (Note: L&I doesn't maintain this information for interpreters.)
  • Sign up for the Interpreter Listserv. Enter your email address, click submit, then check the box under "Claims & Insurance" next to "Interpreter Services at L&I" to stay up to date. 
Workers Have a Right to Interpreter Services

If you are a worker with an open and allowed L&I claim, your healthcare or vocational provider is required to arrange an interpreter, if they believe it is necessary. This service is free to you. If you need to call L&I, you may request an interpreter in any language, and one will be available within minutes.

For more information, see L&I's Language Services webpage.