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 first tab, below. 

Scheduling System Update

The interpretingWorks Scheduling System goes live April 12

Register now! 

Please register today. After April 12, 2021, providers should request interpreters for scheduled, in-person appointments through the new interpretingWorks online system. 

For a short amount of time to ensure a seamless transition to our new system, current scheduling agencies will be allowed to continue scheduling interpreter appointments. Advanced notice will be provided when this will no longer be allowed. 

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.

Please sign up for the new online system now, before it goes live, so you can be ready for immediate use after April 12, 2021. Visit interpretingWorks to see instructions about how to register.

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

Questions? Contact us at

How to Arrange for an Interpreter

The health care or vocational provider determine the need for interpreter services and makes all arrangements. Interpreter services are a covered benefit for all injured workers, including self-insured and crime victims, who have an open and allowed claim.

To find an interpreter, use L&I's Interpreter Lookup Service.

(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.)

Two options for arranging interpreter services:

  1. In-person
    Providers may directly contact an interpreter for a patient or client for urgent, emergent, or walk-in appointments. For scheduled appointments, use the Interpreter Scheduling System. There is no need for prior authorization on open and allowed claims.

    In-person interpreting is most appropriate for complex, sensitive medical interpreting and life-threatening situations, for example:

    • Sharing bad news.
    • Worsening health conditions.
    • Treating a head injury.
    • Neuropsychological testing.
    • Conscious sedation procedures.
    • Hands-on teaching or demonstrations.
  2. By phone
    Health care or vocational providers may use over-the-phone interpreter services for in-person contact with workers. 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.

    Health care providers, both in-and out-of-state, may request interpreter services through CTS Language Link, or Lionbridge:

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

    Temporarily unavailable

IMPORTANT: Health care and vocational providers must:

  • Arrange all interpreter services and offer them at their own locations.
  • Notify interpreter needs to other providers they may refer their patient or client to.
  • Take responsibility for scheduling all of their patients/clients' interpreter services.
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.)

How to become a certified L&I interpreter

  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.)
Workers Have a Right to Interpreter Services

If you are a worker with an accepted L&I claim, your health care or vocational provider is required to arrange an interpreter, if they believe it is necessary. This service is free on open and allowed claims.

  • Make sure your interpreter is certified and has an L&I provider ID.
  • Ask the health care or vocational provider if family or friends may attend appointments with you.
  • If you need to call L&I, you may request an interpreter in any language, and one will be available within minutes.