Interpreter Scope of Practice

father with baby and sonEach interpreter providing service to Swedish is a professional who is expected to conduct themselves in a manner which demonstrates the highest level of service to each patient and staff member. Interpreters should not:

  • Counsel, refer, give advice, express personal opinions to SMC patients or staff, or engage in any other activities outside of interpretation. 
  • Contact a patient without permission from your agency or a Swedish staff person or have unsupervised access to a patient or provide the patient with your personal contact information. 
  • Provide transportation for the patient and/or family members to or from any appointment.
  • Accept or make any phone or pager calls or use a laptop during an assignment, or leave an assignment early to accept additional appointments.
  • Sell to or buy services from a patient or SMC staff person.
  • Become disruptive or argumentative with patients or SMC providers.
  • Market their services to patients or ask patients to request them personally for interpretation services exclusive of other interpreters.
  • Accept assignments directly from SMC staff and not through their agency. No interpreter is to schedule a patient appointment for the patient at a time which is available to the interpreter, in order to procure a future assignment. All patient appointments shall be scheduled solely by the patient for the patient's availability only, at a time determined by the provider and patient. Swedish staff should be directed to the agency for all unscheduled interpreter requests or extensions of appointments. 
  • Be late to an assignment or leave an assignment earlier than scheduled.
  • Deny service to any SMC patient or staff person upon acceptance of an appointment. If an interpreter is unable to perform ethically in a given situation, except in an emergency until a replacement is secured, the interpreter can withdraw from the assignment in question once a replacement interpreter is secured. The exception is when a patient is in an emergency or critical state - the interpreter must always stay until a replacement is secured.


Washington State Mandatory Reporting
Law on Child and Adult Abuse
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