Qualified interpreter for an individual with limited English proficiency means an interpreter who via a remote interpreting service or an on-site appearance:
(1) Adheres to generally accepted interpreter ethics principles, including client confidentiality;
(2) has demonstrated proficiency in speaking and understanding both spoken English and at least one other spoken language; and
(3) is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressly, to and from such language(s) and English, using any necessary specialized vocabulary, terminology and phraseology.
We noted that the fact an individual has above average familiarity with speaking or understanding a language other than English does not suffice to make that individual a qualified interpreter for an individual with limited English proficiency.
As we stated in the proposed rule, bilingual or multilingual staff members may not possess competence in the skill of interpreting nor have knowledge of generally accepted principles of interpreter ethics. A qualified bilingual/multilingual nurse who is competent to communicate in Spanish directly with Spanish-speaking individuals may not be a qualified interpreter for an individual with limited English proficiency if serving as an interpreter would pose a conflict of interest with the nurse's treatment of the patient.