ISSUE 4 - Oct-Dec 2019


1. Message From The Chair
2. Accreditation Status Update
3. Colorado Workmen's Compensation Law
4. NBCMI Closing Celebrations
4.1 IMIA Pacific Northwest Regional Conference
4.2 From IMIA Minnesota
4.3 Ming Fall Forum
5. Upcoming Events

From the Chair of the National Board

Dear Interpreters colleagues:

As we are getting ready to celebrate the Holidays and the end of this year, I want to thank each one of you for being part of our 10th year anniversary celebration. We've had the satisfaction of being able to gather with many of you in conferences, symposiums and workshops around the country and talk about the past and what lies ahead for the National Board and the expectations many of you have, outside the 6 languages we certified, to be included in a future National Board prestigious credential program.

Ten years of Full Certification in a rapid ever-evolving sector such as Healthcare is an achievement that I am particularly proud of - we are honored to be here to serve you. Even more so to have done it with the same consistent strong values, discipline and high-quality standards through all these years. But the most humbling part of what we do it's witnessing the resiliency of our interpreters through all these years, working really hard to be recognized as part of the team of healthcare professionals for our patients and families.

There is still plenty to be accomplished in the NBCMI evolution and I see the road in 2020 paved with many successes and great achievements for you through our next PRO-QMI credential to be developed next year, and the continuity of our CMI and re-certification programs.

In this holiday season, I wish you and your families joy, good health, beautiful memories to preserve, and peace. We should be grateful for what we have, and remember to embrace our loved ones and recognize the blessing of having them around and close to our hearts, despite the distance.

Season's Greetings and look forward to reconnecting with you and be recharged by your positive energy in the New Year!!

Xiomara Armas
Xiomara Armas, BSBA, CMI-Spanish

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NBCMI Statement Relating to Accreditation Status

Updated: 12/17/2019

To our valued interpreter community:

There are some questions and concerns regarding the National Board's voluntary accreditation status and credentialing programs. Perhaps many of these concerns come from the common misunderstanding of the terms "certification" and "accreditation." The Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) offers the following definitions:

A certification program is designed to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform a particular job, and, upon successfully passing a certification exam, to represent a declaration of a particular individual's professional competence. In some professions, certification is a requirement for employment or practice.

Accreditation is the process by which a credentialing or educational program is evaluated against defined standards and is awarded recognition if it is in compliance with those standards.

Accreditation is an optional/voluntary process, and is not required for the validity of a certification program. All of the six National Board's certification exams - for Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, Vietnamese and Korean - are validated by a third party.

The full reports on the development, piloting and validation of the exams are located here:

Accreditation Status of the National Board's Spanish Medical Interpreter Certification
In January 2018, the National Board elected to no longer pursue accreditation by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) for the National Board's Spanish language medical interpreter oral certification. The National Board remains a member of the NCCA's parent organization, the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), and the certification offered to all new and/or renewing National Board Members remains valid and acceptable as certification within the relevant medical communities.

Why was NCCA accreditation not renewed for the exam for Spanish?
After long and careful deliberation, the National Board determined that the best and most efficient stewardship and use of our resources was to invest the material and significant time and financial resources accreditation required to improving the certification program for all six languages and expanding to more. That determination was further supported by our organization's desire to bring each of the National Board's language programs under a single supported structure and protocol.

From 2012-2017 the Spanish language certification program was accredited. Accreditation is not awarded; it requires a substantial fee. When the other six languages were developed, piloted and launched, the NCCA required the same fee for each language even though the strict standards required by the certification industry were followed and maintained and all six languages were developed under the same standards.

To better streamline our continuing efforts to bring each of our language programs into testing, support and management parameters that meet or exceed national accreditation standards, a strategic decision was made to not renew what the National Board essentially deemed to be onerous costs and time associated with continuing accreditation for the Spanish program, let alone the exams in the other five languages.

At the same time, the NBCMI was planning to include On-line proctoring, an innovative, secure and flexible web-based tool, in order to facilitate for many medical interpreters to access the test from home, and this way avoid long-time traveling expenses and missing days of work for many candidates. The NCCA declared not being ready to accept this option for accreditation. Our decision then was crystal clear: to move out of the accreditation and forward, for the benefit of the interpreters' community, nationally and internationally.

The National Board is committed to continuing to offer the valuable and market-proven certification services that have become the hallmark of the National Board. Thank you for your continuing partnership!

We welcome you to forward any further questions, comments or concerns to the National Board Chair:

Xiomara Armas: [email protected]
Or visit our website for more information:

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New State of Colorado Workmen's Compensation Law

A new Colorado law effective January 1st, 2020 will require all interpreters to be certified who are interpreting for workmen's compensation cases.

In an effort to accommodate the new law the National Board will offer all Colorado interpreters an expedited pathway to certification.

  • Prerequisite will be reviewed within 5 business days.
  • All candidates are eligible to take their written and oral exams online. Online testing services are offered around the clock, including weekdays and evenings.
  • We will work with testing centers to schedule a date as soon as possible.
  • Written exam results will be available immediately and oral exam results will be expedited to 4-6 weeks.

Please see the links below posted by Colorado's Department of Labor and Employment for more details.

Division of Workmen's compensation revised rules:

Rule 16 (please see the definition of certified medical interpreter on page 2)

Rule 18 (please see interpreter rules on page 65)

If you have any questions please contact
[email protected]

We want to take this opportunity to thank all members for their continued support. The National Board is looking forward to another promising decade.

Casita Wild
Casita Wild, MS

If you have questions, please contact
[email protected]

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2019 IMIA Pacific Northwest Regional Conference in Oregon celebrates NBCMI 10th anniversary

The IMIA Pacific Northwest Chapter hosted a great regional conference celebrating Ten Years of National Certification and presenting a very interesting and comprehensive vision of the "Provision of Culturally and Linguistically appropriate Services during Emergencies" hosted by the Oregon Health Authority, Health Security, Preparedness and Response.

The Keynote was offered by the Professor John Burke, presenting the Role of Medical Interpreter (MI) in Disaster Response, followed by IMIA President Dr. David Cardona's presentation regarding the Partnering with interpreters to achieve a greater cultural understanding.

NBCMI Chair, Xiomara Armas addressed the attendees with a review of the NB10th years of certification, talking about those pioneers' leaders who had the vision and the strong believe in certification and what is the work ahead for the NB with a new credential that will be developed in 2020. The PRO-QMI program will include many other languages, besides de 6 languages in the certification program, which will bring another prestigious credential from the NB to our Medical Interpreters community.

Linda Joyce, Language Access Advisor and former NBCMI Testing Director and Executive Director, was the moderator of the Town Hall Meeting presenting Challenges and Opportunities on Providing Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services During Emergencies, which offered the audience with very interesting perspectives from the panel discussion.

Congratulations to the IMIA Oregon Chapter, Dr. David Cardona, IMIA President and IMIA staff, who did an outstanding job organizing the conference, and all the volunteers who helped making the conference a big success.

The IMIA is pleased to share the live-streams of the welcoming remarks, keynote speech, and 10 Year Anniversary of the National Board Presentation.

Here are the links for the YouTube livestreams:
Date: Friday, November 1, 2019

Welcoming Remarks and Keynote Speech

NBCMI 10th anniversary Lunch Presentation

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MN IMIA Chapter presenting about medical interpreter certification at the Upper Midwest Translators and Interpreters Association Annual Meeting November 05, 2019

We want to let you know that our presentation at the UMTIA (Upper Midwest Translators and Interpreters Association) annual meeting was a great success!

We presented to over 50 Interpreters who are interested in becoming nationally certified. We shared with the attendees the greeting from NBCMI Director Gulnara Akbarova and explained the certification process with the NBCMI using the presentation you shared with us. Gulnara's message was very powerful and very well received by the attendees. We greatly appreciate your help with this event!

We are very excited that we were able to promote NBCMI certification to local interpreters! We are hoping that more interpreters will become CMIs after this event!

We were also able to promote IMIA and encourage interpreters to become members of IMIA. Interpreters were really excited to learn that they can get their CEUs for free if they are members of IMIA! We appreciate the support that IMIA Administrator Carolyn Campos and IMIA Outreach Coordinator Maria Baker provided when we prepared for this event!

We were honored to present on behalf of NBCMI and are looking forward to more opportunities like this in the future to help advance our profession and to improve patient safety and outcome by elevating the standards and quality of medical interpreting!


Judith Custodio, CMI-Spanish
Nataliya Holen, CMI-Russian

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Fall Forum 2019 - Celebrating 20th Year Anniversary

On November 09, 2019 MING presented the Fall Forum at the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Learning Center in Atlanta, GA. It was a celebration after 20 years of commitment with the interpreter community in Georgia. The introduction was a recollection of memories trough a gallery, videos and speakers walking the audience through years of hard work and long meetings to give shape to this great organization that we have today.

The National Board couldn't miss the opportunity to be present and celebrate this milestone with old and new friends from MING. Orlin Marquez, Samy Girguis, Susy Martorell, Andrea Henry, Linda Joyce, where among the elite of guests that had been key in this success story.

The audience enjoyed excellent presentations and at the end of the event the raffle for attendees included a voucher from the National Board and the happy recipient was Dany Dagher, Arabic/French Interpreter, Congratulations Dany!!


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Upcoming Events

2020 MLA Annual Convention
01/09 - 01/12/2020

Italia Morayta Foundation InterpretAmerica
01/16 - 01/18/2020

Hindsight in 2020: CHIA's Vision for Language Access
03/06 - 03/07/2020

CATI – Working Globally, Networking Locally

23rd NETA Annual Conference

Massachusets Medical Interpreter Training
06/05 - 06/06/2020

Utah Language Access Conference
06/05 - 06/06/2020

NAJIT 40th Annual Conference
06/05 - 06/07/2020

CHOA 3rd Annual Interpreters Symposium

07/11 - 07/12/2020

Our Accomplishments

As we look back on the past decade, we are proud to share some of our accomplishments:

  • 2400 Interpreters certified since the CMI credential was launched.
  • 5 New CMI credentials developed for Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Russian and Vietnamese.
  • Online remote proctoring was launched to extend national and international reach. Exams are offered around the clock to accommodate busy work and life schedules. The second NBCMI Job Task Analysis was published.
  • CMI’s are certified in more than one language including: CMI-Mandarin and CMI-Cantonese; CMI-Spanish and a CMI-Russian and one medical interpreter has earned both a CMI-Spanish and a CMI-Korean.
  • New testing centers added for both the written and oral exams to further on-site exam access.
  • A new and improved website with an interactive portal.
From Our Gallery

IMIA President, Dr.Cardona, here with Ana Catalina Jones NBCMI Director who chair the conference, and Xiomara Armas, NBCMI Chair at the Oregon regional Conference

With Linda Joyce

Judith Custodio and Natalia Holen from IMIA Chapter Presenting the NB Certification Process

The NBCMI and MING 10 years of friendship and many more to come. Marcelo Cedeño President of MING and Xiomara Armas Chair of the NBCMI

With Orlin Marquez

Dagher, Dany Arabic/French Winner of the NBCMI voucher @ MING fall forum

CHOA Interpreters