Recently, OSTI President Helen Eby met with the Workers Compensation Rules Committee and submitted an Interpreter Rules Clean proposal because the Compensation rules lack minimum requirements for interpreters. Under the current rules, any neighbor or friend can interpret.
2015 11 23 Workers Compensation Interpreting Rules Clean
During the meeting on November 23, she recommended that interpreters be certified or qualified by the standards of the Oregon Health Authority or the Oregon Courts.
In addition to the input regarding qualifications, she recommended making payment practices more flexible because of complaints that not all interpreting appointments scheduled under Workers Compensation were actually being paid. Since interpreters are not responsible for determining whether an appointment qualifies for Workers Compensation or not, she felt changes needed to be made.
She also proposed that a clarification be made as to when the quarter hours start, and make it easier for interpreters to understand and be compatible with other areas in which they practice.
During the discussion, the issue of interpreters not being able to answer questions about their appointments came up. Some of the stakeholders were not aware that professional interpreters follow a code of ethics. Helen Eby, OSTI President, submitted a comparison of the codes of ethics followed by professional interpreters in Oregon.
Interpreting Codes of Ethics that Apply in Oregon
On November 30, Helen Eby sent an explanation of how the interpreting field in Oregon had changed between 2009 and 2015, which included the draft description of the roles of interpreters and translators that a group of professionals was working on at the time. In 2009, the Workers Compensation Committee had not found a description of what an interpreter was, and had based its qualifications on those findings.
Why Revisit Interpreting Rules
Based on these recommendations, the Workers Compensation Committee decided to hold hearings in April, 2016 to revisit the rules on spoken and signed language interpreting in Workers Compensation.
The descriptions submitted as a draft in November have been updated and endorsed by national interpreting and translation professional associations. The updated descriptions have been sent to the Workers Compensation Committee for their reference.
May 9, 2016 Update: The hearing is scheduled for June 21, with the agenda posted online at this link.