Sixth National Conference on Quality Health Care for Culturally Diverse Populations: Main Conference Concurrent Workshops A Regional Approach to On-Site Interpreting

E-3 Regional collaborations to improve access to language services and interpreter training and support

A Regional Approach to On-Site Interpreting
Wednesday, September 24, 2008: 10:45 AM-12:15 PM, Minn Marriott, 8th Floor - Excelsior/Lafayette
The Alameda County Coalition on Language Access in Healthcare (ACCLAH) is a coalition of agencies, organizations and individuals invested in making interpreting services available to physicians, other healthcare professionals and institutions providing healthcare services to patients with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) populations in Alameda County, which is located in the East Bay of San Francisco, California.

The mission of ACCLAH is to drive collaborative solutions to countywide needs for effective, efficient, patient-centered and culturally competent language access services in the health system in Alameda County. ACCLAH has embarked on a process to convene stakeholders to listen to their ideas on how to work together to improve language access services in the County.  The result of this unique dialogue has resulted in the award of a variety of Collaborative Demonstration Projects that will pilot untried methods of delivering interpreting services to primary care physicians who have traditionally been left out of established language support networks.

Fluency, Inc. was awarded subcontractor status for ACCLAH and has begun work on the Alameda County Language Access Portal (ACLAP).  The portal provides for the first time, a public/private approach to managing the dispatch of face-to-face interpreters throughout a highly diverse, urban California county for a variety of public and for-profit healthcare customers.
Measurable outcomes of the Fluency project:
·         A feature-rich, Internet portal that seamlessly marries those who need language assistance to those who provide it
·         A ready pool of screened, tested and trained interpreters (initially Spanish-speaking) operating with improved efficiency, with greater accountability at less cost than currently provided by ad hoc or by professional contract interpreters
·         A ready pool of home-based expert linguists who will be compensated to anonymously grade linguistic tests via the convenience of the Internet
·         Meaningful and rewarding work for graduates of Bay Area interpreting training programs
·         Increased on-site interpreter presence for private practice physicians requiring services outside established networks
·         Shared data reporting features for global interpreter usage, quality control and built-in  financial audit controls and accounting, built-in data collection exportable to  Excel / PDF
·         More efficient use of language access funding delivered where it needs to go: at the point of LEP/NEP patient contact
·         Easy replication across the country – The wheel is invented, and other public/private language access coalitions can deploy with relatively minor design adjustments
The major piece of the application that is now available is the Medical Interpreting Test on the Internet (MITI). Fluency is working with Avant Assessment of  Eugene, Oregon in creating the test, which will revolutionize the way healthcare interpreter linguistics and professional knowledge are evaluated. Rather than taking a written and/or oral test in person or via a telephonic interview, MITI is a web-based, proctored, human-scored exam that can be administered throughout the country. Moreover, unlike other paper and pencil or telephonic assessments, all skills will be tested during the online exam: oral, listening, reading and written skills in both the target and source languages

  • Interpreter Scheduling System 2008.doc (634.5 kB)
  • MITI brochure 2008.pdf (107.8 kB)
  • Presentation Information:

    Program: Main Conference Concurrent Workshops
    Primary Category: Language Access
    Subtopics: Interpreter training, assessment and certification, Interpreter services—development and management

    Region Addressed by Presentation: National
    Organization: Non-Profit Organization/Association
    Population/Demographic: Interpreting Service Managers
    Keywords: Interpreter , Management, Software, Testing, Internet


    William Glasser , Former Board Member of Calif. Healthcare Interpreter Association, Carmichael, CA
      Former Board Member of Calif. Healthcare Interpreter Association
      7220 Fair Oaks Blvd, Suite D
      Carmichael CA, USA 95608

      Phone: 800-522-7512
      Fax: 916-487-7088
      Email Address:

      Biographical Sketch:
      William Glasser has been a Spanish interpreter since 1986, starting his career in Los Angeles during the Amnesty era under the Reagan administration. In 2000, Bill founded Language World Services, in Sacramento, California, which has grown into Northern California's largest face-to-face healthcare interpreting agency. Fluency, Inc. was established in 2005 as a sister corporation of the interpreting agency. Fluency, Inc. was created to provide language service managers with powerful Internet-based tools that make face-to-face interpreter dispatch, management and record keeping, easy, secure and cost-effective for state and local government, in-hospital interpreting service departments, and private language agencies. A former Treasurer and board member of the California Healthcare Interpreting Association, Bill's unique perspective on how Internet technologies can manage quality, capture information and fulfill 1000's of daily interpreting encounters in any language throughout a large geographic area will be of special interest to others who need good technological tools that maximize efficiency at a reasonable cost.