Standards of practice are one of the ways that an industry can hold everyone to a high quality of service, increasing the reputation of the entire body of workers rather than admitting significant variation in quality. The National Standards of Practice for Interpreters in Health Care (NCIHC) attempts to give clear, in-depth explanations of the many acceptable ways to accomplish the tasks of message reception and communication in a healthcare interpretation context. By contrast, the “Code of Ethics” works specifically with ethical choices, while the standards concern how interpreters can accomplish complex tasks.

How the Standards Were Developed

The NCIHC evaluated existing standards documents from around the United States, then conducted focus groups and surveys to refine further the commonalities they found. The resulting document was approved piece by piece with a very high percentage of respondents to the survey, collected from more than 600 interpreters and others connected to the profession.

The Actual Practice Standards

The standards are each outlined in extensive detail, with examples of what is included. In general, they are:

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