Overview for the MCDHH Communication Access Services Division


The Department for Interpreter/CART Services provides a statewide Interpreter and CART Referral Service, an After-hours Emergency Interpreter Service, an Interpreter Screening service, Interpreter and CART Provider trainings , consultations, technical assistance and presentations about interpreter services.

The Department for Interpreter/CART Services also makes recommendations of standards for qualifications of interpreters.

What is the MCDHH Statewide Interpreter/CART Referral Service?

One of the functions of the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH) is its statewide Interpreter and CART Referral Service. It provides referral services for sign language, spoken English, oral, tactile and close vision interpreting for Deaf and Deaf - Blind individuals, as well as making referrals to freelance CART providers for CART provision on behalf of heard of hearing and/or late deafened individuals in a wide variety of settings such as medical, legal, mental health, employment, education and recreational situations. Although there are fulltime staff interpreters employed by MCDHH, some requests are filled by freelance interpreters. All CART requests are filled by freelance CART Providers.

The interpreters referred by MCDHH are either certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. (RID), a nationally based professional organization, or have been screened and approved by MCDHH. All interpreters adhere to a strict code of ethics established by RID. CART providers are individuals who are certified as court reporters and meet strict professional standards as established by the National Court Reporters. They, too, have a strict code of ethics regarding the confidentiality of services provided.

Interpreter requests are first reviewed by an Intake Referral Specialist who screens requests. Requests are then referred to the appropriate regional Referral Specialist. Services are divided into five geographical areas of the state with an Interpreter Referral Specialist assigned to each area. The areas are:

  • Boston/Metro - Medical
  • Boston/Metro - General
  • Central/Western Massachusetts
  • Northeastern Massachusetts
  • Southeastern Massachusetts, the Cape and Islands

All legal and court interpreter and CART requests statewide are handled by a sixth staff person, the Legal/Court Interpreter Referral Specialist. All nonlegal and non-court CART requests are handled by the CART Referral Specialist.

What is the Quality Assurance Screening Program?

MCDHH conducts various interpreter quality assurance screenings to evaluate freelance interpreters who are not yet certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. (RID) but who may be qualified to interpret in certain settings in Massachusetts. MCDHH-approved interpreters are considered entry-level practitioners and are referred to interpret in settings appropriate to their skill level. The MCDHH Interpreter screening approval is valid for 4 years. Interpreters are encouraged to continue to upgrade their skills in order to become certified by the RID.

The screenings we offer are for ASL/Spoken English Interpreters/Transliterators (ASL/PSE), Deaf Interpreters and Oral Transliterators. All screenings begin with an Interview. If a candidate passes the Interview, they can then apply to take the Performance portion of the screening. If they pass the Performance portion, they are then considered MCDHH Approved Interpreters/Transliterators and can then receive interpreting assignments from the MCDHH Interpreter Referral Service.

The Screenings for ASL/PSE interpreters/transliterators take place ten times per year on the first Friday of the month, September through June. The screenings for Deaf Interpreters take place once or twice per year. Oral Transliteration screenings are held dependent on the number of applicants.

For more information, or to receive an application for any of the MCDHH interpreter screenings, please contact Crystal Eusebio, Screening and Evaluation Coordinator, at MCDHHScreening@mass.gov.

Sign Language Interpreter Screenings are held the first Friday of the month, from September to June, unless the dates conflict with holy days or holidays, with an additional screening in June to accommodate recent graduates of interpreter training programs.

The interpreter screenings, both for Deaf and hearing applicants include an interview, first, and if the interview is passed, then the applicant would go on to take the performance screening. If both portions of the screening are passed, the applicant/candidate is then considered an MCDHH Approved Interpreter and is eligible to contract with MCDHH to take advantage of our interpreter referral service in order to build skills and experience to then take the NAD-RID NIC Interpreter Certification Test.

For application packets, please contact Crystal Eusebio, Screening and Evaluation Coordinator, at MCDHHScreening@mass.govPlease include a mailing address.  Application packets include the application form and 3 reference forms which must be filled out by a certified interpreter, and 2 Deaf people, all three of whom must have seen the applicant interpret. The packet also includes a Reference Guide which is extremely helpful when studying for the interview portion of the screening.

What other services does the Department for Interpreter Services provide?

The Department for Interpreter Services is also available to provide training about interpreter and CART services, consultations about interpreting and CART arrangements at conferences, hearings, and similar events.


More Info

Description from the National Association of the Deaf on Certified Deaf Interpreters

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