Bilingual Recruitment

20110308 OHSU Diversity

To ensure the best patient care, OHSU uses only certified medical interpreters. In addition, OHSU has stepped up efforts to recruit bilingual employees in all professional classifications. A 5% pay differential is available, in certain situations, to those bilingual employees who become certified by the Translation and Interpretive Services department.

Do you speak multiple languages? Please consider working for OHSU!

Learn more about our current job opportunities.

Our Registration department offers a fine example of OHSU’s commitment to providing diverse bilingual services. Permanent staff members speak Spanish, Russian, Laotian, Mien, Tibetan and Chinese, while many other languages are covered by telephone interpreters. Mela Gant, Director of Patient Access Services, says that, “having such a diverse staff greatly improves our efficiency in registering patients, and also makes what is often a first communication with OHSU a comfortable one for many patients.”

Employee Dolkar Tsering, who speaks Mandarin and Tibetan, states that, “patients are just so grateful to have someone who speaks the same language who can walk them through the process. A few patients still call me on holidays to thank me. They tell me what a great impact I have made on their family.”

Bilingual Certification

OHSU offers an opportunity for its employees to test their bilingual language fluency, free of charge, and to utilize their language skills on the job. Besides the satisfaction of providing patients and families with a welcoming experience, some jobs also qualify for additional compensation if an employee has successfully passed a language proficiency exam through OHSU. Check with your supervisor to find out if your job qualifies. See the column at left for the languages most commonly used by OHSU patients. The languages are listed in order of priority in the certification process.

Most commonly used languages at OHSU:

  • Spanish
  • Russian
  • Vietnamese
  • Cantonese and Mandarin
  • Serbo-Croatian/Bosnian
  • American Sign Language

By utilizing your bilingual expertise in patient care and customer service encounters, you can:

  • Help address the needs of Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients and families.
  • Improve LEP patient and family outcomes and the quality of healthcare services.
  • Optimize customer service by ensuring that communication is adequate and appropriate in languages that patients understand.
  • Increase awareness and knowledge of the process of identifying and assisting LEP patients. 
  • Reduce liability through qualification and training. 
  • Improve response time to patient calls and provide direct communication with patients and families without waiting for interpreters. 
  • Enhance your opportunities to move into positions that require bilingual skills.

The bilingual certification process consists of a written and an oral exam. To receive certification you must pass the written exam by 80 percent before continuing to the oral evaluation. Certification is given upon successfully passing both exams. The duration of the written exam is 150 minutes and 30 minutes for the oral exam.

Three language proficiency exams are available for bilingual employees:

  • The Professional Interpreters Exam is designed for employees who work as professional interpreters or for any employee who would like to be certified as having the competency to be an interpreter in a medical setting.
  • The Language Proficiency Exam for Medical Staff is for clinicians, nurses, CNAs, technicians or any staff members who use medical terminology in their scope of work.
  • The Language Proficiency Exam for Non-Medical Staff is designed for registration staff, case workers, schedulers and other non-clinical staff.

Steps to getting bilingual certification:

  • Discuss with your manager any incentives for becoming certified.
  • Call Translation and Interpreter Services to make an appointment for the language proficiency test after requesting time off from your manager. Time to take the test is approved as work unit scheduling allows.
  • Arrive at Translation and Interpreter Services located in the Modular Building at your scheduled test time.

Interpreter Services will notify you of your test results and notify your manager and the Human Resources department of your certification status.