Any clinician who feels they are proficient enough to communicate directly with patients and their families (not interpret) in a language other than English is required by Federal law to demonstrate their proficiency (ACA, Section 1557).

Mass General’s Interpreter policy states that “bilingual clinicians should only deliver care to their patients in a non-English language after they have been designated by Interpreter Services for fluency in the target language.” Policy Manager - MCN Healthcare (

To be designated as Qualified Bilingual Staff (QBS)

  • Contact your manager/director/supervisor who will then reach out to Interpreter Services
  • To begin the process email
  • The candidate will be asked to complete a Self-Assessment
  • If the candidate has scored an acceptable fluency level they will be informed of the next steps

Properly credentialed clinicians with a university education where the curriculum was conducted in the target language will be designated as QBS without the need for an oral assessment (e.g., a medical degree obtained from a Mexican university where the program of study was conducted in Spanish).

A degree from a US college/university in the target language (e.g., a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Boston College) does not qualify as meeting the minimum requirements for designation.

If a candidate does not pass the Oral assessment they must work with professional medical interpreters for all those encounters. 

Candidates are allowed to re-take the exam a second time with the permission of their supervisor.