Interpreter Services

Interpreters’ Orientation to Seattle Children’s

The purpose of this online orientation is to share pertinent information with contracted interpreters accepting assignments at Seattle Children's Hospital. The information will provide context as you work with patients, families and staff. It is a requirement of Det Norske Veritas (DNV) to provide an orientation to interpreters. By the conclusion of this orientation, you will be able to:

  • Describe Seattle Children's expectations regarding professional conduct for contracted interpreters.
  • Outline Seattle Children's safety precautions for contracted interpreters.
  • Define privacy and confidentiality requirements for contracted interpreters.

Seattle Children’s Mission

We provide hope, care and cures to help every child live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible.

Seattle Children’s Code of Conduct and Ethics

Personal Appearance

Interpreters are expected to dress in a neat, clean, professional appearance at all times and not present a safety hazard. Closed-toe shoes are required in patient care areas. The following are not appropriate:

  • Clothing that is revealing and does not portray professional modesty
  • Sweat suits (nylon or fleece)
  • Shorts
  • Baseball caps or other casual hats
  • Blue jeans may be worn if they are clean, neat and in good repair.

Do not use perfumes and/or colognes. Some patients and staff are sensitive or allergic to these fragrances.

Reminder Regarding Immunization Requirements

Please be aware that Seattle Children’s will conduct audits and ask for agency proof of contracted interpreters’ immunization records, without advance notice, to ensure compliance and proper recordkeeping. For more information regarding the immunization requirements, please see your agency contact.

New Attire Requirement for Surgical Services

Contracted interpreters and other care team members are required to wear surgical attire (i.e., teal green, hospital-owned scrubs) when entering semi-restricted and restricted surgical areas (i.e., operating rooms, internal corridors, clean core, OR storage areas and utility areas). Surgical attire will be stocked in a limited number of locations where access can be controlled. Make sure you check with the front desk staff or other surgical staff members if you need to use lockers for dress changes.

General guidelines

  • Surgical attire will not be worn outside of the hospital buildings except in cases of emergency. If surgical attire is worn outside in an emergency, staff must change into new surgical attire before returning to a semi-restricted area.
  • Personal items that have been outdoors (with the exception of personal electronic devices) shall not be brought into semi-restricted and restricted areas. Examples include, but are not limited to: bags, backpacks, camera cases, lunch boxes and vendor support containers.
  • Personal electronic devices must be sanitized with approved sanitizing wipes or UV sanitizer prior to entering the semi-restricted areas.
  • Identification badges must be cleanable and attached to a retracting badge reel. Lanyards are not permitted in semi restricted and restricted areas.

Maintaining Professional Relationships

Introduce yourself as the interpreter to the families and providers.

Refrain from:

  • Reviewing, filling out or signing forms or documents for patients or families (only interpret what is said about forms or documents)
  • Staying in the exam room when a member of the healthcare team is not there (wait outside the room)
  • Using a cell phone, text messaging and answering pages during the encounter
  • Marketing yourself for future assignments with a family or provider
  • Receiving gifts from patients and families
  • Sharing personal information, problems or contact information with patients or families (including phone numbers, addresses and email)
  • Offering or providing transportation to patients or families
  • Discussing religious and/or political beliefs with patients or family members


Interpreters are expected to arrive on time to their assignments. Please give yourself enough time to manage traffic delays, parking and the badging/registration process.

Stay in the registration area until you meet the patient.  

If the patient is late, interpreters are to wait 45 minutes after the scheduled appointment time before asking staff to check them out.

Important: When coming to Seattle Children's Emergency Department, please inform the receptionist at the front desk how much time you have available for that assignment. Also, give the nurse 30 minutes' notice before you need to leave. This will help us make arrangements for continuity of service to our patients.  

If You Need to Cancel

Contact your agency with as much advance notice as possible.

Identification Badge

All agency or contracted interpreters are required to get a Seattle Children's identification badge upon each visit at a visitor registration desk. The badge is to be displayed at all times where others can easily see it and the picture should not be covered by pins, stickers, buttons, etc.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Protecting patient privacy is part of Seattle Children's commitment to family-centered care with the highest possible ethical standards. At Seattle Children's everyone is responsible for protecting patient privacy, including all staff, employees, temporary staff, consultants, contractors, agency interpreters, physicians and community providers, residents, students and volunteers. Seattle Children's has adopted the following privacy principles:

  • Honor the trust placed in you to maintain the privacy of patient health information.
  • Respect and support the privacy rights of patients and their families.
  • Be accountable for understanding and following our privacy policies and procedures.
  • Access and use only the patient and family information that you need to know to do your job.
  • Share patient and family information on a need-to-know basis.
  • Always provide the information needed to deliver high-quality care.

Health Precautions

Guidelines for infection control should always be followed:

  • "Gel in – Gel out": Always wash hands or use liquid disinfectant when entering or leaving a patient's room.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Follow instructions on patient doors, such as "mask and gown required."
  • Agency interpreters must follow the same masking guidelines as Seattle Children's workforce members. Upon check-in, ask about current masking guidelines, since requirements change frequently.

Read our Interpreters’ Isolation Education document before you begin interpreting for our patients and families. A link to this document is at the end of this orientation page.

COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination No Longer Required for Vendors, Contractors and Visitors

Non-employed, non-Seattle Children's workers (e.g., vendors and contractors) are no longer required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination upon entry to Seattle Children’s facilities. However, non-employed, non-Seattle Children’s workers may be requested to produce such documentation (physical vaccine card, picture of vaccine card or medical documentation for those unable to receive the vaccination), upon audit.

Safe Work Environment

Seattle Children's strives to maintain a safe environment for the benefit of everyone. Behaviors that threaten anyone on the premises are unacceptable at Seattle Children's. These behaviors include, but are not limited to:

  • Verbal and physical harassment
  • Verbal assaults (including yelling, screaming and abusive language)
  • Physical assault
  • Written threats or "hate mail"
  • Vandalism and property destruction
  • Coercive verbal confrontations
  • Weapons
  • Any other actions that cause others to feel unsafe at Seattle Children's

If you have any safety concerns, please contact the charge nurse or clinic manager through the unit coordinators or call Security at ext. 7-2030.

Chosen Names and Personal Pronouns

To ensure inclusive communication and to reflect our commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), Seattle Children's developed guidelines for using language that avoids assumptions of gender and is inclusive of gender-diverse and transgender youth. Our care teams are expected to look for names and pronouns in the electronic medical record and use them in every interaction. As agency interpreters at Seattle Children’s, we want to make you aware of this new process and give you the tools you need to follow our new standard of care. ​

Why are we making this change?

Related to our values of equity and compassion, we are doing this to show respect to our patients and families who are transgender or gender diverse or present in a way inconsistent with heteronormative or binary gender norms, reduce harmful labels, and create a culture that empowers and values the unique needs of our patients and families. When gender binary terms exclude patients and families, it can result in communication barriers, psychological harm, and at worst misdiagnoses, health disparities, bias and discrimination.

Please read our Personal Pronoun and Chosen Name Presentation for more details.

Other resources related to chosen names and pronouns

Potential Research Involvement – Witness Consent

To ensure fair access to research opportunities, patients and families potentially interested in research participation are approached during clinic visits to be informed about available research opportunities. In cases where a fully translated consent form is not immediately accessible during the consent discussion, a brief document, known as a short form, is utilized. Interpreters may be asked to serve as witnesses during the consent process when using a short form because the witness must be fluent in both English and the language spoken by the patient and their family.

By signing the consent form, the interpreter as the witness attests that the consent information was accurately explained to and apparently understood by the patient and family in their target language. The interpreter as the witness also affirms that the decision to provide consent was freely given by the research participant or the participant’s legally acceptable representative.

Sight-Translation Expectations

  • Interpreters should not/or are not trained to sight-translate written documents (e.g., forms, questionnaires, instructions, notes, etc.) during interpreting sessions.
  • Compared to interpretation, translation requires a different set of skills and experience. To be able to translate written documents at Seattle Children’s, you are required to be certified by state (DSHS) or national (CCHI or NBCMI) certification commissions.
  • When needing to communicate information from a written document to patients/families who use languages other than English, the presence of at least one clinical care team member is required.

Contact Information, Map and Directions

Seattle Children's Hospital is located at 4800 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105 (map and directions).

Main telephone numbers:

Parking at Seattle Children’s

  • Agency interpreters arriving for outpatient appointments should park in the Ocean Garage.
  • Agency interpreters arriving for inpatient appointments or Emergency Department should park in the Forest Garage.
  • Do not park in the neighborhood surrounding the hospital, please park on the hospital campus in the locations listed above.
  • Public transportation is also an option. Routes #75 and #25 arrive regularly at our campus. For rider information and a trip planner, visit or call 206-553-3000.

Where to Meet Patients and Providers

For outpatients: After obtaining your visitor badge, go to the assigned registration area. 

For inpatients: Go to the assigned inpatient unit and ask the unit coordinator to inform the patient's nurse you have arrived. If you need assistance to get to the unit, ask the entrance coordinator located at all entrances to direct you.

For day surgery patients: Go to the Ocean 6 entrance desk.

Emergency Department: Go to the Emergency Department's front desk lobby.

Between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. access to the hospital is through the Emergency Department (ED). Please sign the interpreter log at the ED front desk lobby.  

After interpreting, please check with the nurse before you leave. There may be other providers coming to meet with the patient and family.

Hospital Campus Waiting Areas

Agency-contracted interpreters are welcome to wait in the Ocean Cafeteria (level 7) or River Starbucks (level 3) when conducting hospital business. Please refrain from using the family waiting areas and do not use computers, copier machines and other equipment intended for patients and staff. The Family Resource Center is for family use only.

Hospital Campus Food Services

Food service areas include the Ocean Cafeteria on level 7, River Starbucks on level 3 and the Forest Starbucks on level 1.

Please refrain from eating in restricted areas, including the following:

  • Radiology
  • Surgery Center
  • Exam rooms
  • Inpatient rooms

Some patients are required to fast before procedures and seeing others eat or drink can make the situation more difficult, especially for young children.

Isolation Education

In order to complete your orientation, obtain your required certificate of completion and begin interpreting for our patients and families, you must read our Interpreters’ Isolation Education PDF.

Orientation Completion

You have now finished the Interpreters’ Orientation to Seattle Children’s. Please proceed to obtain your Certificate of Completion.

Thank you for completing the interpreters' orientation to Seattle Children's.

Please let your agency know that you have completed this orientation. Whether you interpret here one time or often, we hope you enjoy your work at Seattle Children's and value your contribution.

Comments and Concerns

We appreciate feedback, suggestions and knowing your concerns. To share your comments, compliments or best practice suggestions, please contact us in one of the following ways:

Your comments may be anonymous.