Fall Recruitment Training

Our fall semester DeCal constitutes the formal training for our volunteer interpreters. It is mandatory for all new volunteers and highly encouraged for returning volunteers. We will email specific directions for enrollment at the beginning of the fall semester.

Spring Semester Workshop

In the spring, we hold workshops to review and expand our interpreter training, as well as learn from guest speakers.

Class Information

PH 98/198, 2 units (P/NP)
Health Care Interpreting Decal
Wednesday, 6-8pm
13 Weeks, Fall 2012
Course facilitators: MinhTam Trinh, Shannen Poon
Language instructors


The DeCal curriculum is adapted from the intensive Language and Culture Access Program (LCAP) by Asian Health Services. Instructors of the Decal Class are VHIO officers who have either undergone the 60-hour LCAP training at AHS or completed the VHIO Decal successfully.


This course is for undergraduate students in public health, social work, or related fields who are fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Khmer, Tagalog, or Spanish. Priority will be given to members of VHIO. A language assessment will be conducted in the first class session, if necessary.


The Health Care Interpreting DeCal aims to train fluent, bilingual students to interpret, or verbally translate, for health workers and patients in various health care settings in four major Asian Language groups in the San Francisco Bay Area–Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, and Vietnamese. Students of all linguistic backgrounds will be introduced to 1) the theory, concepts, and skills in health care interpreting, 2) the complexity of the roles and responsibilities of interpreters in health care setting and skills to carry out those functions, and 3) the ethical principles, considerations, and strategies to handle challenges they may encounter as health care interpreters. They will apply these principles and skills and familiarize themselves with common medical terminologies during the language group simulation practice portion of the class.

The language group practice portion will focus on the specific areas of health that VHIO is working with during the semester, such as hepatitis B, dementia, and End-of-Life care, so that students who are also members of VHIO will be able to get continuous practice that prepares them for actual interpreting sessions at clinics and events.

We utilize The California Endowment’s 40-hour Connecting Worlds: Training for Health Care Interpreters curriculum to provide professional training. A certification exam is optional. Students who successfully completed this class can act as trained interpreters in health care setting, and those who passed the certification exam can be employed as certified interpreters in health care settings.

Course Format

The class is broken down into two parts each week: lecture on Tuesday and practice sessions on Thursday. The first half is lecture on the principles of health care interpreting, which will be taught in English. The second half is practice time during which students will break into language groups led by in-language coaches. Assigned readings and homework assignments needs to be completed weekly and will be discussed in the lecture and practice components.

Course Materials

The California Endowment. (2004). Connecting Worlds: Training for Health Care Interpreters – Participant Manual. Los Angeles: The California Endowment.

The California Endowment. (2004). Connecting Worlds: Training for Health Care Interpreters – Participant Workbook. Los Angeles: The California Endowment.

CHIA Standards and Certification Committee. (Feb. 2003) – California Standards for Healthcare Interpreters- Ethical Principles, Protocols, and Guidance on Roles & Intervention. Los Angeles: The California Endowment.

Volunteer Health Interpreters Organization (VHIO) Health Care Interpreters training curriculum worksheets and conversation practice


Assigned readings from the Connecting Worlds Participant Manual need to be completed prior to class each week. Assignments from the Connecting Worlds Participant Workbook and additional VHIO worksheets on topics covered in lecture and terminologies learned in practice session that week will be assigned as homework each week and discussed the following week. The class has a course reader including articles for assigned reading.


30% Attendance (2 unexcused absences will result in NP; conflicts with midterms for other classes are excuses absences)
30% Participation
20% Homework
20% Midterm
15% Final

  1. Sean
    September 2, 2011 at 6:04 am

    Hi, I am just curious.. I am a recent graduate from UC Berkeley and really want to volunteer for VHIO. However, since I already graduated from school, I may not be eligible to take DeCal class. Is there anyway I can attend the training course and volunteer?

    • VHIO
      September 2, 2011 at 7:13 am

      Hi Sean,

      You are welcome to audit our DeCal, meaning that you may receive training by taking the class, except that you will not get units as you are not enrolled through Telebears. Thank you for your interest in VHIO, and don’t hesitate to ask us if you have any other questions!


      VHIO Officers

  2. LanYao
    September 3, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Hi, i would like to ask whether we should sign up for the decal course before the interview?

    • VHIO
      September 4, 2011 at 7:21 am


      No that is not necessary–once we have notified you of acceptances, we will give you all the necessary instructions for Deal enrollment.

  3. Julia
    September 5, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Hi. I’m wondering about the attendance policy on DeCal class. I have 3 midterms at that time throughout the fall semester, so does that mean that I will end up getting a NP on the DeCal class? Perhaps, I should apply next year?

    • VHIO
      September 5, 2011 at 11:01 pm


      Midterms in other classes are excused absences and do not count into the 2 unexcused absences that result in a NP.

  4. Luz Perez
    January 31, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Hello, I applied to vhio for the spring 2012 Spanish translation training but I did not receive any notification regarding the status of my application. I would like to know if there is a delay in the decision. I would appreciate a lot if you could reply back my message.

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