Overview of the Hawaii Quality Assurance System (HQAS)

The HQAS is a statewide credential for American Sign Language interpreters. HQAS offers qualified sign language interpreters who do not hold national certification an opportunity to obtain credentials valid and recognized by the State of Hawaii. The system establishes interpreting and transliterating standards at various skill levels. Legislative authority for the credentialing of interpreters via a state screening process is contained in the Hawaii Revised Statutes 348F-3 (3).

            The goal of the HQAS is to increase the number of certified and credentialed interpreters available to consumers and agencies in Hawaii. The written ethics test is to ensure all interpreters uphold an ethical standard when utilizing their interpreting skills.

The HQAS consists of a performance portion, a Code of Professional Conduct (CPC) video, and a written ethics test. Materials, processes, and training protocols were drawn from the Kansas Quality Assurance Screening and then updated in January 2020.

The +H is an optional local Hawaii Creole English introductory video. Interpreters who are from other states should view this video for an overview of Hawaii’s language competency with both spoken and sign language styles common in Hawaii.

The HQAS is administered using local interpreter evaluators to ensure that test results accurately reflect the candidate’s ability to interpret within our local community. 

What do the levels mean?
The HQAS establishes interpreting and transliterating standards at various skill levels. 

Hawaii State Sign Language Interpreter Credential Tier V

A Tier V Interpreter-transliterator can function expressively and receptively in virtually all situations.  While no restrictions are indicated, all interpreters must demonstrate professional judgment in accepting assignments.

 A Hawaii State Sign Language Interpreter Credential Tier V is issued to an individual who passes the Hawaii Quality Assurance System test at a Level V.


Hawaii State Sign Language Interpreter Credential Tier IV

A Tier IV Interpreter-transliterator can function expressively and receptively in most complex and technical situations.  This interpreter may accept assignments for one-on-one and group sessions, as well as workshops and platform assignments.  This interpreter is qualified for most medical and dental appointments, and limited legal interpreting, including client/lawyer meetings, and traffic or small claims court. 

All interpreters must demonstrate professional judgment in accepting assignments.

A Hawaii State Sign Language Interpreter Credential Tier IV is issued to an individual who passes the Hawaii Quality Assurance System test at a Level IV.


Hawaii State Sign Language Interpreter Credential Tier III

A Tier III Interpreter-transliterator is a qualified interpreter at the entry level.  This interpreter may accept assignments for many group sessions and workshops and most one-on-one situations.

All interpreters must demonstrate professional judgment in accepting assignments.

A Hawaii State Sign Language Interpreter Credential Tier III is issued to an individual who passes the Hawaii Quality Assurance System test at a Level III.


What does the HQAS test involve?
The HQAS consists of  a two-part interpreting/transliterating performance portion, and a written ethics test. Materials, processes and training protocols were drawn from the Kansas Quality Assurance Screening, which has been shown to be a valid and reliable testing instrument. The HQAS is administered using local interpreter evaluators to ensure that test results accurately reflect the candidates’ ability to interpret within our local community.

How does an HQAS interpreter maintain his/her credential?
Upon completing the Hawaii Quality Assurance System, applicants who have achieved Tier III to TIer V will receive a Hawaii State Sign Language Interpreter Credential (HSSLIC) which is valid for two (2) years. Interpreters who wish to maintain their HSSLIC must enroll in the HQAS Continuing Education Program (CEP). Interpreters in the HQAS CEP must obtain the required amount of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to maintain their credential. This provides interpreters the opportunity to develop and increase knowledge and competency in the interpreting field while maintaining their credential.

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