WASCLA is not an interpreter organization, but strongly supports the professions of interpreting and translation. Interpreters were among the founders of WASCLA, and continue to be actively involved in the leadership of our organization. WASCLA has always sought to include interpreter and translator perspectives in our education and policy work, understanding that interpreters and translators are a vital component of a robust language access program. One of WASCLA’s core goals is to promote the development of a well-qualified interpreter workforce and the utilization of their services statewide in all sectors, public and private. WASCLA works alongside professional interpreter organizations to promote policies and practices that support interpreters in the work that they do. WASCLA also supports interpreters by offering Washington’s only conference dedicated to language access, by hosting regular open calls on language access issues, and by hosting a free online Interpreter & Translator Directory.

WASCLA educates communities, institutions, and organizations about the importance of ensuring LEP and Deaf individuals can communicate when seeking services crucial to their wellbeing. This includes educating about the legal framework for language access rights and responsibilities; countering anti-immigrant narratives; sharing the components of effective language services delivery and skill sets of qualified interpreters and translators; and engaging in policy work. WASCLA advances our mission and vision through these core efforts:
Policy research, analysis, advocacy, and consultation: We work with government agencies to assess policies, and offer input to center LEP individuals in language access solutions. WASCLA provides comments on federal, state, and local policies that impact communications.
Public sector accountability: We monitor language access issues and unjust practices and offer policy remedies. For example, during recent Central Washington wildfires, there was no coordinated plan for communicating with residents in languages other than English. With partners, we promoted ways to meet immediate and long-term needs, resulting in legislation requiring language access measures.
Countering Anti-Immigrant Prejudice: WASCLA recognizes that implicit bias and anti-immigrant sentiment are undercurrents to the lack of investment in language services. Our language justice work seeks to dismantle that narrative with positive messaging about the value of all persons. WASCLA works to stop the marginalization of LEP and Deaf persons by creating resources to empower them. For example, WASCLA’s Healthcare Committee created “I Speak” cards and Know your Rights flyers in 30 languages, available free of charge.
Language Access Open Update Calls: Held year-round, these calls offer a space to discuss ongoing issues and time-sensitive concerns. In 2019, for example, a continuing education deadline put the state’s medical interpreter pool at risk of a mass decertification that would result in a shortage of interpreters available for medical appointments. WASCLA hosted calls with state agencies and impacted communities to raise awareness and advocated for ways to minimize harm to LEP people. Our leadership led to the state offering additional testing slots and time for interpreters to be reinstated, minimizing service interruption. Since early 2020, the calls have been dedicated to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and its vastly disproportionate impacts on immigrant communities.
Annual Language Access Summit: Since 2005 WASCLA has held an annual summit with statewide partners to share best practices, bring attention to ongoing barriers, and develop alliances to increase access. Our Summits have reached over 1,800 participants.
Interpreter and Translator Directory: WASCLA created a free searchable directory as an online resource to help link entities needing language services with interpreters and translators. Interpreters and translators create profiles which medical and other providers needing interpreter services and/or translations can search by language. The Directory is not tied to a specific type of credential or affiliation, and as such it fills a gap and creates connection to interpreters of less prevalent languages.

Anyone with an interest in language access is invited to become a member of our coalition network. To join, you may use the “Subscribe to Our Mailing List” form on our website, or send an email with your contact information to SUBSCRIBE in the subject line to: info@wascla.org

WASCLA relies on donations from individuals,organizations, and businesses who support our mission. Through registration fees and the support of sponsors for the Language Access Summit, we are able to cover our expenses to keep the registration fees as affordable as possible and to offer scholarships for attendance. We have been able to secure grant funding for some of our projects such as the Interpreter & Translator Directory and the translation of ISpeak cards customized for Washington State languages. We continue to seek financial resources to continue and expand our work and to hire staff, as the need and demand for our services continues to increase.
WASCLA is a 501(c)3 organization, EIN 90-0517290, and donations are tax-deductible to donors to the full extent of the law.
Mailing address:
1037 NE 65th St. #262
Seattle WA 98115
Email: info@wascla.org