TN 33 (05-11)
GN 00301.350 Authorizing Non SSA Translators
A. Who is a non-SSA translator
A non-SSA translator is a person who is not an SSA employee. See GN 00301.350B. in this section for instructions establishing the qualifications for non-SSA translators.
Although the following translators are not SSA employees they are acceptable translators and do not require certification by the field office (FO) manager. NOTE: SSA employees should NOT use any internet translator websites. Employees who attempt to access one of these sites will receive a warning when attempting to access internet based websites.
An employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office (VARO) in Manila
A U.S. military translator
A consular official
U.S. Consulate in Adana, Turkey
Designated employee of the Federal Benefits Unit of a U.S. Foreign Service Post (FSP).
See also GN 00904.225 for information on FSP’s trained in Claims Taking and Development.
B. Selecting non-SSA translator services
1. Selection process for translator services
A non-SSA translator must submit a statement of qualifications to the SSA FO manager.
EXCEPTION: Document the claim if the FO manager knows the non-SSA translator who is providing the translation service only for an individual claim (not on a continuing basis). You do not need to obtain a statement of qualifications from the non-SSA translator.
2. Selection criteria for translator services
A non-SSA translator must:
be currently or was previously employed as a translator for a recognized translation organization for foreign language in the community (e.g., a language school, private or public social service organization, governmental agency, foreign service organization, government agency, foreign study department at a college, etc.).
follow the requirements in Authorization of SSA Translators (GN 00301.345).
3. Authorization process for translator services
a. The FO manager:
will not rely upon oral representations made by the potential translator.
will contact the potential translator’s employer or previous employer, or other sources in the community with knowledge of the potential translator’s ability and experience.
will forward a memorandum to the Regional Office (RO) listing the basis for the recommendation. Include the points covered in the criteria listed in GN 00301.350B.2. in this section, for non-SSA translator services, along with any supporting statements needed. Indicate whether the non-SSA translator agrees to serve all FOs in the region.
b. Regional Office – Assistant Regional Commissioner (ARC), Program Operations and Systems (or designee) should:
advise FO manager of decision.
add the non-SSA translator's name to the regional listing of translation services.
retain the FO manager's memo and supporting statements in RO file.
C. Disclosure and confidentiality of information
FO managers shall advise all non-SSA translators, at the point of initial authorization, that all information submitted to them for translation is confidential and they should not disclose any information to anyone without the consent of SSA or the claimant, nor should the translator retain copies of any document for any purpose. In addition, all translations by non-SSA translators must be verbatim (see GN 00301.395).