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Become A Medical Interpreter

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Working As A Medical Interpreter

  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others
  • Getting Information
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Deal with People

  • $44,190

    Average Salary

What Does A Medical Interpreter Do At Franciscan Hospital for Children

* Under the supervision of Linguistic and Cultural Services Manager the interpreter will be responsible for:
* Providing direct services of verbal interpretation for patients and families with limited or no English language proficiency during their interactions with clinicians or any other staff member via phone or on site.
* Assisting with administrative needs to include: scheduling/fielding of interpreter requests, calling families to confirm appointments, taking direct incoming calls (or returning messages from the target language voice mail system), filing, photocopying, coordinating interpreters (independent contractors) work assignments as needed as well as securing follow up in a timely manner.
* Keeping accurate data of patient's encounters and assisting with data documentation for preparation of relevant department statistic reports.
* Translating documents from English into the Spanish language.
* This may include Discharge Instructions, forms, handouts, letters to patients/families, or other written materials that are deemed necessary by the clinical staff or supervisor to facilitate care or education.
* Working with special projects and duties as assigned.
* May be required to work holidays on occasion

What Does A Medical Interpreter Do At Lowell Community Health Center

* Helps facilitate successful delivery of services to linguistically diverse Medicaid patients, as part of the ACO.
* Explains Health Center resources, office protocols, and limitations to providers, clinicians, and patients; makes appropriate referrals; serves as a cultural and linguistic resource to both patients and providers to contribute to successful outcomes.
* Performs duties in a spirit of teamwork and cooperation.
* Adheres to Health Center policies on customer service.
* Understands the Health Center’s approach of service delivery.
* Completes written translations as required in patient encounters such as filling out forms and medical instructions, and medication schedules; administrative translations such as letters to patients, documents, and patient materials.
* Supports the office operations by answering the phone, taking requests, calling patients to confirm appointments, documenting encounters on the interpreter tracking system, entering data, verifying and scheduling future appointments when necessary, general troubleshooting, filing, and photocopying.
* Utilizes on-line computer systems such as Outlook, the Health Center’s Electronic Health Record, and other Health Center software.
* Works with special projects and other duties as assigned.
* Participates in staff meetings and completes necessary departmental reports

What Does A Medical Interpreter Do At Sinai Health System

* Conducts accurate medical and general interpretation for patient care staff, LEP patients and their families.
* Will not delete, add or edit message being conveyed to either party.
* Facilitates a two-way conversation between staff and LEP patient maintaining her/his role as the "voice" only of the conversing parties.
* Acts as a conduit of the communication process between hospital staff and LEP patients in interpreting information, general and medical, directions, procedures and other.
* Interpreter Code of Ethics and National Standards of Practice for Interpreters in Health Care.
* Provides a pre-encounter session to staff and LEP patient prior to the interpreter encounter except when circumstances do not permit such as in certain Emergency room treatment area.
* Performs transparent interpreting by maintaining all parties informed of other conversations or comments made in the presence of the LEP patient and staff conversation.
* Participates as necessary in patient/family medical conferences and in patient education (i.e. diabetes, nutrition, etc.) for LEP patients and/or family/care givers.
* Assists physicians, nurses, social workers, and other caregivers in the assessment of various situations that may be culturally different.
* Promotes teamwork and coordinates incoming calls with other staff interpreters in order to provide timely service in particular during high volume times.
* Records and compiles daily interpreter encounters by entering data into system on a timely basis for monthly and annual statistical reporting.
* Cooperates and maintains the quality of service provided to our patients by being flexible in providing coverage for interpreter teams' vacation, sick leave, and emergencies.
* Refers calls for other languages to the appropriate hospital approved interpreter resource.
* May participate in new employee orientation, provider in-services on using interpreters effectively or VRI training, employee meetings or forums as well as train volunteer interpreters.
* Prepares and submits incident reports to unit manager and/or department director regarding complaints and/or cases that may require special attention and/or follow up.
* If qualified, periodically translates or proofs translations of hospital material provided to LEP patient(s) or community.
* Promotes the hospital mission through volunteer participation in health fairs, community events, etc.
* Performs other duties as assigned.
* Ability to deal with confidential information is imperative.
* Ability to empathize with patients while safeguarding the interests of Holy Cross Hospital and Sinai Health System.
* Customer service excellence; excellent listening skills.
* Must be knowledgeable on cultural and perceptual factors that may have an impact on patient treatment and patient/health care provider communication.
* The ability to communicate effectively with individuals from all socioeconomic backgrounds is required.
* B
* Tuition Reimbursement
* Life Insurance

What Does A Medical Interpreter Do At Sinai Health System

* Conducts accurate medical and general interpretation for patient care staff, patients and their families.
* Will not delete, add or edit message being conveyed to either party.
* Acts as liaison between hospital staff and patients in interpreting questions, directions and procedures.
* Participates when necessary in patient and family medical conferences when patient and/or family are limited English speaking.
* Conveys information verbally and written for patient admissions, discharges, and registration procedures.
* Participates in patient education programs when called upon by staff, patients and/or their families.(i.e. diabetes, nutrition, use of heart monitor )
* Records daily interpretation encounters by entering data into system.
* This is used for statistical reporting.
* Assists physicians, nurses, social workers, and other medical staff in the assessment of various situations that may be culturally different.
* Facilitates access to hospital and community resources for limited English speaking patients.
* Cooperates and maintains the quality of service provided to our patients by being flexible in providing coverage for vacation, sick leave, and emergencies.
* Refers calls for other languages to the appropriate interpreter.
* May provide interpreter training in new employee orientation.
* May need to occasionally translate hospital written material to Spanish or appropriate language, for limited English speaking patients.
* Performs all other duties as assigned

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How To Become A Medical Interpreter

Although interpreters and translators typically need at least a bachelor’s degree, the most important requirement is that they be fluent in at least two languages (English and at least one other language). Many complete job-specific training programs. It is not necessary for interpreters and translators to have been raised in two languages to succeed in these jobs, but many grew up communicating in the languages in which they use for work.


The educational backgrounds of interpreters and translators vary widely, but it is essential that they be fluent in English and at least one other language.

High school students interested in becoming an interpreter or translator should take a broad range of courses that focus on English writing and comprehension, foreign languages, and computer proficiency. Other helpful pursuits for prospects include spending time in a foreign country, engaging in direct contact with foreign cultures, and reading extensively on a variety of subjects in English and at least one other language. Through community organizations, students interested in sign language interpreting may take introductory classes in American Sign Language (ASL) and seek out volunteer opportunities to work with people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Beyond high school, people interested in becoming interpreters or translators have numerous educational options. Although many jobs require a bachelor’s degree, majoring in a language is not always necessary. Rather, an educational background in a particular field of study can provide a natural area of subject-matter expertise.


Interpreters and translators generally need specialized training on how to do their work. Formal programs in interpreting and translating are available at colleges and universities nationwide and through nonuniversity training programs, conferences, and courses.

Many people who work as interpreters or translators in more technical areas—such as software localization, engineering, or finance—have a master’s degree. Those working in the community as court or medical interpreters or translators are more likely to complete job-specific training programs or certificates.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

There is currently no universal certification required of interpreters and translators beyond passing the required court interpreting exams offered by most states. However, workers can take a variety of tests that show proficiency. For example, the American Translators Association provides certification in 27 language combinations involving English.

Federal courts provide judiciary certification for Spanish, Navajo, and Haitian Creole interpreters, and many states offer their own certifications or licenses for these languages.

The National Association of the Deaf and the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf jointly offer certification for general sign language interpreters. In addition, the registry offers specialty tests in legal interpreting, speech reading, and deaf-to-deaf interpreting—which includes interpreting among deaf speakers of different native languages and from ASL to tactile signing.

The U.S. Department of State has a three-test series for prospective interpreters—one test in simple consecutive interpreting (for escort work), another in simultaneous interpreting (for court work), and a third in conference-level interpreting (for international conferences)—as well as a test for prospective translators. These tests are not considered a credential, but their completion indicates that a person has significant skill in the occupation.

The International Association of Conference Interpreters offers information for conference interpreters.

The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters offers two types of certifications for healthcare interpreters: Associate Healthcare Interpreter, for interpreters of languages other than Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin; and Certified Healthcare Interpreter, for interpreters of Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin.

The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters offers certification for medical interpreters of Spanish.

Other Experience

A good way for translators to learn firsthand about the occupation is to start working in-house for a translation company. Doing informal or volunteer work is an excellent way for people seeking interpreter or translator jobs to gain experience.

Volunteer opportunities for interpreters are available through community organizations, hospitals, and sporting events, such as marathons, that involve international competitors.

Paid or unpaid internships are other ways that interpreters and translators can gain experience. Escort interpreting may offer an opportunity for inexperienced candidates to work alongside a more experienced interpreter. Interpreters also may find it easier to begin working in industries with particularly high demand for language services, such as court or medical interpreting.

Whatever path of entry new interpreters and translators pursue, they should develop mentoring relationships with experienced workers in the field to build their skills and confidence and to establish and expand a network of contacts. Mentoring may be formal, such as that received through a professional association, or informal, such as that engaged in with a coworker or an acquaintance who has experience as an interpreter or translator. Both the American Translators Association and the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf offer formal mentoring programs.


After interpreters and translators have enough experience, they can move up to more difficult assignments, seek certification, and obtain editorial responsibility. They can also manage or start their own business.

Many self-employed interpreters and translators start their own business by first establishing themselves in their field. They may submit resumes and samples to different translation and interpreting companies and work for companies that match their skills with a job. Many then get work on the basis of their reputation or through referrals from existing clients.

Important Qualities

Business skills. Self-employed and freelance interpreters and translators need general business skills to manage their finances and careers successfully. They must set prices for their work, bill customers, keep records, and market their services in order to build their client base.

Concentration. Interpreters and translators must have the ability to concentrate while others are speaking or moving around them.

Cultural sensitivity. Interpreters and translators must be sensitive to cultural differences and expectations among the people whom they are helping to communicate. Successful interpreting and translating is a matter not only of knowing the words in different languages but also of understanding people’s cultures.

Dexterity. Sign language interpreters must be able to make quick and coordinated hand, finger, and arm movements when interpreting.

Interpersonal skills. Interpreters and translators, particularly those who are self-employed, must be able to get along with those who hire or use their services in order to retain clients and attract new business.

Listening skills. Interpreters must listen carefully when interpreting for audiences to ensure that they hear and interpret correctly.

Reading skills. Translators must be able to read in all of the languages in which they are working.

Speaking skills. Interpreters and translators must speak clearly in all of the languages in which they are working.

Writing skills. Translators must be able to write clearly and effectively in all of the languages in which they are working.

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Medical Interpreter jobs

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Medical Interpreter Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Arabic

  • Portuguese

  • Russian

  • Italian

  • Chinese

  • Mandarin

  • German

  • Vietnamese

  • Cantonese

  • Somali

  • Japanese

  • Ukrainian

  • Turkish

  • Hindi

  • Korean

  • Polish

  • Dari

  • Kurdish

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Real Medical Interpreter Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Medical Interpreter BNV Home Care Agency, Inc. New York, NY Sep 11, 2015 $52,000
Medical Interpreter St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center New York, NY Aug 28, 2011 $48,410
Medical Interpreter St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center New York, NY Dec 11, 2009 $48,000
Medical Interpreter La Bella Cosmetic Surgery, Inc. San Jose, CA Jul 06, 2016 $47,320
Medical Interpreter La Bella Cosmetic Surgery, Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 09, 2016 $47,320
Medical Interpreter (English-Spanish) The Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation Baltimore, MD Aug 11, 2010 $47,278
Medical Interpreter Jeffrey M. Ahn, M.D., P.C. New York, NY Oct 25, 2011 $45,914
Medical Interpreter Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, MA Nov 23, 2010 $42,262
Medical Interpreter Neighborhood Pediatrics PC Fitchburg, MA Mar 25, 2010 $41,300
Medical Interpreter and Assistant Beijing Chinese Medical Center, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Oct 01, 2013 $38,067
Medical Interpreter Florida Proton Therapy Institute Jacksonville, FL Jan 02, 2016 $37,000
Medical Interpreter Indianapolis Interpreters, Inc. Indianapolis, IN Oct 01, 2010 $33,800
Medical Interpreter Mills Enterprise, LLC Phoenix, AZ Dec 09, 2010 $32,100
Medical Interpreter Better Life Adult Day Health Center, Inc. CA Nov 23, 2009 $30,720
Medical Interpreter Better Life Adult Day Health Center, Inc. CA Dec 01, 2009 $30,720
Medical Interpreter F&M Radiology Medical Center, Inc. CA Oct 01, 2011 $30,472

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Top Skills for A Medical Interpreter


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Top Medical Interpreter Skills

  1. Hospital Staff
  2. Clinic Procedures
  3. Proper Medical Terminology
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Evaluate translation material ensuring accuracy in medical terminology and cultural language support to provide accurate communications with patients and hospital staff.
  • Use proper medical terminology, explain medical and surgical procedures to the patient.
  • Empowered patients to communicate with health care providers and facilitated culturally competent care.
  • Translated medical and social information for Spanish speaking patients and health care professionals in hospitals, clinics and social services organizations.
  • Interpreted for doctors, medical staff, attorneys and Worker's Comp.

Top Medical Interpreter Employers

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Medical Interpreter Videos

A Day in the Life of an Interpreter

Medical Interpreter Training: A Clear Voice for Those in Need (Part 2)

A Few Minutes In The Life Of A Sign Language Interpreter