In today’s world, a medical interpreter plays a vital role in healthcare. Due to immigration, the need for medical interpreters is increasing daily. Because foreigners cannot speak and understand non-native languages, there is a need for a certified medical interpreter who has proficiency in both English and the target language.

Role of medical interpreter

A medical interpreter is a person who helps non-native speakers communicate at the hospital. He may act as an independent person or interpreter from an interpreting agency. The medical interpreter ensures the patient receives proper care regardless of his native tongue due to an understanding of context and cultural differences.

A medical interpreter understands both the patient and medical staff. He acts as a third party to build trust between both parties. He is instrumental from the emergency room to mental health clinics. If the patient requires long-term care, he may also call again and again for overall care.

Difference between a Medical translator and a Medical interpreter

A medical interpreter works for verbal communication skills. While a medical translator translates written content such as legal documents and medical records. Interpreters should know medical terms. They also should have the language skills to interpret correctly. They must have fluency in English and at least one foreign language.

Why would you need a medical interpreter?

Suppose you are on a vacation trip in a foreign country and have a medical issue requiring instant medical help. But being a foreigner, your native language skills are limited.

Translation apps are also not properly communicating to the staff at the local hospital of that country. Rather than sitting in tension in that critical situation, you can request a medical interpreter to help you communicate with hospital staff.

How to obtain the certification as a medical interpreter?

Here are some requirements to obtain a certificate from The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters:

Minimum age:

The interested person must be 18 years or older. A driver’s license, birth certificate, or passport copy will be considered proof of age.

Minimum education:

A medical interpreter must have a high school diploma or a GED. This is a minimum requirement of education. However, some employers may support candidates who have taken college-level language courses.

Language proficiency:

The essential role of a medical interpreter is to translate complicated medical information and people’s feelings regarding their care. For this purpose, he needs to have proficiency in English and at least one language. Mastery and fluency in English and the target language are essential to getting a certificate.

Medical interpreting training:

Complete at least 40 hours of medical interpreting training from an accredited program. Interpreters usually work with cardiologists, neurologists, psychiatrists, surgeons and emergency room doctors.

At least 40 hours of medical interpreting training is necessary before becoming a medical interpreter. Courses in medical interpretation training can take online or in person. These training courses consist of the following general topics:

  1. Base of interpretation
  2. Medical ethics and standards
  3. Medical terminology
  4. Interpretation in medical specializations
  5. Test for obtaining certificate

Once you meet all the above requirements, take the medical interpreting exam. That exam for a medical interpreting career is called the CoreCHI. This online exam has about 100 multiple-choice questions. The test covers primary healthcare interpreting knowledge.

If your target language is Spanish or Arabic, then you must attempt an oral exam in both your target language and English. A passing score on both the oral exam and multiple choices are required for certification. A passing score must be gained on the oral exam and numerous options for certification.

Apply for your certification

The next step is to apply for certification. Two national certificates in the United States certify the completion of training and tell your eligibility to work as a medical interpreter. Moreover, there is also an international certification. People can obtain it if they wish to become medical interpreters for American Sign Language.

Make a resume:

Create a resume that shows your educational background and certifications for medical interpreting. After completing your training and certification process, creating a resume with your skills and readiness for your career is essential. To make your resume impactful and perfect, emphasize language proficiencies or knowledge and any relevant career history.

Start your career in an entry-level position:

You will need to apply for an entry-level position to begin your career as a medical interpreter. Always search for internships and available appointments in hospitals or mental health clinics. First, a career-related job is always helpful for a better understanding of society.

It is also beneficial in making professional connections and developing your language skills. Successful execution in an entry-level position is a practical step for career advancement in future. If you want to hire the best interpreters for medical purpose, or certification, Legal service translation (LST) is the best solution for you.