Qualified medical translator helps communicate between a healthcare professional and a patient who does not speak the same language. He must be fluent in both languages. A medical interpreter differs from a medical translator because his work is oral rather than written. So, he may act as an independent businessman or work for an interpreting agency.

A medical interpreter with basic translation skills may not be good enough to interpret. Although, without a qualified medical  translator or interpreter, results will not be as effective and can be dangerous for patient health. Usually, he has to interact face to face with patients and healthcare providers.

What is Medical Interpreting?

Medical interpreters serve as a bridge between patients and healthcare professionals. To be good at medical interpretation, the interpreter needs to have complete knowledge of the medical terminology of both languages.

Moreover, the medical interpreter should be able to understand body language and pay attention to the patient’s facial expressions. Qualified Medical translators or  interpreters work in hospitals, mental health clinics, and dental clinics.

Types of medical interpreting:

There are three types of medical interpreting that a client can choose from depending on his needs and budget:

  1. On-site interpreting:

On-site interpreting means that the interpreter is physically present on the site. The interpreter can see and hear both the patient and the medical representative—facial expressions and non-verbal language help in conveying a more unmistakable message. Also, on-site interpreting is the most effective form of interpretation. In medical interpretation, both parties mostly rely on it because it allows personal interaction.

Using an over-the-phone interpretation is not suitable when a situation is serious. It is best to hire an on-site interpreter in that situation. In addition, having the physical presence of a qualified medical translator or interpreter can make the patient feel a bit more calm and comfortable in a critical situation. Furthermore, face-to-face interaction gives accurate results.

  1. over the phone interpreting:

The term “over the phone interpretation” is relatively self-explanatory. Over-the-phone interpreting requires when two parties who do not speak the same language need to talk to each other. They call an off-site interpreter on the phone and take turns conveying their messages to the qualified medical translator or interpreter in their native language.

Although, Interpretation over the phone is a very affordable service because you don’t need any extensive setup. If the interpreter and both parties are at different places, they can make a conference call. So, two parties can use a speaker phone if they are in the exact location.

  1. Video Remote Interpreting :

Video remote interpreting is a form of sign language interpreting. VRI allows deaf or hard-of-hearing people to communicate with a hearing person at the same site via videoconferencing.

Also, It is gaining popularity day by day because of the benefits it offers. In VRI, the medical interpreter is not physically available at the meeting. But they can see the patient and the healthcare professional through video conference calls. If technology is available, it is a better option than over-the-phone interpreting.

Keys competencies of a qualified medical translator:

So, here are some of the critical competencies of qualified medical translators:

  1. Good linguistic skills:

A qualified medical translator must have a high fluency in language conversion. They should understand and interpret the conversation from the source to the target language within a few seconds.

For example, if a medical interpreter is dealing with a Chinese patient for a hospital in the USA, the interpreter must be proficient in both English and Chinese. Or, if a medical interpreter has linguistic skills in two or more languages, then his promotion chances are higher in this field.


  1. Good knowledge of medical terminology:

Medical terminology is difficult to understand. A qualified medical translator requires a deeper level of knowledge to express complex medical information. Understanding complex medical phrases make things easier to understand what doctors want to say and what they want to convey to patients. Also, It can make possible only with rigorous training and practical experience.


  1. Cultural competence:

Medical interpreters should be comfortable with the cultural norms of any native speaker country. They often involve personal subjects. If they are familiar with local methods, it will be easier for them to communicate with patients.

However, qualified medical translators should make the patient feel comfortable enough to express their feelings. They must accept cultural sensitivities and handle patients with care and empathy.

  1. Familiar with Code of ethic:

A medical interpreter must be familiar with the code of ethics. He must agree to follow the instructions, such as keeping patients’ personal medical information confidential and neutral. If he fails to comply with these codes, the result must be termination. Legal Service Translation (LST) has a team of qualified medical translators to ensure better services.

Also, there are many codes of ethics and guidelines in the field of medical interpretation. A qualified medical translator strictly adheres to the interpreter’s code of conduct.