Medical Interpreter Job Description

Medical Interpreter Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Are you searching for a medical interpreter job description? Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a medical interpreter. Feel free to use our medical interpreter job description template to produce your own medical interpreter job description. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a medical interpreter.


Who is a Medical Interpreter?

A medical translator facilitates communication between non-English speakers and physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. They might run their own independent business or work for a hospital or an interpreting service. Due to their comprehension of context and cultural differences, interpreters serve as the go-between for patients and providers who are proficient in two distinct languages, ensuring that all patients, regardless of their original tongue, receive high-quality, patient-centered treatment.

Due to the language barrier, patients are frequently afraid and need medical interpreters to reassure them that they are safe and will receive the proper care. They assist in establishing trust between the parties and aid to reduce the tension and discomfort brought on by cultural differences because they are the one who has an understanding of both the patient and the medical personnel. The emergency room, mental health clinics, and any other healthcare settings can benefit from their utilization.

Healthcare interpreters are crucial to overall treatment since they may be utilized frequently with patients who need long-term care. Services may be offered indefinitely for less widely spoken languages if there are fewer interpreters available.


Why Are Medical Interpreters Needed?

You need a medical interpreter to act as the point of contact between you and your medical team if you are not in your native country and lack the language abilities to communicate there. It can be challenging to accurately communicate the right information even if you have someone else with you who can speak both languages, such as a child or other family member. There is a risk of malpractice claims or other issues without accurate information on what is happening, including present symptoms, medical history, family history, and so forth.

Is there any difference between a Medical Interpreter and a Medical Translator?

Although some people confuse these names, there is a distinct difference between the two. The ability to communicate verbally is a requirement for employment as a medical interpreter. A medical translator, on the other hand, translates written content, such as legal documents and medical records.

Although some people confuse these names, there is a distinct difference between the two. The ability to communicate verbally is a requirement for employment as a medical interpreter. A medical translator, on the other hand, translates written content, such as legal documents and medical records.

Both professional pathways demand fluency in at least one other foreign language in addition to English. As errors in medical interpretation could result in legal problems, the interpreters must also have a working grasp of technical phrases in both languages as well as medical terminology.


Medical Interpreter Job Description

What is a medical interpreter job description? A medical interpreter job description is simply a list of duties and responsibilities of a medical interpreter in an organization. Below are the medical interpreter job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a medical interpreter job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

The jobs and duties of a medical interpreter include the following:

  • Translate the technical medical advice and information provided by the practitioner into the patient’s local language using equivalent terminology.
  • Assist with translating medical text from English; if expressly asked, translate patient education materials on behalf of internal and external customers.
  • Establish and uphold high standards of customer service and amicable interactions with all patients, clients, guests, healthcare professionals, and clinical staff.
  • Provide assistance with patient follow-up, including making appointment reminder calls to patients as required.
  • Adhere strictly to Health and Safety Commission rules and regulations regarding patient confidentiality.
  • Participate in ongoing annual medical interpreter or translator training as a requirement for employment.
  • Provide sporadic services outside of regular business hours.
  • Fulfill other tasks related to your position as provided.
  • Deliver precise translations to patients and healthcare professionals.
  • Simplify any jargon to ensure that patients can understand medical information.
  • Maintain the patient’s information’s confidentiality.
  • Identify and address cultural barriers that can prevent healthcare professionals from giving patients the information they need.



  • Having a General Education Diploma or a High School Diploma.
  • A minimum of two years of relevant experience in the tasks and obligations mentioned: Certification/Licensure Interpreter/Translator Certificate and/or Certificate of Competency from an approved Interpreter/Translator training program.
  • A degree from an approved college.
  • Knowledge of the required foreign language (s).
  • Grasp of medical terminology and practices as of late.
  • Having the ability to faithfully and accurately interpret important medical information in the patient’s native tongue.
  • Strong interpersonal abilities, adaptability, and a focus on customer service.
  • Writing translation proficiency in a foreign language.


Essential Skills

  1. Language and interpreting abilities:  A medical interpreter needs to be extremely fluent in order to convert languages. Additionally, they must have the ability to quickly understand and translate messages from one language to another.
  2. Knowledge of medical terminology: Understanding medical terminology in both the source language and the target language is essential for medical interpreting. To communicate complex therapeutic information, certain specializations need even deeper levels of understanding.
  3. Understanding of the cultural norms and values of patients: Medical interpreters need to be at ease with the cultural norms that are present in every native speaker’s nation. In medical interpreting, very private things are frequently spoken, and juggling cultural propriety and delicate subjects can be difficult. A medical interpreter must help the patient feel at ease so that they may correctly and honestly describe their symptoms. A skilled medical interpreter must also be sensitive to cultural norms and treat patients with compassion. It will be simpler for them to interact with the patients if they are aware of the regional practices.
  4. Understanding of Ethical Conduct for medical practice: Codes of behavior established for qualified medical interpreters uphold professional standards. Interpreters are required to abide by rules such as maintaining the privacy of patients’ private medical information and maintaining objectivity. Role termination is a possibility if these codes are broken.
  5. The expertise of Healthcare-Related Jargons: Understanding the lingo used in the medical industry is crucial for medical interpreter to do their work well. This information could help you avoid a tragic scenario in which you make an expensive, interpretation-related error in addition to making your daily activities less stressful.
  6. Ability to Take Notes: Taking notes can be a huge assistance to interpreters and ensure that the patients receive an accurate interpretation. Doctors might like to explain a diagnosis for a fair amount of time without being interrupted. In situations like this, it is crucial for the medical interpreter to take thorough notes that cover every detail. Even in dialogue interpretings, such as when translating a brief exchange between a patient and a staff member, some interpreters take notes.

Not just for speech and conference interpreting, but for all consecutive interpreting in general, note-taking abilities are crucial. Some interpreters use symbols and drawings, while others take note of keywords. Each interpreter develops their own methods. The major goal of these notes is to aid in their retention of the content’s organization so that nothing is forgotten. Even if shortening all utterances in a medical setting can be challenging, memory is still crucial for bringing out the specifics of the information.

  1. Brilliant linguistic proficiency: Strong multilingual proficiency is essential for this position. The rationale is that a professional interpreter must be fluent in both English and Japanese if, for example, they are working with a Japanese patient in a US hospital. A medical interpreter is more likely to succeed in this industry if they are fluent in two or more foreign languages.


How to Become a Medical Interpreter

  1. Obtain your high school diploma: Medical interpreters must have a high school diploma, a GED, or the international equivalent in order to work. Although this is the minimum requirement, certain businesses might favor applicants who have taken language classes at the college level.
  2. Master language proficiency in two or more languages: A medical interpreter’s main responsibility is to translate complicated medical terminology as well as patients’ feelings and worries about their care. They must be proficient in switching back and forth between English and another language in order to execute this job properly. Both English and another language proficiency are needed. People in this position need to be able to explain treatment plans and pharmaceutical information effectively in addition to being able to translate medical language appropriately. Additionally, they must be able to ask doctors about the opinions and sentiments of the people they assist.
  3. Consider obtaining your bachelor’s degree: A bachelor’s degree can make you more marketable to employers by demonstrating your advanced knowledge and language abilities. When looking for positions in the field of medical interpreting, taking a language course as part of the bachelor’s degree program is a strong differentiator. Foreign language studies, teaching English as a second language, linguistics, social work, and intercultural communication are popular majors for people who desire to work as medical interpreters.
  4. Round off your medical interpreting training: Cardiologists, neurologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, surgeons, and emergency room physicians frequently collaborate with interpreters. Being able to work as a medical interpreter requires completing at least 40 hours of training. Medical interpretation classes are offered both in-person and online, and they often cover the following main subjects:
  • Foundations of interpretation
  • Medical ethics and standards
  • Medical terminology
  • Interpreting in medical specializations
  1. Apply for certification: There are two national certificates available in the US that attest to the successful completion of the necessary training and indicate to potential employers that you are qualified to work as a medical interpreter. Additionally, if someone wants to work as a medical interpreter for American Sign Language speakers, they can get international certification. The requirements for these three well-recognized certificates are listed below:
    • Certified healthcare interpreter (CHI): One must adhere to the requirements set forth by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters in order to obtain this credential (CCHI). Candidates who pass the CoreCHI exam will be certified as interpreters by the CCHI. This computer test has 100 hundred multiple-choice questions and covers the fundamentals of medical interpretation. Individuals who will be translating into Arabic, Mandarin, or Spanish, must also pass an oral exam in both English and the intended target language.
    • Certified medical interpreter (CMI): A person must adhere to the requirements laid down by The National Board for Certified Medical Interpreters in order to obtain this accreditation (NBCMI). The National Board of Certified Medical Interpreters requires that a written test be passed in the language of your choosing in order to become certified. The following seven languages are accepted for certification by the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters:
      • Spanish
      • Russian
      • Korean
      • Cantonese
      • Mandarin
      • Vietnamese
      • Interpreter Service Provider (ISP)

For people who wish to work as medical interpreters for ASL speakers, the International Medical Interpreters Association offers certification as an Interpreter Service Provider (ISP) (IMIA). ASL instruction and an application are required for this certification.

  1. Create your resume: A crucial first step in becoming a medical interpreter is to write a CV that emphasizes your school background and medical interpreting qualifications. It’s crucial to produce a document that clearly explains your talents and employment preparation after completing your training, education, and certification processes. To make your resume stand out, be sure to highlight language proficiency, unique abilities, and any relevant work experience.
  2. Apply for an entry-level position: You must apply for an entry-level position if you want to start your career as a medical interpreter and get practical experience. Look for opportunities and open positions at medical offices, psychiatric clinics, or rehabilitation centers. Performing one’s work obligations well in an entry-level role is a significant first step toward career advancement. Your first career-related employment is beneficial for learning more about the field, expanding your network of contacts, and acquiring and refining skills.
  3. Keep your certification up-to-date: There are certain requirements for professional development and renewal set forth by each certification body. For instance, to maintain their credentials, CMIs must complete at least 16 hours of continuing education every two years, according to the National Board for Certified Medical Interpreters. To show prospective employers that you are educated about the most recent advancements in the medical interpretation industry, research your specific requirements and look for learning opportunities. It is crucial that interpreters understand how to translate new treatments and medications into their target languages as medical technology develops.


Where to Work as a Medical Interpreter

  • Hospitals
  • Doctor offices
  • Nursing homes
  • Health care clinics
  • Other medical facilities.


Medical Interpreter Salary Scale

Medical interpreters receive an average basic pay of $42,449 from their employers, plus an additional $5,195 in cash incentives, gratuities, commissions, or profit-sharing, according to Glassdoor. From $28,000 at the low end to $62,000 at the high end, that is the wage range. The amount of money you make depends on your experience and the languages you speak. In the United Kingdom, the average pay for a medical interpreter is £25.00 per hour and £36,156 per year.

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