Health care interpreters also known as Medical Interpreters provide language services to non-English-speaking patients to help them communicate with doctors, nurses and other medical staff. They might be employed by medical facilities or interpreter agencies, or they might choose to operate their own businesses. Medical interpreters need to have a high level of communication skill in both English and a foreign language. Earning a bachelor’s degree in interpretation or a specific foreign language is common for aspiring interpreters, though certificate programs in medical interpretation are also available. In recent years, two National Certification bodies have been established to validate qualifications of health care interpreters.
Health care interpreters work in a variety of health care settings, this includes but not limited to, hospitals, clinics, private offices, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes. Employment demands will differ among the different settings, including the number of departments an interpreter may be placed.
According to the Department of Labor, employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 46 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by increasing globalization and by large increases in the number of non-English-speaking people in the United States.
Individuals seeking to become health care interpreters may enroll in a certificate program that may be offered through an Area Health Education Center or medical interpreter certificate program at a community college. Topics of study are likely to include medical terminology, medical ethics, and standards of practice, integrated interpreting skills, and intercultural communication.
Currently there are no licensing or certification requirements in Connecticut. While certificate courses that provide fundamental knowledge of healthcare interpreting is available, employers may not require this for employment. There are however, some health care organizations that require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters, www.certifiedmedicalinterpreters.org
Certification Commission for Health care Interpreters, www.cchicertification.org
International Medical Interpreter Association, www.imiaweb.org
National Council on Interpreting in Health Care, www.ncihc.org
Eastern Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Inc. , http://www.easternctahec.org