Health Care Interpreter - Job Description, Duties, Education, Skills, Salary, & Growth

Health Care Interpreter


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Job Description


Health care interpreters help patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) communicate successfully with medical professionals and providers.

The services of a health care interpreter enables clinicians to provide excellent service to LEP patients, furnishing accurate translations of symptoms, medical history, and healthcare terminology.

This profession is urgently needed as the number of people with limited ability to speak English continues to rise strongly in the U.S.

A health care interpreter today is a high-valued member of the medical team in countless healthcare venues across America.

They provide verbal document translation into a patient's language, in person, over the telephone, or via video chat.

They also furnish two-way translation between patients and doctors or other medical professionals, provide cultural data that can be important to tailoring a treatment plan, and assist in communicating with patients' spouses, relatives, and friends who are also LEP individuals.

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Responsibilities

 

Health care interpreters greatly improve communication with doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, and other medical personnel.

These trained interpreters offer much more accurate translation than friends or relatives of the patient, reducing the hospital's liability and protecting the patient from the dangers of a critical misunderstanding. 

The primary responsibilities of a health care interpreter include:

  • Bridging the gap between healthcare providers and patients

  • Providing translations of medical documents, including records and prescriptions

  • Correctly explaining procedures and medications to patients, including potential side effects

  • Maintaining fluency in multiple languages

  • Supporting the health and well-being of patients by accurately facilitating communication

  • Upholding laws, regulations, and policies in accordance with health care interpreting practices

  • Ensuring confidentiality of patient information

  • Understanding their ethical obligation to the position

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Skills

 

Communication

Must effectively communicate with your co-workers to ensure the best care and the proper procedures. Must be able to communicate in high-stress environments.

Active Listening

Offering your full attention to an individual person or group in order to fully understand problems and their nature.

Critical Thinking

Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making

Needs to be able to act autonomously and make difficult decisions that would benefit the patient or make corrections. Must consider all benefits and repercussions of potential actions and choose the appropriate one. 

Complex Problem Solving

Must be able to identify complex problems and develop and evaluate corrective options and implement solutions. 

Stress Management

Must be able to endure intense situations and handle pressure that comes with extreme situations you may encounter.

Trustworthiness

Must be trustworthy because you have people's lives in your hands and what you do could help or hurt them. They are entrusted with a great responsibility and must live up to it. 

Perception

Gauging how people react and read their body language to decipher their feelings and predict their actions. They must be able to determine if people could be a risk to themselves or others and to distinguish truths from lies.

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Working Conditions

 

A health care interpreter's working conditions differ hugely depending on where they are employed. Depending on the size and organization of the hospital, the interpreter may work in just one section, or may provide interpretation services in multiple departments.

The job formerly involved mostly day shift work, but with increasing numbers of LEP patients, night shifts and on-call work on weekends or holidays is often necessary, especially in acute and urgent care.

In large cities or hospitals, workloads can be quite intense. Additional pressure comes from working in the emergency room, in substance abuse clinics, domestic violence centers, mental health institutions, forensic medicine, or other situations of a like nature.

While some locations give interpreters a break every two hours, many cannot or do not offer these respites and working continuously for much longer is possible.

Counterbalancing these stressful factors is the deep emotional satisfaction and the positive feelings many interpreters experience when they see how much their services save lives and improve treatment outcomes.

While urban settings have the highest demand for health care interpreters' services, more and more rural areas also need them. In addition to face to face translation, these professionals work over the telephone or through video.

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Salary Outlook

Title Company Location Posted
09.23.2019
The Interpreter reports to the Manager, Interpreter Services. Under indirect supervision, the Interpreter facilitates a communication bridge for the Spanish speaking patient population and the health care providerand support staff. This position...
10.23.2019
Two years of experience in a healthcare setting as a medical interpreter preferred. Must pass the Signature Healthcare Interpreter Services department's interpreter testing process, both in its written and oral format. Satisfactory fluency in...
10.23.2019
Two years of experience in a healthcare setting as a medical interpreter preferred. Must pass the Signature Healthcare Interpreter Services department's interpreter testing process, both in its written and oral format. Satisfactory fluency in...
01.07.2020
Certification from any one of the following is required and must be maintained. Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI): Certified Healthcare Interpreter (CHI) or The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters...
10.21.2019
101 East Wood Street, Spartanburg, SC, 29303 Office of Diversity Spartanburg Medical Center Per Diem Varied Shifts As Needed "Seeking Russian Interpreter" Job Summary Spartanburg Regional is looking for a Russian Interpreter...
01.17.2020
Located in Boston and the surrounding communities, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute brings together world renowned clinicians, innovative researchers and dedicated professionals, allies in the common mission of conquering cancer, HIV/AIDS and related...
01.17.2020
The Russian Interpreter is responsible for assessing the needs of patients and providing assistance by interpretation of consent forms, diagnoses, discharge plans and any other type of patient-related information. Located in Boston and the...
12.30.2019
Job Purpose: The ASL medical interpreter provides interpreting and/or transliterating services for Deaf patients and hearing health care professionals in a variety of medical settings. The interpreter facilitates communication through use of...
01.09.2020
The Medical Interpreter provides medical and general interpreting services for Limited English proficient patients/guests inRussian to work on a PRN basis. Minimum Requirements Education High school graduate or GED required, Associate or...
01.17.2020
Interpreters are responsible for assessing the needs of patients and providing assistance by interpretation of consent forms, diagnoses, discharge plans and any other type of patient-related information. Located in Boston and the surrounding...
01.17.2020
Interpreters are responsible for assessing the needs of patients and providing assistance by interpretation of consent forms, diagnoses, discharge plans and any other type of patient-related information. Located in Boston and the surrounding...
08.12.2019
MISSION: To improve the health of our community, serving with compassion and respect, one person at a time. VISION: Working together, Skagit Regional Health will transform healthcare by improving access, service, quality and efficiency in support...
01.17.2020
Note: Position reposted Sign Language Interpreter Broughton Hospital is currently accepting applications for a Sign Language Interpreter to work in the Deaf Services Department; specifically, on a co-ed deaf unit. The primary focus of this...
01.17.2020
Interprets and translates services for limited-English speaking patients and employees at Beth Israel Deaconess in fulfillment of BI-Deaconess' commitment to serve its employees and the community at large. Essential Responsibilities: Enables...
01.17.2020
For just a few hours a week, thisAdministrative Specialist Isupports the Director of Interpreter Services, specifically in the areasof ADAcomplianceand supporting ourDeaf and Hard of Hearing Patient and Family Council (DHHPFAC). Performing a...
  1. Certified Interpreter Charleston, SC Medical University of South Carolina
    The Interpreter reports to the Manager, Interpreter Services. Under indirect supervision, the Interpreter facilitates a communication bridge for the Spanish speaking patient population and the health care providerand support staff. This position...
  2. Medical Interpreter Brockton, MA Signature Healthcare
    Two years of experience in a healthcare setting as a medical interpreter preferred. Must pass the Signature Healthcare Interpreter Services department's interpreter testing process, both in its written and oral format. Satisfactory fluency in...
  3. Medical Interpreter Brockton, MA Signature Healthcare
    Two years of experience in a healthcare setting as a medical interpreter preferred. Must pass the Signature Healthcare Interpreter Services department's interpreter testing process, both in its written and oral format. Satisfactory fluency in...
  4. Certified Interpreter Charleston, SC Medical University of South Carolina
    Certification from any one of the following is required and must be maintained. Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI): Certified Healthcare Interpreter (CHI) or The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters...
  5. Medical Interpreter Spartanburg, SC Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
    101 East Wood Street, Spartanburg, SC, 29303 Office of Diversity Spartanburg Medical Center Per Diem Varied Shifts As Needed "Seeking Russian Interpreter" Job Summary Spartanburg Regional is looking for a Russian Interpreter...
  6. Interpreter - Spanish (per diem) Boston, MA Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    Located in Boston and the surrounding communities, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute brings together world renowned clinicians, innovative researchers and dedicated professionals, allies in the common mission of conquering cancer, HIV/AIDS and related...
  7. Russian Interpreter - Per Diem Boston, MA Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    The Russian Interpreter is responsible for assessing the needs of patients and providing assistance by interpretation of consent forms, diagnoses, discharge plans and any other type of patient-related information. Located in Boston and the...
  8. ASL Medical Interpreter Per Diem Cambridge, MA Cambridge Health Alliance
    Job Purpose: The ASL medical interpreter provides interpreting and/or transliterating services for Deaf patients and hearing health care professionals in a variety of medical settings. The interpreter facilitates communication through use of...
  9. PRN- Medical Interpreter Spartanburg, SC Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
    The Medical Interpreter provides medical and general interpreting services for Limited English proficient patients/guests inRussian to work on a PRN basis. Minimum Requirements Education High school graduate or GED required, Associate or...
  10. Interpreter - Vietnamese (Per Diem) Boston, MA Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    Interpreters are responsible for assessing the needs of patients and providing assistance by interpretation of consent forms, diagnoses, discharge plans and any other type of patient-related information. Located in Boston and the surrounding...
  11. Interpreter - Korean (Per Diem) Boston, MA Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    Interpreters are responsible for assessing the needs of patients and providing assistance by interpretation of consent forms, diagnoses, discharge plans and any other type of patient-related information. Located in Boston and the surrounding...
  12. Interpreter Services Scheduler (TEMP) Mount Vernon, WA Skagit Regional Health
    MISSION: To improve the health of our community, serving with compassion and respect, one person at a time. VISION: Working together, Skagit Regional Health will transform healthcare by improving access, service, quality and efficiency in support...
  13. Sign Language Interpreter - Broughton Hospital Raleigh, NC NC Department of Health and Human Services
    Note: Position reposted Sign Language Interpreter Broughton Hospital is currently accepting applications for a Sign Language Interpreter to work in the Deaf Services Department; specifically, on a co-ed deaf unit. The primary focus of this...
  14. Interpreter I Spanish Boston, MA Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
    Interprets and translates services for limited-English speaking patients and employees at Beth Israel Deaconess in fulfillment of BI-Deaconess' commitment to serve its employees and the community at large. Essential Responsibilities: Enables...
  15. Administrative Specialist I- Interpreter Services Portland, ME MaineHealth
    For just a few hours a week, thisAdministrative Specialist Isupports the Director of Interpreter Services, specifically in the areasof ADAcomplianceand supporting ourDeaf and Hard of Hearing Patient and Family Council (DHHPFAC). Performing a...