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
06.02.2017
One to two years of experience in a healthcare setting as a medical interpreter. Must pass the Signature Healthcare Interpreter Services department's interpreter testing process, both in its written and oral format. Satisfactory fluency in...
06.02.2017
One to two years of experience in a healthcare setting as a medical interpreter. Must pass the Signature Healthcare Interpreter Services department's interpreter testing process, both in its written and oral format. Satisfactory fluency in...
10.20.2017
Under the direction of the director, the incumbent serves as a medical interpreter for patients and staff and supports the operations of the department, interpreting in the consecutive, simultaneous, and sight translation modes. Relays medical...
10.20.2017
Under the direction of the director, the incumbent serves as a medical interpreter for patients and staff and supports the operations of the department, interpreting in the consecutive, simultaneous, and sight translation modes. Relays medical...
10.19.2017
Under general supervision, interprets the spoken language (Spanish and Portuguese) between two or more individuals from English to the target language (Spanish and Portuguese) and back into English again to insure accurate cross language...
05.11.2017
Under general supervision, interprets the spoken language (Spanish and Portuguese) between two or more individuals from English to the target language (Spanish and Portuguese) and back into English again to insure accurate cross language...
10.02.2017
Under general supervision, interprets between two or more individuals from English to Cantonese and Mandarin and back into English again to insure accurate cross language communication in a medical environment. May be required to translate...
09.06.2017
Under general supervision, interprets between two or more individuals from English to Cantonese and Mandarin and back into English again to insure accurate cross language communication in a medical environment. May be required to translate...
09.27.2017
Interprets spoken words from one language into another. May be designated according to language or languages interpreted. May specialize in specific subject area.Translates written words from one language to another. Meets and maintains...
10.20.2017
The interpreter will be responsible for facilitating daily cross-cultural communication between patients, family members and others, along with medical providers and staff. The interpreter will serve as a cultural and language resource person....
10.20.2017
Under the supervision of the Interpreter Services Manager the Interpreter is responsible for assisting with the daily activities of the office, special projects, and serves as a medical interpreter. The medical interpreter works in compliance...
10.20.2017
The Spanish Medical Interpreter performs interpreting services for all assigned areas within Eskenazi Health. The Spanish Medical Interpreter advocates for Hispanic patients and their families, provides information concerning community resources...
10.20.2017
The Spanish Medical Interpreter performs interpreting services for all assigned areas within Eskenazi Health. The Spanish Medical Interpreter advocates for Hispanic patients and their families, provides information concerning community resources...
10.20.2017
The Spanish Medical Interpreter performs interpreting services for all assigned areas within Eskenazi Health. The Spanish Medical Interpreter advocates for Hispanic patients and their families, provides information concerning community resources...
10.20.2017
The Spanish Medical Interpreter performs interpreting services for all assigned areas within Eskenazi Health. The Spanish Medical Interpreter advocates for Hispanic patients and their families, provides information concerning community resources...
  1. Interpreter Brockton, MA Signature Healthcare
    One to two years of experience in a healthcare setting as a medical interpreter. Must pass the Signature Healthcare Interpreter Services department's interpreter testing process, both in its written and oral format. Satisfactory fluency in...
  2. Interpreter Brockton, MA Signature Healthcare
    One to two years of experience in a healthcare setting as a medical interpreter. Must pass the Signature Healthcare Interpreter Services department's interpreter testing process, both in its written and oral format. Satisfactory fluency in...
  3. INTERPRETER Worcester, MA UMass Memorial Medical Center
    Under the direction of the director, the incumbent serves as a medical interpreter for patients and staff and supports the operations of the department, interpreting in the consecutive, simultaneous, and sight translation modes. Relays medical...
  4. INTERPRETER Leominster, MA HealthAlliance Hospital
    Under the direction of the director, the incumbent serves as a medical interpreter for patients and staff and supports the operations of the department, interpreting in the consecutive, simultaneous, and sight translation modes. Relays medical...
  5. Interpreter Boston, MA Tufts Medical Center
    Under general supervision, interprets the spoken language (Spanish and Portuguese) between two or more individuals from English to the target language (Spanish and Portuguese) and back into English again to insure accurate cross language...
  6. Interpreter Boston, MA Tufts Medical Center
    Under general supervision, interprets the spoken language (Spanish and Portuguese) between two or more individuals from English to the target language (Spanish and Portuguese) and back into English again to insure accurate cross language...
  7. Interpreter Boston, MA Tufts Medical Center
    Under general supervision, interprets between two or more individuals from English to Cantonese and Mandarin and back into English again to insure accurate cross language communication in a medical environment. May be required to translate...
  8. Interpreter Boston, MA Tufts Medical Center
    Under general supervision, interprets between two or more individuals from English to Cantonese and Mandarin and back into English again to insure accurate cross language communication in a medical environment. May be required to translate...
  9. INTERPRETER/TRANSLATOR Greenville, SC Greenville Health System
    Interprets spoken words from one language into another. May be designated according to language or languages interpreted. May specialize in specific subject area.Translates written words from one language to another. Meets and maintains...
  10. Somali Interpreter St. Paul, MN Regions Hospital
    The interpreter will be responsible for facilitating daily cross-cultural communication between patients, family members and others, along with medical providers and staff. The interpreter will serve as a cultural and language resource person....
  11. INTERPRETER - Spanish - Per Diem Leominster, MA HealthAlliance Hospital
    Under the supervision of the Interpreter Services Manager the Interpreter is responsible for assisting with the daily activities of the office, special projects, and serves as a medical interpreter. The medical interpreter works in compliance...
  12. Spanish Medical Interpreter Indianapolis, IN Eskenazi Health
    The Spanish Medical Interpreter performs interpreting services for all assigned areas within Eskenazi Health. The Spanish Medical Interpreter advocates for Hispanic patients and their families, provides information concerning community resources...
  13. Spanish Medical Interpreter Indianapolis, IN Eskenazi Health
    The Spanish Medical Interpreter performs interpreting services for all assigned areas within Eskenazi Health. The Spanish Medical Interpreter advocates for Hispanic patients and their families, provides information concerning community resources...
  14. Spanish Medical Interpreter Indianapolis, IN Eskenazi Health
    The Spanish Medical Interpreter performs interpreting services for all assigned areas within Eskenazi Health. The Spanish Medical Interpreter advocates for Hispanic patients and their families, provides information concerning community resources...
  15. Spanish Medical Interpreter Indianapolis, IN Eskenazi Health
    The Spanish Medical Interpreter performs interpreting services for all assigned areas within Eskenazi Health. The Spanish Medical Interpreter advocates for Hispanic patients and their families, provides information concerning community resources...