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
01.19.2018
St. Lukes is looking for an Interpreter to join us in our strategy to be the communitys trusted partner in providing exceptional, patient- centered care. With multiple locations in the beautiful southern and central Idaho, our mild, four season...
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...
11.16.2017
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...
01.19.2018
We are looking for a driven Interpreter to add to our health system. If youre looking for a place where you can grow in your personal life, in your career, and in your community, St. Lukes may be just the place for you. A strong, talented...
01.19.2018
City Rochester State Minnesota Telecommute No Department International Position description Accurately transmits messages between non-English speaking patients and healthcare providers or support personnel at Mayo Clinic using...
01.19.2018
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...
01.19.2018
Foreign Language Medical Interpreters facilitate health related communication between Health Care Providers (HCPs) and Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients. Medical Interpreters help to ensure that patients receive understandable and...
01.19.2018
Foreign Language Medical Interpreters facilitate health related communication between Health Care Providers (HCPs) and Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients. Medical Interpreters help to ensure that patients receive understandable and...
01.18.2018
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...
01.18.2018
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...
01.19.2018
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...
01.19.2018
City Rochester State Minnesota Telecommute No Department International Position description Accurately transmits messages between non-English speaking patients and healthcare providers or support personnel at Mayo Clinic using...
01.19.2018
City Rochester State Minnesota Telecommute No Department International Position description Accurately transmits messages between non-English speaking patients and healthcare providers or support personnel at Mayo Clinic using...
01.19.2018
City Rochester State Minnesota Telecommute No Department International Position description Accurately transmits messages between non-English speaking patients and healthcare providers or support personnel at Mayo Clinic using...
  1. Interpreter Boise, ID St. Luke's Health System
    St. Lukes is looking for an Interpreter to join us in our strategy to be the communitys trusted partner in providing exceptional, patient- centered care. With multiple locations in the beautiful southern and central Idaho, our mild, four season...
  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 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...
  4. Interpreter WR Boise, ID St. Luke's Health System
    We are looking for a driven Interpreter to add to our health system. If youre looking for a place where you can grow in your personal life, in your career, and in your community, St. Lukes may be just the place for you. A strong, talented...
  5. Medical Interpreter Rochester, MN Mayo Clinic Campus in Minnesota
    City Rochester State Minnesota Telecommute No Department International Position description Accurately transmits messages between non-English speaking patients and healthcare providers or support personnel at Mayo Clinic using...
  6. INTERPRETER - Portuguese Worcester, MA UMass Memorial Medical Center
    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...
  7. Foreign Lang Med Interpreter-PCS Interpreter Services Portland, MA MaineHealth
    Foreign Language Medical Interpreters facilitate health related communication between Health Care Providers (HCPs) and Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients. Medical Interpreters help to ensure that patients receive understandable and...
  8. Foreign Lang Med Interpreter-PCS Interpreter Services Portland, MA MaineHealth
    Foreign Language Medical Interpreters facilitate health related communication between Health Care Providers (HCPs) and Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients. Medical Interpreters help to ensure that patients receive understandable and...
  9. 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...
  10. 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...
  11. 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...
  12. INTERPRETER - PORTUGUESE 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...
  13. Medical Interpreter - Chinese - Mandarin Rochester, MN Mayo Clinic Campus in Minnesota
    City Rochester State Minnesota Telecommute No Department International Position description Accurately transmits messages between non-English speaking patients and healthcare providers or support personnel at Mayo Clinic using...
  14. Medical Interpreter - Somali Rochester, MN Mayo Clinic Campus in Minnesota
    City Rochester State Minnesota Telecommute No Department International Position description Accurately transmits messages between non-English speaking patients and healthcare providers or support personnel at Mayo Clinic using...
  15. Medical Interpreter - Chinese - Mandarin Rochester, MN Mayo Clinic Campus in Minnesota
    City Rochester State Minnesota Telecommute No Department International Position description Accurately transmits messages between non-English speaking patients and healthcare providers or support personnel at Mayo Clinic using...