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
06.26.2019
Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton is committed to improving the health of our community by providing exceptional, personalized health care with dignity, compassion and respect. Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Milton is seeking a per-diem,...
06.26.2019
Maine Medical Center Department: MaineHealth Maine Medical Center/PCS Interpreter Services Std Hrs/Wk: Per Diem Shift: Flexible (As Needed) Full/Part Time: per diem Apply Internal Apply Create Job Alert Add to Cart Job Details:...
06.26.2019
The Medical Interpreter serves as a cultural and linguistic resource to both patients and providers by facilitating the successful delivery of patient care service to a linguistically diverse population. In this role the interpreter participates...
06.26.2019
This position is "PRN/As Needed" in which employees work between 0-19.99 hours per week on an as needed basis and are not eligible for benefits. Eligible individuals would need to have availability M-F between the hours of 7:00a-5:00p...
06.26.2019
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...
06.26.2019
The Medical ASL Interpreter serves as a cultural and communication resource to both patients and providers by facilitating the successful delivery of patient care service to the deaf and hard of hearing population. In this role the interpreter...
06.14.2019
Description Under the general direction of the Manager of Service Excellence, the Lead Interpreter will be responsible for the coordination and monitoring of schedules and language requests, quality control and data collection. The Lead...
06.26.2019
This position is "PRN/As Needed" in which employees work between 0-19.99 hours per week on an as needed basis and do not qualify for benefits. The Medical Interpreter serves as a cultural and linguistic resource to both patients and...
03.28.2019
Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares...
03.28.2019
Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares...
03.28.2019
Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares...
04.10.2019
Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares...
06.26.2019
Job ID 85155 Full / Part Time: Full-Time Location: Springfield, Massachusetts Regular/Temporary: Regular About Baystate Health Baystate Health, a leading not-for-profit integrated health system, is transforming the delivery of health care...
06.26.2019
Job ID 80237 Full / Part Time: Full-Time Location: Springfield, Massachusetts Regular/Temporary: Regular About Baystate Health Baystate Healthis an integrated health care delivery system serving a population of nearly 1 million people in...
06.26.2019
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...
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