Chinese Medical Interpreter Training: Cantonese or Mandarin?
Which Chinese Should You Speak As A Medical Interpreter?
There are hundreds of Chinese varieties spoken by people today. So many so that a classification system has been created, categorizing the different dialects into one of ten groups: Mandarin, Wu, Gan, Xiang, Min, Hakka, Yue, Jin, Huizhou, or Pinghua. However, the two most commonly spoken Chinese dialects in the United States are Mandarin (or Standard Chinese) and Cantonese.
When it comes to being a Chinese medical interpreter, individuals often ask which language is in higher demand between the two. The answer to this question is entirely dependent on the location where you will be providing medical interpretation, and of course the patients themselves.
It is always better to provide interpretation in the native language of the patient – regardless of the fact that they may know multiple dialects. Therefore if the patient’s mother tongue is Mandarin, he or she should be provided a Mandarin medical interpreter. If it is Cantonese, he or she should be provided a Cantonese medical interpreter.
That being said, it is still good to have an idea of which Chinese dialect is predominantly spoken in your area when considering language selection for Chinese Medical Interpreter Training.
The Chinese Language in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts a 2005-2006 FLNE report found that Cantonese was the most spoken Chinese dialect in public schools, but that new mothers speaking one of the Chinese dialects predominantly spoke Mandarin – indicating that it may be on the rise.
In Boston’s Chinatown there has been a similar finding - though the dominant dialect for years has been Cantonese, Mandarin learning is increasing.
What’s the takeaway from this data?
For one thing, it could be assumed that an aging population will predominantly speak Cantonese, as this has been the dominating dialect for years. As such one should train as a Cantonese medical interpreter in anticipation of more medical needs in this demographic.
However, it could also be assumed that most Chinese speaking individuals will understand Mandarin in the forthcoming years, and as such medical interpreters are better off training in this dialect.
In the end, there isn’t one Chinese dialect you should focus on over the other as they are both in use in Massachusetts today. Likely the best choice for aspiring Chinese medical interpreters is to train in the dialect they are most comfortable speaking, and if possible get training in both!
Chinese Medical Interpreter Training In Boston
For those interested in becoming a Chinese medical interpreter the best option is to take a medical interpreter training course. These courses offer students both language training and an overview of the necessary skills and knowledge needed by medical interpreters.
Interpreter training courses can also benefit students by providing them with training time and experience needed in order to qualify for the Certification Exam given by the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters.
Chinese medical interpreters who pass the certification exam are considered to be “certified” medical interpreters with proven language ability, and are more competitive in the job market.
Language Connections offers a 7 week, 60 hour Chinese Medical Interpreter Training and Certificate Program in Boston. This course covers basic knowledge needed by all Chinese medical interpreters including:
- The interpreters’ code of ethics
- Medical terminology
- Human anatomy
- Basic skills of interpreting
This course satisfies the pre-requisites to sit for the National Exam; however, an Advanced Medical Interpreter Training Course is also offered to provide students looking to obtain their Chinese interpreter certification with further preparation and to expand upon more complicated medical topics.
Our Chinese medical interpreter training courses are offered in both Cantonese and Mandarin – so students are able to choose which dialect best suites their professional goals.
So if you’re looking to enter the medical field and help patients with your language abilities reach out to us today and get started on your Chinese medical interpreter training!
Get the necessary, in person training in order to become a competent professional interpreter. Register now for our upcoming Medical Interpreter Training online.
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