Why Medical Interpreters Need Continuing Education

Why Medical Interpreters Need Continuing Education


Advanced Medical Interpreter TrainingIt is common to hear about professionals in a variety of fields continuing their studies even after they’ve entered the work force. Continuing education is not only beneficial for the individuals themselves, but for companies as it ensures their employees remain up-to date with innovations in their respective fields, as well as consistently fine-tune their skills.

The same is true, perhaps even more-so, for medical interpreters. The medical field is constantly changing and evolving with new diseases, technologies, and discoveries – in the past month alone it was announced that Boston’s Children’s Hospital was on the cusp of history for growing human blood cells.

As a medical interpreter, you need to be aware of the developments occurring in the medical field, to allow you to interpret with more accuracy, lest these new technologies and discoveries end up in the doctor’s office where you’re providing language services.

Therefore, a medical interpreter’s education doesn’t end once a medical interpreter certificate is obtained. Medical interpreters need additional training in specific healthcare related topics, along with a continuous practice and honing of their interpreting skills.


Continued Education is Necessary for Medical Interpreters to Stay Certified

Medical Interpreter Continuing Education Aside from developing the skillset of professional interpreters, continued education is actually required to be recognized as a certified medical interpreter. Recertification is required every 5 years for medical interpreters, as stated by the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters. In order to get recertified, medical interpreters must pass a certain amount of requirements. These include:

  • Participate in education directly related to medical interpretation
  • Complete 3 Medical Interpreter Continuing Education Units, or the equivalent of 30 hours, of approved training
  • Pay the recertification fee

Failure to comply with these standards may result in individuals losing their medical interpreter certificate, being removed from the national registry, and having to retake their medical certification exams. More information about these standards can be found on the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters’ website.


Where Can Professionals Look for Medical Interpreter Continuing Education Programs

Medical Interpreter Continuing Education As stated before, medical interpreters need to continue their education throughout their careers in order to provide the highest possible quality of interpretation. This can either be done to comply with the standards set by the Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters, or to further knowledge in specific medical fields. Medical interpreters can achieve this in 3 main ways:

  1. Get Involved With Your Local IMIA Chapter

The international medical interpreters association (IMIA) is dedicated to advancing the careers of professional medical interpreters. They routinely coordinate networking events, medical interpreting conferences, webinars, and trainings for medical interpreters.

Aside from that, they also offer a learning series which can be used to satisfy requirements of the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters. The IMIA has regional chapters, and one can be found in Massachusetts. 

  1. Attend Conferences Focused on Current Developments in the Medical Field 

There is no shortage of conferences held annually for developments in the medical and life sciences sectors. While some of them, like the BIO international conference, have hefty entrance fees, others are accessible to every-day professionals to attend.

Some local examples in the Boston area include the Annual Postgraduate Nutrition Symposium held by Harvard Medical School, the MassBio Annual Meeting, the annual MassMEDIC conference, and the variety of events put on by the Massachusetts Medical Society.

  1. Supplement Medical Interpreter Training with an Advanced Medical Interpreter Training Program 

Perhaps the best way to pursue medical interpreter continuing education after obtaining a medical interpreting certificate is through advanced medical interpreter workshops and training programs. These courses will focus on more specific healthcare industries, providing you with more in-depth detail than standard interpreter training courses.

Language Connections offers a 30 hour, 7 week Advanced Medical Interpreter Training Program, with in-depth focus on medical subjects not generally covered in beginner training courses. These include the Endocrine System, Diabetes, Oncology, Radiology, HIV/AIDS, STDs, Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine, and Pharmacology.

Having a deeper understanding of the medical field will allow professional medical interpreters to provide services to a wider range of clients, and in a larger range of situations.


Striving for Continuous Development Can Save Lives

Medical interpreter continuing education initiatives have their benefits in allowing medical interpreters to remain certified, as well as increasing an interpreter’s value to hospitals, doctors, and interpreting agencies. However, the most important thing to remember as a medical interpreter is that you are a conduit of potentially life-saving information between a doctor and a patient. Your work to continue developing your skills, both for interpreting and your knowledge of the medical field, can make a difference for patients dealing with life-threatening illnesses.

Like any professional, medical interpreters play a direct role in the outcomes faced by their clients – and if you put yourself in the shoes of a patient, you would likely have more faith in an up-to-date and knowledgeable professional!


Register for our upcoming Advanced Medical Interpreter Training to strengthen your medical interpreting skills and increase your medical vocabulary.   

See the course schedule here:  Schedule >>>

Contact us for more information:
Phone:(617) 277-1990
Email: support@languageconnections.com