Medical Interpreter Dress Code: What Not to Wear


What Not to Wear – The Medical Interpreter Edition

Medical Interpreter Dress CodeDress codes vary depending on your job, and at times for very good reason. At first, the medical interpreter dress code might seem confusing.

You know you want to dress well – after all the impressions of everyone from the medical staff to the patient can impact whether or not you’re taken seriously or whether or not you get another job.

However, exactly how do interpreters dress?

Should you show up in business professional wear?

Is it more appropriate to be in casual wear as it is likely that is how the patient will be dressed?

Do you need to wear medical attire such as face masks and gloves?

The answer to the question of what to wear, and what not to wear, comes down to the overall role of an interpreter, as well as the situation for which you are interpreting.

How Do Interpreters Dress For Work?

When in doubt, be neutral

Medical Interpreters - what not to wearIn most cases the best option for the medical interpreter dress code, much like when it comes to facilitating the conversation, is to keep things neutral.

That doesn’t mean you necessarily have to show up in a dark suit, but you want to make sure that whatever you’re wearing is not in some way distracting.

Remember the meeting is focused on the doctor and patient, and much like how interpreters should do their best to simply be facilitator for conversation, your attire should not call unnecessary attention to yourself.

Keep in mind too that you will be working with people from different cultures, where clothing norms may be different.

Business casual wear is always a safe option, and more conservative colors such as earth tones never hurt. While bright colors and patterns can be incorporated into business casual attire, you want to make sure you still keep things professional.

Remember too that you want to keep your footwear comfortable – you may be on your feet a lot throughout the day depending on the needs of the patients you are interpreting for.

Be sure to choose a shoe that you’ll be able to stand and walk in for long periods of time if necessary.

That being said, what about medical accessories such as gloves and masks – will you be required to wear those?

Dress for the situation

Medical Interpreter Dress CodeIf you are in an emergency situation, it is likely the doctors and nurses will provide you with any additional protective wear that you need.

You do not need to enter every medical meeting expecting to put on a mask, but be prepared to make some adjustments should the situation call for it.

What about makeup or fragrances?

Now that the medical interpreter dress code is out of the way, what should you do when it comes to makeup and scents?

For makeup you again want to remember to keep it professional. While it is certainly acceptable to wear it (or not if you so choose), it again should be relatively neutral so as not to be distracting.

With scents you’re best off not using them. You’ll be working in a medical environment, and fragrance sensitivity is a real concern for some.

Fragrance sensitivity can either be an irritation or full on allergic reaction, and patients with conditions like asthma can be more at risk for scent related problems.

If a patient is dealing with a medical problem, or indeed does suffer from fragrance sensitivity, your perfume or cologne may further irritate them which will not aide in their recovery.

Learning the Tips and Tricks in a Medical Interpreter Course

Hospital interpreters dress codeInterpreting, just like any other profession, has its do’s and don’ts that go beyond just the medical interpreter dress code.

While experience is truly the best way to learn how to approach every medical situation, medical interpreter training programs give you a base from which to begin.

Language Connections offers a 7 week, 60 hour Medical Interpreter Training Course that covers the following topics:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medical Vocabulary
  • Interpreter Ethics and Skills
  • General Workplace Procedures

At the end of this course, students receive a certificate of completion that allows them to begin looking for employment opportunities with proof of training. Our class sizes are small to encourage student – teacher interactions, and all of our coaches are working medical interpreters.

So quit worrying about the dress code for interpreters, and learn everything you need to know about how to work and behave in patient-doctor situations today with our medical interpreter training course!

If you have any questions regarding our Medical Interpreter Training Program please contact our Customer Service at:

Phone: (617) 277-1990